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Singapore Non-Oil Exports Unexpectedly Decline In March


Singapore's exports dropped unexpectedly in March, mainly as a result of reduced shipments of non-electronic products, particularly petrochemicals and structures of ships and boats. Furthermore, demand from China decreased during the month.

Trade promotion agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore said Tuesday that the island nation's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) decreased 4.3 percent year-on-year in March, after a 30 percent increase in February. Economists expected a 7.1 percent gain.

The agency said the decline in shipments of non-electronic exports outweighed the expansion in electronic sales. Annually, electronic NODX grew 2.8 percent, though much slower than previous month's 23 percent expansion.

Overseas sales of non-electronic products contracted 7.8 percent from March last year, after a 34 percent increase in February. This was led by a fall in exports of structures of ships and boats, petrochemicals and primary chemicals.

Exports of structures of ships and boats plunged 99 percent, while petrochemicals and primary chemicals saw sales falling by 13 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

During the month, Singapore's non-oil exports to China fell 0.9 percent year-on-year. At the same time, NODX to South Korea rose 34 percent, and that to Hong Kong grew 15 percent.

Exports to European Union rose 4.5 percent from last year and to Malaysia increased 5.2 percent. Shipments to Japan and the US increased 6.2 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS, expects the economy to grow at a modest pace of 1-3 percent in 2012. The economy expanded a seasonally adjusted 9.9 percent on an annualized basis compared to the previous quarter, rebounding after a 2.5 percent contraction in the preceding quarter.

The central bank last week unexpectedly tightened monetary policy by allowing faster gains in the currency amid persistent inflationary pressures.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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