HONG KONG: Singapore’s exports came in weaker than expected in December, dragged down by a fall in shipments to China.
Non-oil domestic exports declined 20.6% from a year earlier, steeper than the median expectation for a 16% contraction in a Bloomberg survey. That follows a 14.7% fall in November.
Total trade decreased by 7.7% during the month from a year ago, according to a report released by the Enterprise Singapore. Total exports declined by 7.1%, while overall imports shrank by 8.2%.
Non-oil domestic exports to China contracted 31.8% in December, following a similar showing the previous month. While the government attributed the worsening trade performance to a higher base of comparison a year ago, the slump comes as global demand slows amid fears of a recession in some advanced economies.
Slowing commerce will be the biggest headwind to the trade-reliant economy, with the government expecting growth to cool to 0.5%-2.5% in 2023 from an estimated 3.8% last year.
Trends in manufacturing have so far painted a bleak picture, with a survey of factory managers showing activity in contraction territory for the past four months.
The reopening of China is, however, expected to provide a much-needed boost to demand in the coming months. China is the city-state’s top goods trading partner as of 2021.