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March NODX performance has analysts upbeat

Overall exports surged by 21%, leading experts to upgrade their Singapore economic forecasts.

Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) almost tripled their growth in March, surging12.1% YoY, driving experts to upgrade their economic outlook for the full year.

This is the fourth straight month of NODX expansion, surpassing the market expectation of 2.6%. Overall exports likewise surged by 21%, the fastest growth since February 2017.

This led to a NODX expansion of 9.7% for the full first quarter of 2021.

Broken down by sectors, electronic products more than tripled their growth to 24.4% year-on-year in March, compared to the 7.3% recorded in February, which was driven in part from last year's low base. Non-electronic products grew by 9.4% in March compared to the previous year, also almost triple the 3.2% reported in February.

UOB Global Economics and Markets REsearch cited vaccine-driven global economic recovery as one of the drivers for NODX growth, supported by global export demand, benefitting export-oriented economies such as Singapore.

Moving forward, UOB also expects higher petrochemical exports due to rising oul prices, and a continued uptick on global semi-conductor demand.

UOB upgraded its full-year NODX forecast to 5.0% from its previous 1.0%.

OCBC Treasury research upgraded its forecast from 2% for the full year to a 2-4% range, under the assumption that the global vaccine-adied recovery will continue to the second half of the year.

HSBC had the highest growth forecast at 6.5%, reiterating their conviction that Singapore will benefit from the ongoing demand for tech and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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