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Singapore Consumer Prices Fall; Manufacturing Output Rises Unexpectedly

Singapore's consumer prices declined in April, while manufacturing output grew unexpectedly, driven by a surge in biomedical cluster, data showed on Tuesday.

The consumer price index fell 0.7 percent year-on-year in April, after remaining unchanged in March, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Trade and Industry revealed. Economists had expected a 0.4 percent fall.

This fall in the CPI was largely due to steeper declines in the costs of services and retail & other goods.

MAS core CPI, which excludes the costs of accommodation and private road transport, fell 0.3 percent in April, following a 0.2 percent decline in the preceding month.

The latest decline in core inflation was mainly driven by the decrease in the cost of private transport, services, and retail and other goods.

The statistical office expects external sources of inflation to remain benign in the coming quarters, amid weak global demand condition. Oil prices would remain low and will weigh on the prices of energy-related components.

Supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 could increase the prices on imported food prices.

Both MAS Core Inflation and CPI-All Items inflation are forecast to average between -1 percent and 0 percent in 2020, the statistical office and MAS said.

Manufacturing output increased 13.0 percent annually in April, slower than 16.5 percent growth in March, the Economic Development Board revealed. Economists had expected a 0.6 percent fall.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, industrial output fell 3.5 percent yearly in April, after remaining unchanged in the prior month.

Among clusters, biomedical manufacturing grew a robust 100.5 percent annually in April. Precision engineering output expanded 5.9 percent and electronics production rose 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, transport engineering declined 24.1 percent. General manufacturing and chemicals decreased 20.2 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

On a monthly basis, industrial production rose 3.6 percent in April, following a 21.7 percent increase in the prior month.

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