SINGAPORE - Singapore reported better-than-expected export data for June on Tuesday, providing a glimmer of hope that a prolonged slide in Asia's key electronics sector has bottomed, but economists cautioned that global demand still appeared weak.
The Southeast Asian city-state, whose open economy is seen as a barometer for the region's propects, said non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rose 6.8 per cent in June from a year earlier, beating the forecasts of all 14 economists polled by Reuters.
Singapore's domestic exports of electronics edged 1.6 per cent higher in June from a year ago, while non-oil retained imports of intermediate goods, a leading indicator of manufacturing activity, rose for a second month after seasonal adjustment.
On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, NODX grew 6.7 per cent after contracting 2.0 per cent in May.
"The story we like is that at least electronics NODX looks like it's stabilised - it's not on a declining path anymore," said Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Singapore's second largest lender.
"But if you look at the IMF downgrade of 2013 growth, it seems like we don't expect a very strong pick-up in external demand in the near term, especially on the euro zone front," she added.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday cut its forecast for global economic growth and warned that the outlook could dim further if policymakers in the euro zone do not act with enough force and speed to quell their region's debt crisis.
Closer to home, Singapore electronics firm Hi-P International said late on Monday it will shut its Mexican subsidiary and report a loss for the second quarter ended June, contrary to earlier guidance.
Data released overnight also showed US retail sales fell in June for the third straight month, the longest run of consecutive drops since 2008 when the country was mired in recession. Consumer spending drives about two-thirds of the US economy.