Singapore exports shrink

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    A container ship is seen arriving in a port in Singapore. Exports fell 2.9 percent in October after a drop of 3.3 percent in the previous month. A poll conducted by Reuters had predicted an increase of 1.4 percent. (Reuters Photo)
    A container ship is seen arriving in a port in Singapore. Exports fell 2.9 percent in October after a drop of 3.3 percent in the previous month. A poll conducted by Reuters had predicted an increase of 1.4 percent. (Reuters Photo)

    SINGAPORE- Singapore’s exports in October shrank for the eighth straight month and were worse than analysts’ expectations as shipments of electronics continued to slide, official data showed on Monday.

    Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) last month fell 12.3 percent year-on-year, compared with a drop of 8.1 percent in September, data from the trade agency Enterprise Singapore showed. A Reuters poll had forecast shipments to fall 10.4 percent.

    On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, exports fell 2.9 percent in October after a drop of 3.3 percent in the previous month. The poll had predicted an increase of 1.4 percent.

    Electronics shipments fell 16.4 percent year-on-year in October.

    Singapore’s prime minister earlier said that the city-state’s economy should hopefully have slightly expanded over the course of 2019.

    Lee Hsien Loong said the trade-reliant economy, seen as a bellwether for global growth, was facing uncertain times due to the Sino-US trade war and a global economic slowdown.

    The city-state narrowly dodged recession in the third quarter, data showed this week, and its central bank eased monetary policy for the first time in three years.

    “This year we will be well under 1 percent (growth),” Lee said, speaking at the Forbes global CEO conference. “If we are lucky, we should be above zero but the momentum has substantially diminished.”

    Authorities have forecast full-year growth of between 0-1 percent in 2019.

    Lee, 67, the son of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, added that he planned to hand over the reins to his successor shortly after an election widely-expected to take place within months.

    “After the next general election, I hope within a not too long time, I’ll be able to hand over to my successor,” Lee said.

    He declined to comment on the exact timing of the election, which must take place by early 2021.

    Singapore’s central bank last month eased its monetary policy for the first time in three years as widely expected.

    In a statement, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it would lower slightly the slope of the Singapore dollar’s policy band, while the width and centre of the band would not be changed.

    The MAS manages monetary policy through exchange rate settings, rather than interest rates, letting the Singapore dollar rise or fall against the currencies of its main trading partners within an undisclosed band.

    Eleven economists polled by Reuters had all expected Singapore would join a global trend toward policy easing as economic uncertainties mount.

    Meanwhile, Taiwan’s export orders likely fell for a 12th straight month in October, but at a slightly slower pace than the previous month, amid tepid demand for electronics despite improving growth outlook for the island’s manufacturers, a Reuters poll showed.

    The median forecast from the poll of 12 economists was for export orders to drop 3.76 percent from a year earlier. The forecasts ranged widely from a decline of 7.6 percent to a growth of 7.9 percent. – Reuters

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