Singapore's Industrial Production Slows in April as Pharma Drags

By Gaurav Raghuvanshi Features Dow Jones Newswires

Singapore's industrial production slowed as expected in April amid continued drag from the pharmaceutical industry that was partly offset by accelerating electronics output.

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Industrial production rose 6.7% year over year last month, after an upwardly-revised 11.0% gain in March, according to government data released Friday. A poll of economists by The Wall Street Journal had predicted industrial output to rise 7.0% in April.

Still, this marked the ninth 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 on month on a seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production rose 0.1% in April after growing 5.7% in March. The poll had predicted a 1.5% on month fall in April.

Electronics production accelerated to a 48% on year rise in April, after gaining 38.6% in March. However, production in the highly volatile pharmaceutical industry slumped 32.4%, worse than a 2.5% fall in March.

Singapore's pharmaceutical 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. 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.

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The offshore and marine industry remained a drag on output. Production at Singapore's shipbuilding and repair yards fell 30.5% from a year ago in April, following a similar decline in the previous month.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 26, 2017 01:14 ET (05:14 GMT)