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Singapore non-oil exports plummet 20% in March

Published 17/04/2024, 10:52 am
© Reuters.
- Singapore’s key non-oil exports fell sharply in March as demand from China, the country’s biggest market, remained weak, while softer economic conditions across the rest of Southeast Asia also weighed.

Singapore’s non-oil exports slid 20.7% year-on-year in March- their worst drop since January 2023, official data showed on Wednesday. The figure was substantially lower than the 0.2% drop seen in the prior month. 

Month-on-month, non-oil exports slid 8.4% in March, much worse than expectations for an increase of 4.4% and February’s drop of 4.8%. 

The reading indicated that demand in top market China was slowing after a positive start to the year. Recent trade and retail figures from China also showed that consumer spending was worsening in the country, while imports also fell. 

This presented more headwinds to Singapore, which depends greatly on China as a market for its electronics and industrial exports. 

The island nation also acts as a major trading hub for Southeast Asia, and is considered a bellwether for trading conditions in the region. Wednesday’s data points to weak trading conditions across Southeast Asia.

Singapore’s non-oil exports have steadily trended lower over the past two years, tracking a decline in China’s economy. But this also presents more coming weakness for the Singaporean economy, which is largely dependent on trade. 

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