Singapore factory output growth slows sharply to 0.6% in July; chip production shrinks again

SINGAPORE – Manufacturing output in Singapore rose by a meagre 0.6 per cent in July, weighed down by a drop in electronics and biomedical production, according to data released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Friday (Aug 26).

July’s scant growth was also well below the 5.3 per cent increase forecast by economists in a Bloomberg poll. It comes after factory output grew a revised 2.6 per cent in June – also below analyst predictions.

Excluding the volatile biomedical manufacturing sector, output grew 2.9 per cent in July.

The key electronics sector saw production decrease by 6.3 per cent in July. Notably, output for semiconductors shrank 4.1 per cent, after contracting 2.6 per cent in June.

The infocomms and consumer electronics segment saw a decline of 11.7 per cent, while the computer peripherals and data storage segment fell 14.9 per cent. The lower production for both segments was due to softening demand, EDB said.

The other electronic modules and components segment contracted 19.7 per cent with lower export orders from China and South Korea, the trade agency said.

For the volatile biomedical manufacturing cluster, output contracted 10.8 per cent year on year, dragged down by the pharmaceuticals segment, which saw a 25.7 per cent drop.

Transport engineering saw the biggest growth of all the clusters, with output surging 18.6 per cent. The marine and offshore engineering segment expanded 36.2 per cent due to a higher level of work done in ship repair and offshore projects.

The aerospace segment grew 15.8 per cent due to higher demand for aircraft parts from the United States, and more maintenance, repair and overhaul jobs from commercial airlines with the easing of global air travel restrictions.

Precision engineering output rose by 13.9 per cent, buoyed by the machinery and systems segment, which expanded by 21.9 per cent due to higher output of semiconductor-related equipment.

Chemicals output grew 5.7 with the specialties segment expanding 21.8 per cent due to higher production of food and mineral oil additives. The petroleum refining throughput grew 11.9 per cent on strong demand for jet fuel driven by the relaxation of global air travel restrictions.

Conversely, output of the other chemicals declined 4.7 per cent, while petrochemicals production fell 6.3 per cent due to plant maintenance shutdowns.

General manufacturing grew by 14.6 per cent in July, with all segments recording an increase in output.