Singapore Aug non-oil exports down 8.9% y-o-y

PC Lee

SINGAPORE (Sept 17): Singapore’s August non-oil domestic exports (NODX) decreased by 8.9% y-o-y, following the 11.4% decline in July; given both electronic and non-electronic exports declined.

This snaps a five-month-long slump of double-digit declines, according to monthly data released by Enterprise Singapore on Tuesday morning. This was also the second month in a row that the slide in shipments eased after they sank 17.4% in June, the worst drop in six years.

NODX to the majority of the top markets, except China, declined in August. The decline was mainly due to Hong Kong which fell 32%, compared to the US and Malaysia which fell 15% and 19.7%.

In its monthly data publication, Enterprise Singapore says electronic NODX declined by 25.9% y-o-y in August, following the 24.2% decrease in the previous month. ICs, PCs and disk media products contracted by 32.1%, 28.6% and 11.9% respectively, contributing the most to the decline in electronic NODX.

Non-electronic NODX decreased by 2.2% for the month, easing from the 6.7% decline in the previous month. Pharmaceuticals (-23.6%), petrochemicals (-20.8%) and primary chemicals (-29.3%) contributed the most to the decline in non-electronic NODX.

Oil domestic exports decreased by 27.3%, following the 7.8% decline in the preceding month.

NORX (non-oil re-exports) decreased by 5.4% y-o-y, following the 1.1% decline in July; both electronic and non-electronic re-exports decreased.

Total trade decreased 8.6% y-o-y, following the 6.2% decline in the preceding month. Total imports decreased 6.4%, after the 6.5% decline in the previous month. Total exports decreased by 10.4% in August, following the 6.0% decline in July.

In a flash note following the announcement, Sin Beng Ong, head of Asean Economic Research at JPMorgan Securities, said it is possible that front-loading of exports ahead of the Sept 1 tariff deadline could have flattered Singapore’s exports to China.

If this is so, Sin said we could see trade flows contract in sequential terms in late 3Q19 and into 4Q19.

"The tension between the near-term stabilisation in trade and the negative macro context of weak sentiment and capex remains. However, given this tension, our bias would be to stick with the current growth profile of a lacklustre 2H19, and even if activity levels remain stable through 2H19, this would still deliver a 0.5% y-o-y 2019 growth outcome for Singapore," says Sin.