Singapore Output Down 22.4% in February

Electronics output decreased 37%

Singapore on March 26 said manufacturing output fell 22.4% in February from the year before, pulled by slumping global demand for pharmaceuticals and electronics products.

However, the decline follows a 29.1% tumble in January.

Production in biomedicals slid 27.9% in February from the same month last year, led by a 29.4% drop in pharmaceuticals output, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said.

Output in the electronics cluster decreased 37.3%. "As the global economy stagnated, the demand for electronics products remained depressed worldwide, leading to output cuts in all segments," the EDB said. "Cumulative (electronics) output in the first two months of 2009 declined 40.4% from the output level for the same period last year."

Precision engineering output shrank 21.5% as demand for products in this sector also weakened because of the global downturn.

Singapore's transport engineering provided support to the economy, expanding 18.5%, due to the offshore and marine sector which covers the manufacture of oil rigs as well as ship repairs. Singapore is the world's biggest maker of offshore oil drilling rigs.

Manufacturing is a key pillar for Singapore's trade-reliant economy, which is expected to shrink by as much as 5% this year in what could be the country's worst recession since independence more than 40 years ago.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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