by Jared Heng
Singapore’s manufacturing output fell 3.4 per cent year-on-year in March, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Thursday.
This compared with an approximately 6-per cent decline predicted by economists and February’s 12.1-per cent increase.
Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output contracted at a similar rate of 3.4 per cent, EDB said.
On a month-on-month basis, overall manufacturing output grew 2.7 per cent in March.
Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output increased 2.9 per cent from February.
Overall manufacturing output fell 1.0 per cent in this year’s first quarter, compared with the same period a year ago.
According to EDB, the transport engineering and general manufacturing clusters grew by 20.8 per cent and 4.1 per cent year-on-year respectively in March.
However, output of the biomedical manufacturing cluster fell 3.3 per cent year-on-year in March, while production of the electronics cluster dropped 15.9 per cent.
Output of the precision engineering and chemicals clusters also fell during the month.
Commenting on the year-on-year fall in overall manufacturing output, Justin Harper, strategist at IG Markets Singapore, said: “The figures shouldn’t scare those who believe the economic downturn is starting to bottom out. The (general) manufacturing sector expanded for a second consecutive month in March, signalling the worst may be over.”