Both exports and imports grew for the Lion City for February 2022, according to the latest data from Enterprise Singapore.
Total exports increased by 22.3%, following the previous month’s 22.1% growth. Total imports grew by 19.6%, following the 28.2% expansion in January 2022. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the level of total trade reached $109b in February 2022, higher than the previous month’s $108b.
The increase in external trade could be largely attributed to the 9.5% increase in non-oil domestic exports (NODX) in February, following the 17.6% expansion in the previous month. The growth was mainly due to non-electronics such as boat and ship structures, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemicals.
The NODX to the top 10 markets as a whole grew as follows in February 2022:
- NODX to the EU 27 expanded by 53.7% in February 2022, after the 32.3% growth in January 2022, due to pharmaceuticals (+120.8%), specialised machinery (+56.8%) and electrical circuit apparatus (+216.2%).
- NODX to China grew by 19.2% in February 2022, following the 26.1% expansion in the preceding month, due to pharmaceuticals (+199.6%), petrochemicals (+14.2%) and measuring instruments (+59.4%).
- NODX to Malaysia rose by 29.8% in February 2022, following the 20.1% growth in the preceding month, due to ICs (+136.3%), specialised machinery (+43.5%) and medical apparatus (+411.3%).
ING senior economist Nicholas Mapa said the slowdown in NODX can be traced to a contraction of shipments to the United States and slower exports to emerging markets and China. However, despite falling below market expectations, Mapa noted NODX growth extended its positive streak to 14 months.
“With the global growth outlook dimming over the past few weeks, we can expect trade activity to slow further, with NODX likewise expected to see more moderation in the coming months. Positive but slowing NODX expansion will likely sap some growth momentum, which will likely factor into our growth projections for the rest of the year,” Mapa said.
Meanwhile, UOB economist Barnabas Gan remains cautious over potential downside risks surrounding the ongoing geopolitical tensions.
“Singapore’s direct trade exposure to Russia and Ukraine is likely negligible, although we are cognizant that second-order trade impact to Russia’s top trading partners, including China, Europe, US and Japan. We keep to our full-year NODX growth outlook of 2.0%, at the top-bound of Enterprise Singapore’s range forecast of 0.0% – 2.0% in 2022,” Gan said.