Singapore's exports recorded their worst decline in more than two years in December as shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals plunged, official data showed on Thursday.
The unexpected decline comes despite ongoing trade talks between the United States and China to defuse trade tensions. Many economists expect the dispute to hurt trade-dependent Singapore in months to come.
Non-oil domestic exports in December fell 8.5 percent from a year earlier, data from the trade agency Enterprise Singapore showed, slowing further from a revised 2.8 percent decline the month before.
The outcome was well below a 1.5 percent increase predicted by economists in a Reuters poll and the worst performance since October 2016, when exports declined 14 percent year-on-year.
"This could show that U.S.-China trade talks have become a ruse, falling in line with disappointing China trade data," Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC, told Reuters. "There is a likelihood that (export fall) will continue into the first quarter."