(Updates with economist’s comment in fourth paragraph.)
Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore’s exports fell the most in more than two years in October as a slowing global economy curbed demand for electronics products.
Non-oil domestic exports fell 16.2 percent from a year earlier, after a revised 4.6 percent decline in September, the island’s trade promotion agency said in a statement today. The median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 7.8 percent drop.
Singapore’s expansion will stall over the next few quarters as the global economy worsens, before a “modest recovery” in the second half of 2012, the central bank said last month. The European debt crisis and elevated U.S. unemployment are damping demand for goods made in Asia, with South Korean exports rising at the slowest pace in two years in October.
“The fact that the drop in electronics occurs ahead of the festive season has further highlighted the weakness in global demand,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd. in Singapore. “The risk of gross domestic product shrinking in the fourth quarter cannot be discounted.”
Electronics shipments by companies such as contract manufacturer Venture Corp. dropped 31.2 percent in October from a year earlier, after declining 13.6 percent the previous month.
The Singapore dollar weakened 0.4 percent to S$1.2991 against its U.S. counterpart as of 9:34 a.m. local time. The benchmark Straits Times stock index declined 0.8 percent.
Non-electronics shipments, which include petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, decreased 6.7 percent. Petrochemicals exports climbed 3 percent, while pharmaceutical shipments rose 7.8 percent after gaining 12.5 percent in September.
The performance of Singapore’s pharmaceutical industry is volatile. Production swings by companies such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc can cause industrial output to fluctuate from month to month. Drug companies sometimes shut plants for cleaning before making different products.
Singapore’s non-oil exports fell a seasonally adjusted 5.9 percent last month from September, when they fell 9.3 percent, today’s report showed.
--Editors: Sunil Jagtiani, Ovais Subhani
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