Singapore’s Non-Oil Exports Rise in February above Estimates

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) jumped by 8.2 percent on a seasonally-adjusted month over month basis in February—a fourth consecutive monthly export growth, which, analysts say, points to a deep-rooted positive trend.

Singapore’s exports excluding petroleum increased by 8.2 percent month over month in February 2021, following the January 6.9-percent monthly growth, according to data released on 17 March by Enterprise Singapore, the government agency championing enterprise development. Both electronic and non-electronic exports grew in February compared to January.

Non-oil domestic exports also increased by 4.2 percent in February 2021 compared to February 2020, which slower growth than January’s 12.7-percent annual expansion in non-oil exports. The annual exports increase in February was due to higher exports of non-monetary gold, specialised machinery, petrochemicals, and electronics, Enterprise Singapore said.

The monthly export growth in February 2021 exceeded analyst consensus views of a small contraction in non-oil exports, as well as ING’s estimate of a 2.1-percent monthly decline.

“This fourth straight monthly increase reflects a deep-rooted positive trend,” said Prakash Sakpal, Senior Economist, Asia, at ING.

The slower annual growth in February than in January “is partly explained by distortion from the different timing of this year’s Chinese New Year holiday, which last year fell in January (this year was in February),” Sakpal noted.

“Combining January-February growth removes this distortion and shows approximately an 8.5% YoY NODX increase for the first two months of the year, which is still a robust performance aligning with strong export bounces elsewhere in the region so far this year,” the economist added.