SINGAPORE (Jan 17): Singapore’s trade is looking up after non-oil domestic exports (NODX), expanded in December 2019 for the first time in nine months.

Official figures released by trade agency Enterprise Singapore on Friday pointed to a 2.4% y-o-y growth in December – reversing from the 5.9% contraction in the previous month and beating the 1% decline forecast by private-sector economists in a Bloomberg poll.

On a month-on-month basis, NODX grew 1.1%, extending the 5.8% growth logged in the previous month. This comes on the back of an 11.5% increase in non-electronic shipments – a substantial increase from the 1.2% expansion of the sector in November. Overall, December’s NODX amounted to $14.3 billion, up from November’s $14.1 billion.

Specifically, the growth comes from stronger exports of non-monetary gold (+127.8%), pharmaceuticals (+34.7%) and specialised machinery (+29.7%), the trade agency pointed out. 

Conversely, electronic shipments shrank 21.3% from fewer exports of integrated circuits, personal computers and computer parts. While this is a slight easing from the 23.3% decline posted by the segment in November, it comes short of the 13.9% decline anticipated by private-sector economists.

Enterprise Singapore noted that Singapore’s NODX to nearly all of its top 10 markets increased in December with significant growth in shipments to Taiwan (+16.2%), China (+9.8%) and the United States (+8.5%).

The higher shipments to China and the US come from the superpowers’ trade truce as well as a heightened appetite for semiconductor imports, from China.

However, Singapore’s exports to other key destinations such as Indonesia (-6.2%) and Hong Kong (-26.6%), and emerging markets such as the Carribbean, South Asia and Middle East shrank.

Simultaneously, Non-oil re-exports (NORX) increased 9.9% on a y-o-y basis, continuing November’s 2.4% increase.

On a month-on-month basis, NORX was up 1.3%, following the 5% growth in the previous month. Growth in both electronic and non-electronic NORX saw total NORX reaching $24.3 billion in December – higher than the $24.0 billion logged in the month prior.

The trade agency also noted that NORX to most of the top 10 markets grew in November, apart from Indonesia, the EU and Japan.

Overall, total trade was up 0.7% in December, a significant turnaround from the 5.9% decline in the month prior. Total imports were down 2.3% following the previous month’s 5.8% decline, while total exports were up 3.6% in spite of November’s 6% decline.