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Singapore Expects Lower Growth 4% to 6% in Key Exports for 2024

Singapore anticipates that growth in its key exports will likely fall at the lower end of the 4% to 6% forecast for 2024, primarily due to a sluggish start to the year. Non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) declined by 3.4% to approximately $42 billion in the first quarter of 2024, following a 1.4% decrease in the previous quarter, mainly attributed to fluctuating pharmaceutical demand.

Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) expressed concerns about downside risks to the Nodx forecast, indicating that the growth could align with the lower range of the projected 4% to 6%. Despite the challenging start, a rebound in electronics demand is expected in the second half of 2024, driven by consumer devices and artificial intelligence servers.

While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts global economic activity to grow by 3.2% in 2024, Singapore’s key trade partners, including China, the United States, Europe, and ASEAN countries, are expected to see growth. Consequently, EnterpriseSG maintains the 2024 growth forecast for both total merchandise trade and Nodx at 4% to 6%.

Chief economist at OCBC, Ms. Selina Ling, cautioned that the lower end of the 2024 forecast could be at risk, given the weaker-than-expected 4.9% contraction in the first four months compared to 2023. Mr. Barnabas Gan, acting group chief economist at RHB Singapore, highlighted that key sectors supporting Singapore’s economy would include electronics, precision engineering, machinery, and wholesale trade.

In the first quarter of 2024, Singapore’s non-electronics shipments declined compared to the same period the previous year, following growth in the preceding quarter.