Singapore exports fall for fifth month in a row

Singapore exports fall for fifth month in a row

SINGAPORE - Exports fell for the fifth straight month in June, capping one of the worst periods for Singapore's shipments since the 2009 recession.

Non-oil domestic exports tumbled 8.8 per cent last month compared with the same period last year, said trade agency IE Singapore.

The surprisingly weak performance prompted some economists to warn that the latest economic estimates for the April to June period could get downgraded.

Flash estimates last week showed that the economy grew 3.7 per cent in the quarter over the same three months last year.

But Barclays Capital economist Joey Chew said: "Indeed, we think the advance estimate of second-quarter GDP, which is based on data for April-May, will be revised lower next month once June indicators are incorporated."

Nearly all the major products saw declines, with electronics shipments diving 12.4 per cent and non-electronic items, such as pharmaceuticals, slumping 7.1 per cent.

The picture was no better when it came to export markets, with exports down sharply in all major markets except China.

Shipments to Europe fell 33.6 per cent, but rose by 7 per cent to China. But that bright spot may not stay for long, especially as the country's economy is cooling, said Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin.

"Slowing growth in China may translate into weaker exports later in the year. Sluggish external demand will continue to weigh on Singapore's growth prospects," he said.

aaronl@sph.com.sg


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