Singapore's Factory Output Up Almost 20%

By Agence France-Presse Singapore's industrial output grew 19.4% in June year-on-year as the electronics industry powered ahead, the government said July 26, underlining the city-state's already bright economic forecasts. June factory output was slightly lower than the 20.6% recorded in May but exceeded analyst forecasts of a 12.5% to 16.6% increase. "The strong performance in the various clusters, especially in electronics, propelled the upswing in June," the Economic Development Board (EDB) said in its report for June. Electronics, which accounts for half of total industrial output, grew 36.7% from a year earlier on the back of robust demand for semiconductors and communications products, the EDB said. Semiconductor output was up almost 50% from a year ago while communications rose 71% due largely to a surge in mobile phone demand in Europe, the report showed. For the year to June, electronics output was up 19.2%. All other segments posted higher output in June, led by the biomedical sector, which expanded 17.5% as pharmaceuticals rose 18% and medical technology grew 15.5%. Chemicals output was up 12.2%, precision engineering rose 8.9% and transport engineering was 17.7% higher. Only the general manufacturing industries sector was flat. Manufacturing is a major pillar of Singapore's US$94 billion economy, accounting for a quarter of gross domestic product. The June report is likely to help allay worries of a possible slowdown in global electronics demand, a situation that some have said could be expected to hit Singapore and other technology-export dependent Asian economies this year. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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