SINGAPORE – Singapore’s manufacturing slump deepened in June with factory output falling 6.9 per cent in June from a year ago as the key electronics sector saw more gloom. 

This was the sharpest contraction since output plunged 11.9 per cent in December 2015.

The drop made for the fourth straight month of contraction and comes after output shrank a revised 2 per cent in May, according to figures from the Economic Development Board released on Friday (July 26).

Economists were expecting worse, with a poll by by Bloomberg tipping an 8.5 per cent drop.

However, excluding the volatile biomedical manufacturing sector, production in June fell by a bigger 9.9 per cent margin.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, output rose 1.2 per cent in June compared with May’s revised 0.1% dip. But excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 2.9 per cent.

Singapore’s struggling electronics sector, which accounted for a third of factory production last year, continued to be the worst performer. Output here fell 18.8 per cent in June, for the fourth straight month of decline. All segments except for data storage saw lower production. In the first half of the year, electronics output was down 6.9 per cent compared to the year-ago period.

General manufacturing and biomedical manufacturing were the best performers, with both clusters being the only ones with positive cumulative growth for the first six months of the year.

General manufacturing output rose 10.8 per cent in June, by 22.2 per cent growth in the food, beverages and tobacco segment, thanks to higher output of beverage products. For the first half-year, general manufacturing output rose 4.3 per cent.

Biomedical manufacturing output expanded by 5 per cent, with pharmaceutical output up 5.3 per cent and medical technology output, 4.2 per cent. For the first half of the year, biomedical manufacturing output rose 9.6 per cent year on year.

The precision engineering sector output edged up 0.3 per cent. The machinery and systems segment rose 3.3 per cent with higher output in semiconductor foundry equipment and refrigeration systems. Year to date, however, this cluster shrank 8.3 per cent.

Chemicals output fell 3.3 per cent in June, dragged down by a 12.3 per cent fall in petrochemicals due to maintenance shutdowns in some plants. The remaining segments of other chemicals, petroleum, and specialities saw growth of 3 per cent, 2.4 per cent, and 0.4 per cent respectively. Chemicals output growth for the first six months of the year was flat, with growth of just 0.1 per cent.

Transport engineering output dropped 14.2 per cent on a 33.3 per cent plunge in marine and offshore engineering due to less offshore and shipbuilding and repairing activities. In contrast, land transport grew 15.3 per cent and aerospace, 7.3 per cent. For the first six months, the transport engineering cluster shrank 0.6 per cent.