SINGAPORE – Exports performed better than feared, though numbers continued to fall by double digits for the fifth straight month, dragged down especially by the electronics slump.

Non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) fell by 11.2 per cent in July, according to Enterprise Singapore data on Friday (Aug 16). Bloomberg pollsters had expected worse, tipping the Nodx drop to be 15.4 per cent.

On a month-on-month basis, July exports reversed June’s 7.8 per cent fall with growth of 3.7 per cent. 

Exports plunged a revised 17.4 per cent year on year  in June – the biggest drop since shipments sank 33.2 per cent in February 2013.

CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun said that June’s plunge could be “the bottom of the current cycle, but double digit declines might persist over the next few months”.

“Leading indicators such as orders are still weakening,” he said.

Year on year, electronic exports shrank by 24.2 per cent in July, following the 31.9 per cent drop in June, while non-electronic exports dipped by 6.6 per cent in July, easing from the 12.6 per cent fall in June.

The fall in non-electronic exports was led by pharmaceuticals (-32.7 per cent), specialised machinery (-31.3 per cent) and primary chemicals (-30.9 per cent).

Exports to all of Singapore’s top 10 markets fell as well, except to the United States. Leading the decline were falling shipments to Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Exports to emerging markets also declined by 29.6 per cent last month, following a 17.0 per cent fall in June.

Data out on Tuesday showed Singapore’s export slump deepened in the second quarter, with Nodx contracting by 14.6 per cent compared to a year ago, its third straight quarter of decline.

On the back of this continued dismal performance, Enterprise Singapore slashed its Nodx forecast to -9 to -8 per cent for the year, down from the range of -2 to 0 per cent which was revised in the first quarter.