February 26, 2020 / 5:18 AM / a month ago

Singapore factory output unexpectedly rises in January

Employees are seen by their workstations at a printed circuit board assembly factory in Singapore June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s industrial output unexpectedly rose in January and soared past analysts’ estimates, underpinned by a spike in pharmaceutical production, data showed on Wednesday.

Manufacturing output in January rose 3.4% on-year, data from the Singapore Economic Development Board showed, compared with a downwardly revised 3.7% decline in December. The median forecast in a Reuters poll had predicted a drop of 5.3%.

On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production rose 18.2% in January, after an upward revision to a 6.3% increase for the previous month. The median forecast was for a 0.6% increase.

Pharmaceutical production surged 59.4% in January from a year earlier, while manufacturing in the electronics sector dropped 7.2%.

Output in pharmaceuticals is inherently volatile because production happens in batches, which can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to make.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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