Singapore Industrial Production Rose 10.2% on Year in March

By Gaurav Raghuvanshi Features Dow Jones Newswires

Singapore's industrial output maintained its pace in March, raising hopes that the manufacturing rebound will bolster the island nation's economy.

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Industrial production rose 10.2% year over year last month, the same pace as in February, according to government data released Wednesday.

This marked the eighth consecutive month of rising output, helped by rising orders for Singapore's electronics industry in recent months after more than two years of weak demand.

Measured month over month on a seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production rose 5.0% in March, reversing a 5.8% decline in February.

Electronics production rose 37.7% year over year in March, after a 40.3% gain in February. The surge was led by a 54.6% gain in the production of semiconductors, while the output of data storage devices turned positive, rising 10.5% after a 27.5% decline in February. Electronics account for 27.4% of Singapore's total industrial production.

Production in the volatile pharmaceutical industry fell 2.5% year over year in March. Singapore's sector is dominated by a handful of players with large factories, where the production of a batch of high-value medicine--a cancer drug, for example--has the potential to send output soaring.

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However, the plants also typically undergo long periods of maintenance shutdowns between batches of different drugs, which can cause output to drop dramatically in some months.

A 16.7% gain in the production of medical-technology products helped the total biomedical industry output grow 2.0% in March, after a 12.6% fall in the preceding month.

The offshore and marine industry, however, remained a drag on output. Production at Singapore's shipbuilding and repair yards fell 30.6% from a year ago in March, following a 22.5% decline in the previous month.

Write to Gaurav Raghuvanshi at gaurav.raghuvanshi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 26, 2017 01:17 ET (05:17 GMT)