Singapore Exports Fall the Most in at Least 22 Years (Update1)
By Shamim Adam

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore’s exports fell the most in at least 22 years in January as the deepening global recession pared demand for electronics and other goods in all of the island’s 10 largest markets.

Non-oil domestic exports dropped 34.8 percent from a year earlier, after contracting 20.8 percent in December, the trade promotion agency said in a statement today. Economists had expected a 34.5 percent decline.

Singapore’s economy is in its sharpest and deepest recession in the country’s history, battered by declining orders for electronics goods and pharmaceuticals from its biggest customers in the U.S. and Europe. The government has cut corporate taxes for the second time in three years and said it will tap its reserves to fund record spending to revive growth.

“There is simply no demand,” said Alvin Liew, an economist at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. “Better days will come at the earliest in the last few months of 2009.”

Singapore expects overseas shipments to fall as much as 11 percent in 2009, the government said last month, after a 7.9 percent decline last year that was the worst performance since 2001. Standard Chartered predicts a drop in exports of as much as 20 percent this year, Liew said.

Singapore’s exports fell a seasonally adjusted 3.2 percent last month from December, when they slid a revised 11.4 percent, today’s report showed. Economists had expected a 5 percent decline.

Electronics shipments plunged 38.4 percent in January from a year earlier, the 24th consecutive drop, following a 25.4 percent decline in December. Sales of electronics products by companies including Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. were worth S$3.85 billion ($2.5 billion) last month.

Non-electronics shipments, which include petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, fell 32.4 percent in January from a year earlier. Pharmaceutical shipments dropped 4.5 percent.