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Singapore Exports Fall Most In More Than 3 Years

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Singapore's non-oil domestic exports declined the most in more than three years in May as shipments to almost all major markets, especially to China, plunged from a year ago amid escalating trade disputes.

NODX fell 15.9 percent in May from the high base a year ago, data from Enterprise Singapore showed on Monday. This was the third consecutive fall in exports and the biggest since March 2016.

However, the annual decline was slower than the expected fall of 16.5 percent, but sharper than April's 10.0 percent decrease.

Exports of electronic goods logged a double-digit contraction of 31.4 percent in May, following the 16.3 percent fall in the previous month.

At the same time, non-electronic NODX decreased by 10.8 percent after the 8.0 percent decline.

Exports to majority of the top markets decreased in May, except to the US. Shipments to China fell sharply by 23.3 percent after a 5.9 percent fall in April. Exports to Taiwan slid 34.7 percent and those to Hong Kong decreased 24.8 percent.

Meanwhile, exports to the U.S. rose slightly by 0.2 percent, following a 2.2 percent increase.

The trade war is damaging Asia, but it is the global technology slump, of which China's technology war with the US is only a recent part, which is doing the most damage to exports in the region, ING economist Robert Carnell said.

Combined with soft domestic activity, today's data add further credibility to arguments for the Monetary Authority of Singapore to move to a more expansionary policy stance at their October meeting, the economist added.

On a month-on-month basis, NODX rose 6.2 percent in May, reversing a 0.7 percent fall in the prior month.

As both exports and imports declined in May, total trade was down 2.1 percent annually. Total imports slid 0.5 percent and exports dropped 3.4 percent.

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