SINGAPORE - Singapore's industrial production in December grew at the strongest pace in five years helped by a jump in the output of electronics and pharmaceuticals, data showed on Thursday.
Manufacturing output in December jumped 21.3 per cent from a year earlier, data from the Singapore Economic Development Board showed, far exceeding the median forecast in a Reuters survey that predicted a 9.5 per cent expansion.
On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production rose 6.4 per cent in December exceeding the median forecast which predicted a contraction of 5.8 per cent.
This comes after Singapore's industrial production in November rose at the fastest annual pace in more than 2-1/2 years as electronics output jumped, a welcome boost to an economy flirting with recession.
"The low base of last year has definitely helped ... but nonetheless just looking at the sequential growth, the strong end to the year reflects the underlying improvement in the global picture," said Song Seng Wun, an economist for CIMB Private Banking.
Manufacturing output in the electronics sector in December jumped 49.4 per cent, supported by the semiconductors segment, which recorded an increase in output of 94.0 per cent, the data showed.
"It's partially due to the base effect, partially due to the higher demand for electronic products," said Francis Tan, an economist for UOB, adding that the strength in industrial production could be sustained at least until the first half of 2017.