Singapore's non-oil exports rebounded strong in December, smashing consensus expectations. Economists told CNBC this jump could help propel the economy's recovery this year.
Non-oil domestic exports (Nodx), which include sectors such as electronics and pharmaceuticals, were up 6 percent in December from a year earlier, a sharp rebound on the 8.9 percent contraction in the previous month, and well above consensus expectations for a 1.7 percent rise.
A strong increase in shipments of non-electronic products drove the rally, offsetting a 3 percent decline in electronic shipments, although this was an improvement on the previous months' 8.9 percent decline. The opening of a new petrochemicals plant by ExxonMobil in Singapore was also seen by analysts as a key driver of the uptick.
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Economists told CNBC the strong pick-up in non-oil exports was a good sign for the economy amid better growth prospects in the rest of the global economy.
"We expect Singapore's gross domestic product to expand by 4 percent next year, mainly led by an improvement in exports and external demand," said Michael Wan, economist at Credit Suisse's Singapore office.
Singapore's economy has been in the doldrums in recent years, as a slowdown in the world's major economies took its toll on the nation's export-focused economy. The economy grew a meager 1.2 percent in 2012, but has picked up in 2013, expanding 4.4 percent on year in the final quarter of last year. The government expects the economy to grow between 2 and 4 percent this year.