02/17/2012, 00.00
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Europe's debt crisis and Chinese New Year reduce Singapore's exports

The city-state saw its exports fall for the first time in three months in January as electronics and petrochemical shipments declined. This is 2.1 per cent lower from a year earlier compared to 9 per cent gain in December. Signs of improvement in the United States might lead to better export figures, expert says.

Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Singapore's exports fell for the first time in three months in January on lower electronics and petrochemical shipments, as a result of Europe's debt crisis and the Chinese New Year holiday, which shortened the working month reducing output.

Non-oil domestic exports slid 2.1 per cent from a year earlier, after a 9 per cent gain in December, the trade promotion agency said in a statement today. The median of 15 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 1.6 per cent decline. Shipments to Europe plunged 14.5 per cent.

"It's too early to say if exports have bottomed out as the electronics sector still remains uncertain, given there is still weakness in Europe," said Chow Penn Nee, an economist at United Overseas Bank Ltd. in Singapore. "With the US showing signs of improvement, we may see better numbers in the second half of this year for electronics."

Singapore's gross domestic product shrank less than initially estimated last quarter, a report showed yesterday, suggesting the economy is withstanding Europe's fiscal woes.

The city-state will release its annual budget today. The government is expected to announce measures to address the soaring cost of living and help citizens cope with a slowing economy, as well as push for improvements in productivity.


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