Singapore: Signs of relief? Not really…

3 min
Mahamoud Islam
Mahamoud Islam Senior Economist for Asia

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports rose by +4.9% y/y in February (after a drop of -10.1% in January) mainly driven by China (+34.4% y/y), Hong Kong (+41.9%) and the U.S. (+6.6%). By sector, the recovery was supported by non-electronic products (+9.4% y/y). Manufacturing output edged up by +0.7% y/y (after -0.4% y/y in Janu­ary). Electronics and precision engineering were the main drags on growth. Going forward, Singaporean trade data are usually seen as good advanced indicators of the global trade cycle. Yet, last month figures should be interpreted with caution as they were probably distorted by the Chinese New Year holidays. Our view is that a real recovery might occur only from Q2 onwards, when the Chinese stimulus starts to have material effects and if China and the U.S. reach a trade agreement. Singapore’s GDP is forecast to rise by +2.3% in 2019 (after +3.3% in 2018).