Singapore’s manufacturing output rose 14.3 percent year-on-year in December, beating estimates and bringing overall growth for 2020 to 7.3 percent.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an 11.5% increase in December.
December’s industrial production was boosted by electronics, chemicals, and precision engineering. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output increased 19.8 percent in December, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Tuesday (Jan 26).
The growth in December follows a revised 18.7 percent expansion in November, instead of the 17.9 percent previously reported.
On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output increased 2.4 percent in December. Economists had expected a 0.6 percent contraction. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 8.2 percent month-on-month.
Electronics manufacturing output soared 41.8 percent in December compared to the same month in 2019, with a 51 percent expansion in the semiconductor segment leading the charge, supported by 5G markets and helped by a low production base from a year before.
The computer peripherals and data storage segment also grew 9.3 percent.
There was an 8.7 percent decrease in output in the other electronic modules and components segment, however, as well as a 6.7 percent decline in infocomms and consumer electronics.
Overall, the output of the electronics cluster grew by 11.9 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.
In the chemicals cluster, production expanded by 12.3 percent year-on-year in December, with all segments recording output growth except petroleum.
Petrochemicals and specialties segments grew by 17.9 percent and 16.9 percent respectively from a low base a year earlier attributed to plant maintenance shutdowns.
The other chemicals segment saw an increase of 14.1 percent, boosted by higher production of fragrances.
The chemicals cluster’s output fell by 1 percent overall in 2020, however.
Output also grew for precision engineering in December, up 11 percent compared to a year ago.
Manufacturing and machinery growth
The machinery and systems segment grew 12.6 percent with a higher output of semiconductor equipment and measuring devices.
The precision modules and components segment rose 6.3 percent due to increased production of the optical instrument and metal precision components.
Output in the precision engineering cluster expanded by 10.6 percent overall in 2020.
General manufacturing cluster also saw growth in December, with a 5.9 percent increase in output year-on-year.
The food, beverage, and tobacco segment was the best performer, growing by 13.6 percent with higher production of beverage products and milk powder.
The printing segment also grew by 1.2 percent but miscellaneous industries fell 0.3 percent due to lower output of construction-related products. General manufacturing contracted by 11.3 percent overall in 2020.