No Singapore export turnaround story yet: OCBC

The SGD weakened vs the USD after the release of data showing Singapore’s NODX for January rose 0.5% on-year vs expectations for a 2.6% rise.

“It’s not a good sign that January month was down, and you had downward revisions to the previous month,” says Selena Ling, head of treasury research at OCBC, noting the Lunar New Year slowdown occurred in January last year. “It looks like we’re off to a sort of sluggish start to the first quarter of the year. It looks like manufacturing and exports aren’t going to be a big turnaround story yet.”

Electronics exports were down 5.6% on-year after December’s 19.1% plunge.

“We thought that we would see a rebound in January and that didn’t materialize. We are still looking for stabilization with a pick up in the second half of the year. It’s predicated on a global recovery story that will materialize this year,” she says.

While pharmaceutical exports fell 22.9% after December’s 11.5% slide, Ling notes the segment tends to be choppy and she’ll be watching for its performance over several months. The USD/SGD is at 1.2396 vs 1.2352 late Friday in Singapore trade.