Singapore Industrial Output Up 12%

Singapore's industrial output increased almost 12% year-on-year in August thanks to strong demand for pharmaceuticals and oil rigs, the government said Sept. 26. On a month-on-month basis, industrial output rose 2.5%, the Economic Development Board said. For the eight months to August, industrial output increased 6.0% over the same period in 2004.

For the month, a strong 45.4% jump in the biomedical sector and 27.8% rise in transport engineering helped offset a 0.9% contraction in the key electronics sector. The biomedicals sector is comprised largely of pharmaceuticals, while oil rig manufacturing accounts for a bulk of offshore marine engineering output. Singapore shipyards currently account for 80% of the global oil rig manufacturing market and are reaping a windfall as sky-high crude prices boost marine exploration for new oil and gas deposits worldwide. Potential repair work on U.S. rigs and platforms damaged by Hurricanes Katrina is also expected to further boost the business, analysts said.

Output from the electronics sector, which accounts for almost half of total industrial activity and forms the bulk of Singapore's exports, fell in August because of a slowdown in computer peripherals.

In other sectors, chemicals rose 0.8% on the year, precision engineering grew 9.9 % and general manufacturing expanded 1.6%.

The monthly industrial report card is one of Singapore's widely watched economic indicators as manufacturing industry accounts for almost a quarter of the city-state's gross domestic product worth 180 billion Singapore dollars (US107 billion US) in 2004.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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