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Singapore's NODX falls 15.9% in May

Samantha Chiew

SINGAPORE (June 17): Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell 15.9% in May, following a 10% decline in April. Both electronic and non-electronic NODX declined.

The export figures for the previous month were released by Enterprise Singapore on Monday morning.

Electronic NODX dropped by 31.4% y-o-y in May, as ICs, disk media products and parts of ICs contracted by 39.8%, 42.4% and 54.2% respectively, contributing the most to the decline in electronic NODX.

Non-electronic NODX declined by 10.8% y-o-y, with civil engineering equipment parts, non-monetary gold and petrochemicals contributing the most to the decline.

However, on a m-o-m seasonally adjusted basis, overall NODX rose by 6.2% in May, after the previous month’s 0.7% decrease. Non-electronic NODX grew while electronics declined.

NODX to the majority top markets dropped for the month of May, except US. The largest contiributors to the decline were China (-23.3%), Taiwan (-34.7%) and Hong Kong (-24.8%). 

Meanwhile, non-oil retained imports of intermediate goods (NORI) dropped by $1.3 billion to $5.3 billion in May, compared to $6.6 billion in the previous month.

In a Monday report issued Oxford Economics after the announcement, lead Asia economist Sian Fenner says, "Growth in non-oil imports also moderated consistent with our view that manufacturing activity will remain weak over the coming quarters. Indeed, the latest official PMI saw the manufacturing index dip slightly below 50 in May (the line separating expansion versus contraction) for the first time since 2016."

In May, total trade declined by 2.2% y-o-y, following a 3.25 growth in April. Total imports declined by 0.5% in May, after the 7.6% rise in the previous month. Total exports decreased by 3.4% in May, following the 0.5% decline in the last month.

But on a seasonally adjusted basis, total trade increased by 3.6% in May m-o-m, while the level of total trade reached $88.1 billion in May, higher than the previous month’s $85 billion.

On a y-o-y basis, oil domestic exports grew by 2.0% in May, as higher sales to Malaysia and Hong Kong contributed to the increase. In volume terms, oil domestic exports rose by 6.9%.

Additionally, non-oil re-exports (NORX) rose by 5.1% y-o-y in May, due to the growth in both electronic and non-electronic re-exports.

On a y-o-y basis, electronic NORX grew by 5.4%, due to ICs (+7.5%), telecommunications equipment (+23.8%) and parts of PCs (+12.4%), while non-electronics NORX rose by 4.7% due to non-electric engines & motors (+69.8%), piston engines (+247.9%) and pharmaceuticals (+58.4%).

"With the outlook for exports having deteriorated, following more tariff hikes by the US and China, we expect GDP to grow 1.9% in 2019 and a modest 2.2% in 2020. We also look for the MAS to reduce the pace of appreciation in the SG$NEER via lowering the slope of the trading band at the next biannual policy meeting in October," adds Fenner.