MANUFACTURING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

NODX slipped 10.1% in January

This is the worst NODX performance since October 2016.

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) extended December’s downward trend after exports dipped 10.1% in January amidst declines in both electronic and non-electronic exports, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) revealed.

On a MoM seasonally adjusted (SA) basis, NODX dropped 5.7% to $13.4b from $14.2b in December.

Electronic NODX fell 15.9% YoY, to extend the 11.2% decline in December with PCs, disk media products and ICS contracting 34.3%, 29.2% and 6.8% respectively.

Non-electronic NODX also fell 7.9% YoY with specialised machinery (-32.8%), petrochemicals (-11.8%) and non-electronic engines & motors (-40.9%) contributed the most to the monthly fall.

"This is the worst NODX performance since October 2016," OCBC Treasury Research commented. "Whilst this was partly due to the high base last year, nevertheless, the magnitude of the decline reinforces the fact that 2019 is starting on a soft footing for trade."

NODX to the top 10 markets fell in January as exports to China, South Korea and Hong Kong crashed. However, NODX to emerging markets reversed the 15.9% decline in December with a 2.3% increase amidst gains in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), the Caribbean and Latin America.

Meanwhile, non-oil retained imports of intermediate goods (NORI) dipped by $600m from $6.5b in December to $5.9b in January.

Total trade advanced 4.3% YoY in January, extending December’s 1.6% growth. Total imports grew 8%, whilst total exports inched up 1%.

Oil domestic exports dropped 3.2% YoY, after the 11.1% contraction in December, according to ESG.

“Lower sales to China (-30.8%), Indonesia (-14.4%) and Australia (-25.4%) contributed the most to the YoY decrease of oil domestic exports,” the agency noted. “In volume terms, oil domestic exports increased 3.5% in January 2019, after the 7.6% decline in the previous month.”

In January, non-oil re-exports rose 12.3% YoY, extending the 7.2% growth in December due to the increase in both electronic and non-electronic re-exports. Electronic NORX grew 7.4% YoY due to the increase in ICs (7.3%), parts of PCs (18%) and PCs (31.6%). Non-electronic NORX also jumped 17.2% YoY thanks to the rise in non-electronic engines & motors (126.1%), non-monetary gold (162.6%) and aircraft parts (35.1%) re-exports.

"IE Singapore has forecast 0-2% NODX growth in 2019, which will be a slowdown from the 4.2% growth seen in 2018 and 8.8% in 2017," OCBC said. "Our 2019 NODX forecast is -0.2% yoy, which is slightly lower than the official forecast. We’ll have to see the February performance for a better picture of the Q1 2019 NODX performance, given that January-February is typically volatile due to the timing of the Chinese New Year festive season too."

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