Singapore March factory output eases to 3.4% amid steep fall in biomedical manufacturing

SINGAPORE’S factory output eased to 3.4 per cent year on year in March, as the steep fall in biomedical manufacturing could not offset the aerospace segment’s production surge, according to data from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) on Tuesday (Apr 26).

Excluding the typically volatile biomedical manufacturing sector, industrial output for the same period grew 9.7 per cent year on year.

In February, overall manufacturing jumped a revised 17.5 per cent year on year, helped by a surge in biomedical manufacturing.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis however, manufacturing output fell 12.6 per cent, while the figure is 6.1 per cent excluding biomedical manufacturing.

The star performer in March is the transport engineering sector, which saw a 20.7 per cent year-on-year increase in output, compared with 5 per cent the previous month. The aerospace segment surged 39.3 per cent with higher production of aircraft parts and more maintenance, repair and overhaul jobs from commercial airlines, EDB said.

Electronics output grew 14.5 per cent year on year, easing from February’s 32 per cent jump. EDB said the semiconductor segment grew 17.3 per cent supported by sustained demand from 5G markets and data centres amid the global chip shortage.

The other sectors that saw growth were:

  • General manufacturing (10.2 per cent)
  • Chemicals (0.8 per cent)

The biomedical sector was the biggest loser in March as output tumbled 26.3 per cent year on year, undoing the previous month’s 26.1 per cent surge. The pharmaceuticals segment declined 39 per cent due to a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients being produced, according to EDB, while the medical technology segment contracted 7.1 per cent.

The precision engineering sector was the only other sector that contracted, with output dipping 1.4 per cent year on year, compared with a 1.1 per cent growth in February.