SINGAPORE (Aug 17): Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew by 11.8% y-o-y in July this year after the 0.8% increase in June, as non-electronic NODX grew to outweigh the decline in electronics.

This is according to Enterprise Singapore’s latest external trade figures for July 2018, which reflected that growth of NODX to the majority of Singapore’s top 10 markets was driven mainly by the US (+33.7%), Japan (53.9%) and Indonesia (+42.8%).

Based on the data, total trade grew by 17.6% y-o-y, extending the 10.2% growth in the preceding month as total exports rose by 13.7% in July from 8% the month before. Total imports grew 22.1% after the 12.7% rise in June.

Meanwhile, electronic NODX declined 3.8% on a y-o-y basis after the 8.6% decrease in the previous month. ICs, diodes & transistors and parts of PCs contributed the most to the decrease in electronic domestic exports.

Non-electronic products however continued to grow, expanding by 18.8% y-o-y following the 4.5% in June, boosted mainly by pharmaceuticals, food preparations and primary chemicals.

Oil domestic exports expanded by 38.2% in July following a 34.7% y-o-y rise in the preceding month – with higher sales to Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong contributing the most to the increase of oil domestic exports. In volume terms, however, oil domestic exports fell by 1.7% after the 5.4% decline in June.

In all, non-oil re-exports (NORX) rose by 8.5% following the 5.2% y-o-y increase in June, due to the growth in non-electronic NORX which outweighed the decline in electronics.

Singapore’s latest NODX data for July has exceeded both market consensus forecasts and that of OCBC, whose growth forecast for 2018 NODX is 4-5% y-o-y, above Enterprise Singapore’s recently upgraded forecast of 2.5-3.5% y-o-y.

In a Friday report, Selina Ling, head of treasury research & strategy, OCBC Bank, says she deems the July NODX print as a healthy start for NODX to 2H18, bringing the NODX growth for 7M18 to 6.2% on-year.

“However, the higher 9.7% y-o-y NODX growth seen for Aug-Dec 2017, and the escalating US-Sino trade war, may still pose some headwinds for NODX growth in the coming months,” she cautions.

On July electronics exports data, Ling also highlights that pharmaceuticals’ output and exports can be “rather volatile” depending on the turnaround for each production cycle – thus making it unclear of how long the current uptick will sustain beyond the immediate few months ahead.

“Notably, NODX to China was flat on-year in July after shrinking by 15.8% y-o-y in June – even though non-electronics NODX rose 9.1% y-o-y in July, this was insufficient to offset the 20.3% y-o-y drop in electronics NODX, and the latter could be reflective of some spillover effects from the US-Sino trade spat,” she adds.