Singapore November factory output falls most in four years

FILE PHOTO: A view of factories in Singapore July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s industrial output unexpectedly fell in November, marking its biggest drop in four years, in an indication that any recovery in the Asian bellwether economy is likely to be patchy.

Manufacturing output last month fell 9.3% from a year earlier, data from the Singapore Economic Development Board showed on Thursday, the sharpest decline since December 2015.

That compares with a 0.8% rise forecast by a Reuters survey of eight economists and a downwardly revised 3.6% increase in October.

Electronics manufacturing slumped 20.9% and pharmaceutical production declined 12.7%.

On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production fell 9.4%, after a revised 3.0% increase in the previous month. The median forecast was for a 1.1% increase, based on estimates from five analysts.

Singapore’s export-oriented economy has been hit hard this year by the prolonged trade war between the United States and China as well as a cyclical downturn in the electronics sector.

However, data for the previous two months had pointed to signs of respite, with manufacturing output having risen in September and October.

The city-state, which is expected to hold elections within months, revised up its third-quarter economic growth in November and comfortably avoided a recession that was forecast by some economists.

It will release advance GDP estimates for the fourth quarter and 2019 on Jan. 2.

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