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Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Manufacturing in Singapore dropped 7.5% last month

AFP , SINGAPORE

Singapore’s manufacturing output fell 7.5 percent last month, data released yesterday showed, as exports from the recession-hit economy suffer during a global slowdown.

The 7.5 percent decline, compared with the same month last year, was less than an average 15.0 percent drop forecast in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of economists.

Gains in pharmaceutical production could not outweigh falls in most other categories, the preliminary data from Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) showed. But increased biomedical manufacturing, which includes pharmaceuticals, pushed output up by 6.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis last month from October, EDB said.

The manufacturing sector accounts for nearly a quarter of Singapore’s economic output. Virtually all of the production heads for foreign markets, an indicator of Singapore’s dependence on the health of the global economy, analysts say. With key markets the EU and the US in recession, Singapore’s exports have been hurt and the city-state in October became the first Asian economy to enter recession.

Pharmaceutical output grew 17.5 percent last month, the EDB said. Medical technology, the other component of biomedical manufacturing, dropped by 15.4 percent but overall biomedical output rose 14.9 percent, EDB said.

Information communications and consumer electronics output fell by 58.2 percent while semiconductors dropped 17.6 percent, helping to drag total output in the electronics sector down by 19.4 percent last month, it said.

The chemical sector fell by 20.1 percent last month, while general manufacturing declined by 1.7 percent, EDB said.

The government has cut its growth target for this year to 2.5 percent and says the economy could contract by 1 percent or grow as much as 2 percent next year.

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