Singapore NODX improves in Feb on-year as decline in China exports slows

The Tanjong Pagar container terminal, foreground, the Keppel container terminal, back right, and the Brani container terminal, back left, stand in this aerial photograph taken above Singapore, on Thursday, July 2, 2015.
Darren Soh | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Tanjong Pagar container terminal, foreground, the Keppel container terminal, back right, and the Brani container terminal, back left, stand in this aerial photograph taken above Singapore, on Thursday, July 2, 2015.

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rose 2.1 percent in February from a year ago, as shipments to the United States rose and a decline in sales to China moderated.

This reversed a 10.1 percent overall decline in year-on-year exports that was reported in January. Five economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had a median forecast of a 2 percent increase.

The data released Thursday by International Enterprise Singapore, the country's trade agency, showed that shipments to China dropped 1.2 percent in February compared to the same period a year earlier, a big improvement on the 25.2 percent on-year fall recorded in January.

Shipments to the U.S. were up 4.2 percent, reversing a 5.1 percent decline in January.

Pharmaceuticals, a volatile sector, were the big contributor to exports, rising 40 percent on-year in February, up from a 6.9 percent increase the month prior.

On Wednesday the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state's central bank, releasedthe results of a poll of economists that predicted gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 1.9 percent for 2015, down from a previous forecast of 2.2 percent in December and below last year's reading of 2 percent.

"A structurally lower global GDP growth trend also exerts further downward pressure on an economy that has typically been a high-beta global proxy...The delay in export recovery suggests cyclical headwinds and that the economy is likely to decelerate further," Morgan Stanley said in its ASEAN outlook report this week, referring to Singapore's export-oriented economy.

The Singaporean Government will release its budget on March 24, in which it's widely expected to channel the bulk of state funds towards reinvigorating GDP by helping local companies improve revenues.

- Reuters contributed to this report.

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