May records largest surge in manufacturing performance in 10 years

Singapore’s manufacturing output leaped 30% YoY for the month.

Singapore’s manufacturing output jumped 30% YoY in May, the fastest pace in 10 years, bolstered by low base from a year ago amidst circuit breaker measures.

According to data released by the Economic Development Board, excluding biomedical manufacturing, output increased 29%. On a three-month moving average basis, manufacturing output increased 12.4% in May 2021, compared to a year ago. On a seasonally adjusted MoM basis, manufacturing output increased 7.2%. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 9.8%.

This is the seventh consecutive month of growth recorded for the sector.

All clusters saw growth, led mostly by the precision engineering cluster which saw a growth of 58.6% YoY. The machinery & systems segment outperformed, growing 73.4%, on account of higher production of semiconductor equipment to cater to the strong capital investment in the global semiconductor industry. The precision modules & components segment rose 30.4% with increased production of optical products, metal precision components and plastic precision products. On a year-to-date basis, the precision engineering cluster grew 22.7% compared to the same period a year ago.

May 2021 Manufacturing Performance

credit: EDB Singapore

Meanwhile, transport engineering output expanded 44% YoY in May. The marine & offshore engineering segment grew 71% due to the domestic circuit breaker measures and movement restrictions at foreign worker dormitories which adversely affected production last year. The aerospace segment rose 21.3% from a low base last year due to the grounding of aircrafts amid the COVID-19 travel restrictions. Cumulatively, the transport engineering cluster fell 5.8% in the period January – May 2021 compared to the same period last year.

The biomedical manufacturing cluster increased 35.6% YoY for the month. The medical technology segment grew 47.6% on the back of higher export demand for medical devices. Output in the pharmaceutical segment expanded 38% with higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products. In the first five months of this year, the biomedical manufacturing cluster fell 1.5% compared to the same period in 2020.

General manufacturing saw an increase of 27.8% compared to a year ago. The miscellaneous industries and printing segments rose 96.1% and 8.7% respectively, with the former expanding from a low base in May 2020 when many of the construction related industries had to either stop or reduce production due to the circuit breaker  measures. Conversely, the food, beverage & tobacco segment fell 1.0% on account of lower production of milk products due to weaker export demand. On a year-to-date basis, output of the general manufacturing industries cluster grew 6.2%, compared to the same period a year ago.

In the electronics cluster, output expanded 23.2% in May 2021 on a year-on-year basis. All segments recorded a higher level of production. In particular, the semiconductors segment grew 25.5%, supported by demand from 5G markets and a low production base a year ago. Overall, the electronics cluster grew 22.9% in the first five months of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

The chemical cluster’s output increased 16.2% YoY with all segments recorded output growth. The specialties segment expanded 24.8% with higher production of industrial gases and mineral oil additives, while the petrochemicals segment grew 19.7% from a low base last year due to plant maintenance shutdowns. Overall, the chemicals cluster grew 10.3% YoY in the period January – May 2021.

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