Singapore’s exports unexpectedly dropped in March as shipments of electronics eased and petrochemical sales fell amid a decline in demand from China.
Non-oil domestic exports fell 4.3 percent from a year earlier, after a revised 30.4 percent increase in February, the trade promotion agency said in a statement today. The median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 7.1 percent gain.
Asian policy makers are juggling the need to damp inflationary pressures while bolstering growth as Europe’s debt crisis and a slowdown in China’s growth weigh on the global economic outlook. After a growth rebound last quarter, Singapore’s central bank said last week it will allow faster gains in its currency, which may make exports less competitive, even as Indonesia and South Korea kept interest rates unchanged.
“Being an externally driven economy, we expect Singapore’s activity indicators to begin reflecting the trend in global lead indicators, which have shown flattening momentum lately,” Vincent Conti, a Singapore-based analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said before the release. “However, we see this as a momentary consolidation of overall growth rather than a slowdown, with a strong pickup likely to happen particularly in the second half of the year.”
Singapore’s electronics shipments by companies such as contract manufacturer Venture Corp. rose 2.8 percent in March from a year earlier, after climbing 23.3 percent the previous month.
Non-electronics shipments, which include petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, fell 7.8 percent. Petrochemicals exports decreased 13 percent, while pharmaceutical shipments grew 43 percent after climbing 44.5 percent in February.
Singapore’s non-oil exports slid a seasonally adjusted 16.8 percent last month from February, when they climbed a revised 7.2 percent, today’s report showed. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had predicted a 4.3 percent decline.
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