MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's manufacturing output falls 16.3% in April

A drop in pharmaceutical production has caused the country's manufacturing output to fall 16.3% in April 2011 on a month -to-month basis.

On a year-on-year basis, Singapore's manufacturing output declined 9.5% excluding medical manufacturing, output fell 0.5%.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output declined 6.2 %. The pharmaceuticals segment declined 23.6 % as a result of a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients being produced.

The electronics cluster also saw a decline, with a decrease of 8.0 % in April 2011 from the same period in 2010. Although the infocomms & consumer electronics and computer peripherals segments saw increases of 46.3 % and 33.5 %, these were offset by contraction in the semiconductors (-14.6 per cent) and data storage (-19.1 per cent) segments.

The decline in the semiconductors segment was attributed to a slowdown in export demand while the data storage segment was affected by the relocation of production overseas as previously announced.

According to a Reuters report, most economists believe the drop in electronics will be short-term due to disruptions arising from the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

The general manufacturing cluster's output also declined 8.3 % year-on-year in April 2011. The decline was largely due to the printing and miscellaneous segments, which saw output fall 6.5 % and 14.1 per cent respectively. Cumulative output of the cluster in the first four months of 2011 declined 0.6 % compared to the same period last year.

Only the precision engineering cluster and transport engineering clusters showed improvement, showing increases of 28.5 % and 6.3 % year-on-year in April 2011 respectively.

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