March manufacturing output still disappointing
It declined 3.4% yoy as four of the six sectors contracted, with electronics and chemicals taking the worst beatings.
Based on new government data, the electronics cluster slid 15.9% yoy in March 2012, the largest output decline among the manufacturing sectors, with chemicals falling 4.7% over the same period. Biomedical manufacturing and precision engineering also fell by 3.3% and 0.3%, respectively.
The two bright spots are transport engineering, which grew at an impressive 20.8% due to strengthening aerospace and marine & offshore activities, and general manufacturing, which rose 4.1% on the back of stronger demand for metal products, furnitures and food.
Here's more from EDB Singapore:
Total Manufacturing Performance. Singapore's manufacturing output grew 2.7% in March 2012 compared to February 2012 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output increased 2.9%. On a year-on-year basis, manufacturing output declined 3.4% in March 2012. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output contracted at a similar rate of 3.4%. Manufacturing output for the first three months of 2012 fell 1.0% compared to the same period a year ago.
Performance by cluster. The transport engineering cluster's output expanded 20.8% year-on-year in March 2012. The aerospace segment grew 23.2% on the back of strong demand for maintenance and repair jobs from commercial airlines. The marine & offshore engineering segment's output grew 22.1% with increased activities in rig building, ship conversion as well as higher production of oil field equipment. Output of the transport engineering cluster in the first three months of 2012 increased 19.7%, compared to the same period in 2011.
Output of the general manufacturing cluster grew 4.1% year-on-year in March 2012. The miscellaneous industries segment's output increased 10.2% with higher demand for structural metal products and wooden furniture. The food, beverages & tobacco segment also recorded higher output of 3.0%, while the printing segment declined 6.2%. On a year-to-date basis, the general manufacturing cluster’s output grew 3.1%.
The precision engineering cluster contracted marginally by 0.3% in March 2012 year-on-year. Output of the machinery & systems segment grew 4.6%, supported by higher demand for semiconductor related equipment and refrigeration systems. This was offset by the 5.8% decline in the precision modules & components segment which saw lower output of electronic connectors, metal stamping work, and dies, moulds, jigs & tools. On a year-to-date basis, output of the precision engineering cluster rose 0.4% compared to the same period a year ago.
Output of the biomedical manufacturing cluster fell 3.3% in March 2012 on a year-on-year basis. The medical technology segment expanded 14.2%, while the pharmaceuticals segment contracted 6.3%, mainly due to a different production mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients. On a year-to-date basis, output of the biomedical manufacturing cluster was 18.4% higher compared to the same period a year ago.
The chemicals cluster fell 4.7% year-on-year in March 2012. All segments declined except the petroleum refining segment, which rose 0.8%. Output of the petrochemical segment was affected by maintenance shutdowns while production in the specialties and other chemicals segments were impacted by poor demand from the region. On a year-to-date basis, chemicals output declined 6.8%.
Output of the electronics cluster was 15.9% lower in March 2012 compared to a year ago. Most electronics segments continued to record lower output with the exception of the data storage segment. The latter registered higher production as the segment recovers from the supply chain disruptions caused by the Thailand floods. Cumulative output of the cluster in the first three months of 2012 fell 17.6% compared to the same period last year.
The next monthly manufacturing performance media release will be issued on 25 May 2012.