Singapore factory output surprises with 3.4% rise in January, thanks to pharma

SINGAPORE – Singapore manufacturing output rose 3.4 cent year on year in January, compared to the 3.7 per cent drop in the previous month, according to figures released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Wednesday (Feb 26).

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 3.8 per cent last month.

The latest figures, with or without the biomedical segment’s contribution, were better than the 5.8 per cent year on year contraction analysts had predicted in a Bloomberg poll.

On a seasonally adjusted month on month basis, overall manufacturing output increased 18.2 per cent, while excluding biomedical production the expansion was 11.8 per cent.

The biomedical sector’s 41.1 per cent year on year growth in January was lifted by pharmaceuticals output that surged 59.4 per cent.

The jump in growth was on the back of a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients being produced and higher production of biological products.

Output of the medical technology segment fell 5.3%.

Electronics output decreased 7.2 per cent from a year ago in January. The sector that accounts for over a quarter of Singapore’s factory production had managed a 1.1 gain in December, recovering from a 19.1 per cent slide in November.

January’s decline in electronics was spread over most segments within the sector, expect for infocomms & consumer electronics that grew 17.7 per cent.

Precision engineering output expanded 18.1 per cent in January compared to the same period in 2019.

The machinery & systems segment rose 25.3 per cent, due to higher production of semiconductor and process control equipment. The precision modules & components segment grew 1.5 per cent amid an increase in output of optical products.

Chemicals production fell 5.5 per cent year on year last month. Most of the chemical segments saw a drop in output, except specialties which grew 7.2 per cent on higher output of industrial gases and additives.

Transport engineering output shrank 9.3 per cent with all segments recording declines. The marine & offshore engineering segment shrank 10.5 per cent, amid less activity in offshore projects. The aerospace segment also fell, contracting by 6 per cent with seasonally lower levels of repair and maintenance activities from commercial airlines. The land transport segment reported lower output in vehicle parts and accessories.

General manufacturing contracted 10.6 per cent, in part, due to the Lunar New Year holidays. The miscellaneous industries segment contracted 8.8 per cent with lower output of batteries and wooden furniture & fixtures. The food, beverages & tobacco segment declined 11.8 per cent on account of lower production of milk powder products, while the printing segment fell 11.2 per cent.

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