Manufacturing output of the country grew in May

Manufacturing output of the country grew in May

Singapore’s manufacturing output grew for a seventh consecutive month in May, increasing 30 percent year-on-year, official data showed on Friday.

This is the biggest increase since November 2010, Reuters reported, and outpaced the previous month’s 2.1 percent.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 29 percent year-on-year in May.

Due in part to the “circuit breaker” measures in place in May last year, said the Economic Development Board (EDB).

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output increased 7.2 percent in May, data showed.

Increase in manufacturing output

All clusters saw year-on-year increases in May, headlined by precision engineering, which grew 58.6 percent.

This was led by the machinery and systems segment, which rose 73.4 percent on account of higher production of semiconductor equipment to cater to the “strong capital investment in the global semiconductor industry”, said EDB.

The precision modules and components segment also rose 30.4 percent, as production of optical products, metal precision components and plastic precision products increased.

The transport engineering cluster expanded 44 percent year-on-year in May, with the marine and offshore engineering segment growing 71 percent.

This was due to domestic circuit breaker measures and movement restrictions at foreign worker dormitories that “adversely affected” production last year, said EDB.

The aerospace segment grew 21.3 percent from a low base last year due to the grounding of aircrafts amid travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19.

Biomedical manufacturing output increased 35.6 percent year-on-year in May.

The medical technology segment grew 47.6 percent on the back of higher export demand for medical devices.

While the pharmaceutical segment saw a 38 percent rise with the increase in production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products.

General manufacturing output rose 27.8 percent year-on-year in May, with miscellaneous industries growing 96.1 percent from a low base last year.

When many of the construction related industries had to either stop or reduce production due to circuit breaker measures. The printing segment also grew 8.7 percent.

Electronics cluster expanded 23.2 percent year-on-year in May, as all segments recorded a higher level of production. 

The semiconductors segment grew 25.5 percent, supported by demand from 5G markets and a low production base last year, EDB said.

Chemicals output increased 16.2 percent year-on-year in May, with all segments also recording output growth.

Source: Channes News Asia

China's imports from Saudi Arabia fell in May

China’s imports from Saudi Arabia fell in May

China’s imports from Saudi Arabia fell 21 per cent in May from a year earlier but retained their top ranking among suppliers for a ninth month in a row.

Customs data showed on Sunday (Jun 20).

Shipments from Saudi Arabia were 7.2 million tons last month, or 1.69 million barrels per day (bpd), data from the General Administration of Chinese Customs showed.

That compared to 6.47 million tons in April and 9.16 million in May 2020.

Imports from second-largest supplier Russia also dropped from a month earlier, to 5.44 million tons, or 1.28 million bpd.

The scale-backs by the top two exporters were in line with a steep annual decline of nearly 15 per cent to this year’s lowest total crude imports into China.

Imports from United Arab Emirates arrivals fell 25 per cent last month from year-ago levels.

That is a possible sign that Iranian oil shipments were slowing further from peaks early this year.

Amid talks between Tehran and world powers to revive the nuclear deal the United States exited in 2018.

Reuters has reported that Iran has sold record amounts of oil since late 2020, disguised as crude oil from other origins that included the UAE and Oman.

The customs’ database also showed a 3.6 per cent year-on-year rise to 1.04 million tons of imports from Malaysia.

Which traders said has been a key transshipment point for heavy crude blends from Venezuela.

Official data has consistently recorded zero imports from Caracas since October 2019.

As dominant state importer CNPC halted loading, fearful of US sanctions.

Venezuela oil, however, had slipped into China, passed on as Malaysian bitumen blend after transshipments in Malaysian waters, analysts said.

Imports from the United States reached 1.07 million tons, nearly doubled the level a year earlier.

Source: Channel News Asia: Business Singapore

Airline sector sees a rebound for the first time in a year

Airline sector sees a rebound for the first time in a year

After flying into the financial turbulence of the pandemic, the airline sector expects passenger traffic to take off despite concerns about the industry’s impact on climate change.

In its latest look at trends for the airline sector, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

It doesn’t expect world air traffic to resume to its pre-pandemic level before 2023.

But over 20 years, air traffic should almost double, from 4.5 billion passengers in 2019 to 8.5 billion in 2039.

That is, however, a drop of one billion passengers from IATA’s pre-crisis forecast.

Nevertheless, that will be good news for aircraft manufacturers.

Who slowed down production during the crisis as the airline sector cancelled orders to stay financially afloat.

Airbus has already announced it plans to step up the manufacturing cadence of its best-selling A320 single-aisle aircraft.

And should reach a record level already in 2023.

Boeing, for its part, forecasts that airlines will need 43,110 new aircraft through 2039, which will result in a near doubling of the global fleet. Asia alone will account for 40 percent of that demand.

As with the Sep11 attacks or the global financial crisis of 2007-2009,

“the industry will prove resilient again”, Darren Hulst, vice president of marketing at Boeing, said last year.

Marc Ivaldi, research director at the Paris-based School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, noted that only 1 percent of the population currently uses air travel.

“With the simple demographic rise and the fact that people become richer there will be rising demand for air travel and thus for aircraft,” he told AFP.

If the biggest aircraft fleets are currently in the United States and Europe, the biggest increases are expected in Asia and the Middle East, the consulting firm Oliver Wyman said in a recent study.

Source: Channel News Asia

Sri Lanka harbors have big maritime ambitions

Sri Lanka harbors have big maritime ambitions

The dramatic recent fire on a container ship off Sri Lanka highlighted the risks involved in the island nation’s ambitions to become one of the world’s busiest maritime hubs.

MV X-Press Pearl burned for 13 days, releasing tons of chemicals and plastics. The sinking ship’s nearly 300 tons of fuel oil may now leak into the Indian Ocean.

How important is Sri Lanka?

Thanks to its geographical location, around 200 container ships and oil tankers sail past every day on the busy routes between Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

But Sri Lanka is also the biggest so-called transshipment hub in South Asia.

Meaning that some of the world’s biggest ships dock in Sri Lanka to load and unload containers.

Colombo, four days by ship from Singapore and four and a half to Dubai, is the only port between those two places deep enough to handle ships.


Colombo Port now hopes to double its annual handling capacity of 7.2 million containers in four years.

“We are strategically located and we are strategically important,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Daya Ratnayake told AFP.

“But, we have a serious problem here, the problem is (lack of) capacity.”

India is developing a deep-water port at Vizhinjam on its southwest tip and is planning another in the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, both of which may steal some of Colombo’s trade.


Two-thirds of the transshipment cargo going through Sri Lanka is goods going from or to India.

And New Delhi has traditionally seen Colombo as an ally.

However, since a big chunk of what passes through the Indian Ocean is Chinese-made, Beijing has also shown a keen interest in developing Sri Lanka as a key link on its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Since 2014, Colombo Port has been home to a US$500-million Chinese-run deep sea terminal. To pacify New Delhi, this year allowed India to build another new terminal right next door.

“This is how we are balancing,” Ratnayake said. “We as a country must take all this competition to our advantage.”

Source: Channel News Asia

Australian Wine exports keep strong despite weather

Australian Wine exports keep strong despite weather

Australian wine exports declined by 4 percent in value to $2.77 billion in the 12 months to March 2021, compared with the previous corresponding period.

This driven principally by the toll taken by high Chinese tariffs, according to an Australian Wine Report released on April.

Export volume declined by 1 percent to 724 million liters.

While the average price per liter for wine exports declined by 3 percent to $3.82 free on board.

Australian Wine Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the decline in exports was due principally to a steep decline in exports to mainland China.

As well as the cumulative effects of three consecutive lower vintage in Australia leading to less volume available to export.

‘Notwithstanding the impact of China’s tariffs, we were still looking at a potential downturn in exports over this period simply due to the supply situation’, Mr. Clark said.

Mr. Clark said exports to China for the December 2020 to March 2021 period were just $12 million compared to $325 million in the comparable period a year ago.

‘As the tariffs apply to product in bottles under 2 liters, the decline in exports to China was mainly in bottled exports.

This, along with increased unpackaged shipments to other markets such as the UK, resulted in a drop in the share of bottled exports in the export mix.

From 46 percent of total volume in the 12 months ended March 2020 to 41 percent in the same period in 2021. This led to the decline in the overall average value of exports.’

Mr. Clark said on a more positive note there had been significant growth in exports to Europe, which was up 23 percent to $710 million, the highest value in a decade.

‘There was also growth to North America, up 5%.

Source: Wine Australia

Wild oats spread treating Canadian crops

Wild oats spread treating Canadian crops

There are a number of things from the 1970s few people wish to see return and wild oats it’s one of them.

Sixty-nine per cent of wild oats across the Canadian Prairies show herbicide resistance, said University of Saskatchewan plant scientist Eric Johnson.

With 27 per cent resistant to both Groups 1 and 2 herbicides — the products most commonly used to control them.

“From the ’70s up until the mid-’90s, the industry introduced a number of very effective wild oat herbicides,” said Johnson, speaking at the Lethbridge, Alberta-based Farming Smarter conference in December.

Why it matters: Once the oats developed resistance to Groups 1 and 2 herbicides, you are mostly limited to granular, soil-applied, pre-emergent herbicides.

And resistance to those have already been found in all three Prairie provinces.

“The thought was there would be a never-ending pipeline of new herbicides available to growers to control wild oats.

That did nott materialize and we haven’t seen any new modes of action since the mid-’90s or early 2000s.”

Once wild oats develop resistance to Groups 1 and 2 herbicides, growers are mostly limited to granular, soil-applied, pre-emergent herbicides such as Avadex or Fortress (both of which contain the Group 8 active ingredient triallate).

Group 3 herbicides such as Edge are also recommended for suppression of wild oats when applied in fall.

However, resistance in oats is an ever-moving target. Resistance to triallate, for example, has been found in all three Prairie provinces, said Johnson.

In a nod to an earlier era, the Wild Oat Action Committee of the ’70s and ’80s has been rebranded as the Resistant Wild Oat Action Committee (RWOAC).

In partnership with the Canadian Weed Science Society (CWSS.

Its goal is to educate and engage farmers to develop and adopt diverse approaches to managing wild oats.

Source: GrainNews

Philippines cuts rice prices to fight inflation

Philippines cuts rice prices to fight inflation

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte reduced the tariff for imported rice on Saturday (May 15).

To ensure food security and protect consumers in the world’s biggest importer of the grain.

Philippines, who is battling elevated inflation, took into consideration the increase in global rice prices and uncertainties in local rice supply.

The president’s office said in a statement.

In an executive order, Duterte cut the Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates on rice to 35 percent from 40 percent for in-quota purchases and 50 percent out-quota volume for one year.

“To diversify the country’s market sources, augment rice supply, maintain prices affordable, and reduce pressures on inflation.”

In January, the agriculture ministry projected the country to import at least 1.7 million tonnes of its staple food this year to fully cover domestic requirements.

It buys more than 90 percent of import requirements from Vietnam.

The Philippines’ paddy rice output rose 2.6 per cent to a record 19.3 million tonnes last year, government data showed. The agriculture ministry targets unmilled rice output at 20.5 million tonnes this year.

More than 20 tropical storms hit the Philippines annually.

With the strongest typhoons destroying crops like rice and corn in the second half, the peak harvest season.

Duterte also tweaked MFN tariff rates for pork products to 10 per cent for in-quota purchases and 20 percent for out-quota volumes for the first three months.

And 15 percent for in-quota and 25 percent for out-quota from the 4th to the 12th month.

The tariffs were higher than previously-announced rates after opposition by the local hog industry.

The government is rushing to address the shortage of pork supply, hit hard by African Swine Fever outbreaks, that has pushed inflation to the high end of the 2 percent to 4 per cent target.

Source: Channel News Asia

Wine pomace could be given a second life says a study

Wine pomace could be given a second life says a study

As vintners and scientists search for ways to increase the sustainability of farming and winemaking practices, some are looking to give grape pomace, or marc, new life.

This often forgotten byproduct of winemaking accounts for thousands of tons of waste annually.

Past research has suggested numerous alternative uses, however, from grapeseed oil to biofuel to beauty products.

Now a recent study has found that this wine byproduct of skins, stems and seeds could be a potential health supplement.

Some researchers at University of California at Davis found that pomace from Chardonnay grapes contains significant amounts of oligosaccharides.

This is a type of carbohydrate found in a variety of plant and human tissues.

Studies on oligosaccharides have found that the compound helps promote immune and intestinal health.

It is an ingredient in breast milk that feeds a strain of bacteria in infants’ intestines that helps build immunity against illness and disease

Historically, pomace has been used to make a diluted wine product called piquette.

Enjoyed by harvest workers, the low-alcohol drink is made by mixing pomace and water.

Some vintners have also found use for it in composting or for animal feed.

Because pomace can account for up to 30 percent of a grape’s total weight, its disposal poses some environmental concerns.

Numerous efforts have been made to find some alternative uses.

The new study, led by food science professor Daniela Barile and master’s candidate and lead author Amanda Sinrod, looked to tackle the waste problem by determining which beneficial compounds in pomace might be harnessed.

“It is all about sustainable wine production and finding a second life for wine grapes,” said Barile in a statement.

“Early results are encouraging that marc (pomace) could be a valuable source for oligosaccharides and other compounds that support health and nutrition.”

Source: Wine Spectator

Malaysia’s IPI surged 9.3% in March from a year ago

Malaysia’s IPI surged 9.3% in March from a year ago

Malaysia’s industrial production index (IPI) surged 9.3% in March 2021 from a year ago, exceeding a Bloomberg survey of an 8.7%.

As the growth was powered by the manufacturing and electricity segments. This was the strongest growth since July 2013.

Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the growth of IPI in March 2021 was driven by the manufacturing index which expanded by 12.7 and electricity index which increased by 10.3%.

However, he said the mining index dropped by 1.9%.

He said manufacturing output continued to expand in March 2021 after recording a growth of 4.5% in February.

The major sub-sectors contributing to the growth in manufacturing sector in March 2021 were transport equipment & other manufactures.

Petroleum, chemical, rubber & plastic products and electrical & electronics products.

Mohd Uzir said the export-oriented industries underpinned the growth of the manufacturing sector by 12.4% while domestic-oriented industries increased by 13.4%.

“The growth of the manufacturing sector was also driven by the high capacity utilisation rate especially in electrical & electronic products and petroleum, chemical, rubber & plastic products sub-sectors.

“In addition, the performance of the manufacturing sector also in line with the notable growth in exports and IPI for some of main trading partners of Malaysia,” he added.

As for the mining sector output dropped 1.9% in March 2021 as compared to the same period of the previous year.

The deterioration was due to the decrease in crude oil & condensate index. The natural gas index grew positively 4.3%.

However, the electricity sector output expanded by 10.3 % in March 2021 from a year ago.

For the first quarter, the IPI increased by 3.9% from a year ago.

The growth was due to the 6.8% expansion in the manufacturing index. The mining and electricity sectors recorded a deterioration of 4.1% and 0.1%.

Source: The Star

Purple wine the wine that it's expanding its range

Purple wine: the wine that it’s expanding its range

Purple Reign, sold by Western Australia-based Masstengo, gets its vibrant lilac hue from the infusion of the botanicals, which are also designed to minimise the use of sulphites.

Bottled at 12% abv and sold in Australia for A$21 per bottle, the wine is a blend of grapes sourced from Western Australia’s Margaret River and Great Southern wine regions.

According to the Purple Reign website, it has ‘a hint of grass and a touch of minerals, with a perfect balance of natural acidity and freshness, complemented by a crisp, dry finish’.

The site adds: ‘The palate shows a textural mouthfeel, which lingers to a refreshing, earthy finish, with a subtle, flinty flourish.’

Purple Reign was launched at the 2019 Royal Easter Show in Sydney.

With the entire initial production run selling out before the end of the show, Masstengo said.

Now the company has launched a Purple Reign dry sparkling wine and Free Reign.

A more conventional-looking organic and preservative-free Shiraz from Margaret River. Both are priced at about A$25 per bottle.

Masstengo was established ‘to push the boundaries of winemaking with an aim to remove synthetic additives that cause harm in humans.

Like sulphites, and replace them with safer, more beneficial alternatives’, the company says.

Founder Tim Macnamara studied for a Masters in environmental sustainability and worked as a wine representative.

While business partner Ross Stewart has a science background and previously specialised in organic, biodynamic and preservative-free wine.

In 2016, the Spanish makers of a blue ‘wine’ called Gïk fell foul of EU regulators, who ruled that they could not label it as wine.

Gïk was produced using red and white grapes from Castilla la Mancha and Rioja, and was infused with a plant-based dye and sweeteners.

In 2018, another blue wine ‘Vindigo’ was launched in France

Source: Decanter