Singapore Manufacturing Output Slows

Singapore's April manufacturing output grew at a slower pace of 4.8% as a fall in pharmaceuticals weighed down total production, the Economic Development Board said May 26. Cumulative growth in the first four months of 2005 for the manufacturing sector as a whole was 3.7%

With electronics growth easing, robust orders for oil rigs and ship repair services helped sustain the expansion during the month in manufacturing, which accounts for a quarter of the trade-reliant economy.

April's growth compared with a revised year-on-year increase of 9.0% posted in March and was within analyst forecasts for a 3.0-8.4% rise. Electronics production rose 9.8% from a year earlier but this was down sharply on the 19.5 % gain in March. The transport engineering cluster emerged as the month's star performer, growing 27%, "boosted by expansions in the marine and aerospace segments," the board said. The marine and offshore segment grew 35% due to vigorous activity in ship repair, ship building, ship conversion and fabrication of oil rigs as oil exploration intensified worldwide due to high crude prices.

"Local and overseas demand for commercial aircraft repairs contributed to the 24.3% growth in the aerospace segment," the board added.

In April, the biomedicals sector contracted 12.1%, pulled down by a 14.6% fall in pharmaceuticals production. In the electronics cluster, a key component of the economy, data storage output jumped 31.8% while information and communications products and consumer electronics rose 38%. However, semiconductor output climbed only 3.5% and computer peripherals shrank 10.3%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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