Singapore factory output expands 7.6pc in March

27 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

SINGAPORE: Singapore factory output expanded for the fifth straight month in March, growing by 7.6 per cent year on year as the electronics boom showed no signs of stopping.

The latest increase was a slowdown from the 16.5 per cent surge in February, but still beat the median estimate of 4.7 per cent in a private-sector Bloomberg poll, report agencies.

When biomedical contributions were excluded, industrial production added 14.9 per cent, the Economic Development Board (EDB) announced on Monday.

That’s as the volatile biomedical cluster slipped by 6.6 per cent - reversing February’s 22.1 per cent gain - amid lower output of biological products in the pharmaceutical segment.

But the linchpin electronics industry jumped by 33.7 per cent in March, up from 30.2 per cent in the month before. Semiconductors led the charge with an expansion of 37.8 per cent, making up for production declines in consumer electronics and other electronic parts.

“In particular, growth of the semiconductors segment was supported by demand from cloud services, data centers and 5G markets,” the EDB said in its report.

Similarly, the precision engineering cluster was up by 5.6 per cent year on year, with the EDB noting that the machinery and systems segment saw higher production of semiconductor equipment “to cater to the strong capital investment in the global semiconductor industry”.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s chemicals production rose by 9.5 per cent, led by a rebound in petrochemicals from the year-ago low base of plant maintenance shutdowns, as well as higher production of mineral oil additives in the specialty chemicals industry. These more than made up for contractions in the petroleum and other chemicals segments.