December 18, 2017 / 3:50 AM / a month ago

Singapore's November export growth slows, weighed by non-electronics goods

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s on-year non-oil domestic exports (NODX) growth slowed significantly in November from October’s double-digit pace, dragged by a high base effect from a year ago and cooling growth of non-electronic products, official data showed on Monday.

Exports rose 9.1 percent in November year-on-year, data from the trade agency International Enterprise Singapore showed, slowing from a revised 20.5 percent surge the month before.

While the growth was faster than the 5.5 percent increase predicted by economists in a Reuters poll, it is significantly weaker than October’s pace, which was the fastest on-year pace in 2-1/2 years.

“Moderation is to be expected because of the high base last year,” said Selena Ling, economist at OCBC Bank.

The exports boom has benefited Singapore and other trade-dependent Asian economies, particularly for makers of electronics products and components such as semiconductors.

Electronics exports in November grew 5.2 percent from the year before, a modest acceleration from the 4.5 percent growth in October.

With the exception of a “one-off blip” in September when it contracted a revised 8.0 percent, exports of electronics have grown at a double-digit pace for most months of this year.

“We already knew that (stellar electronics export numbers) won’t last forever,” Ling told Reuters.

Singapore’s strong electronics export numbers have raised concerns among analysts and policymakers that the base of expansion has been too narrow.

While the on-year growth in non-electronic products exports slowed in November from its previous hot pace, it remained at a double digit pace at 10.6 percent.

“What is encouraging is that non-electronics exports is sustaining export growth,” Ling added.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, exports grew 8.7 percent in November after growing a revised 12.3 percent in October. The poll called for a 0.6 percent growth from the month before.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore held policy steady in October but changed a reference to maintaining current settings for an extended period, a shift that analysts said created room for a tightening next year.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Sam Holmes

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