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Singapore April exports better than expected

Tourists take in a cable car take in the sights at Sentosa Island, Singapore
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Tourists take in a cable car take in the sights at Sentosa Island, Singapore

Singapore's annual exports unexpectedly rose in April from a year earlier on strong demand from Europe, but weakness in shipments to the United States and China underscored the uncertainties facing Asia's trade-reliant economies.

Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rose 2.2 percent in April from a year earlier, trade agency International Enterprise Singapore said on Monday in a statement.

That compared with a 4.2 percent contraction forecast in a Reuters poll and a 18.5 percent jump in March, which was the highest growth since February 2012.

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, non-oil domestic exports declined 8.7 percent in April, beating a forecast for a 13.3 percent slide.

Shipments to Europe expanded 11.4 percent from a year earlier after March's 56.2 percent surge.

But non-oil domestic exports to China eased 5.1 percent in April on-year after a 1.1 percent expansion in March, while sales to the United States fell 8.3 percent, compared to a 19.0 percent growth in March.

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China's economy lost further momentum in April, adding to concerns that Beijing's growth target of around 7 percent for the year is at risk even if the government rolls out additional stimulus measures.

Recent disappointing U.S. data also suggested the world's top economy may be struggling to regain momentum after an abrupt slowdown in the first quarter.

"What's quite clear is that the U.S. had a soft patch in the first quarter, and so far the recent economic numbers point to a similarly weak second quarter as well," said Selena Ling, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking.