RTTNews - Industrial output in Singapore climbed in July, mainly due to a surge in biomedical output and a slower pace of decline in the electronics output, an official report showed Wednesday.

The Economic Development Board of Singapore said industrial output grew 12.4% year-on-year in July, reversing a revised 9% fall in the preceding month. Economists expected a 1% decline in output.

The yearly growth was largely attributed to an increase in biomedical manufacturing output. With the second largest share in overall industrial output, the biomedical manufacturing output surged 125.4% in July, mainly due to the strong performance in the pharmaceutical segment. Pharmaceutical output soared 139.2%, while output in the medical technology segment rose 14.2%.

At the same time, electronics output having the largest share in the total, dropped 5.6% in July, much slower than a 19.2% fall in the preceding month. Declines in output continued in other industries including chemicals, precision and transport engineering, although at a slower pace. However, output contracted at a faster pace in general manufacturing.

On a monthly basis, industrial output was up a seasonally adjusted 23% in July, in contrast to a revised 9% fall seen in the previous month and came in above economists' expectations for a 7.1% rise. In the first seven months of the year, the industrial output dropped 10.3% compared to the same period in the previous year.

The Singapore economy has shown improved performance in recent months, signaling that a complete recovery may be in sight. An official report showed that the gross domestic product climbed a seasonally adjusted 20.7% sequentially in the second quarter, reversing a 12.2% contraction in the first quarter. The government expects the economy to shrink between 4% and 6% this year.

The country's key exports fell at a slower pace in the second quarter. The non-oil domestic exports dropped 14% year-over-year in the second quarter, after falling 26% in the first quarter. Sequentially, the NODX climbed a seasonally adjusted 7.6%.

Moreover, the jobless rate for the same period remained unchanged from the first quarter at 3.3%, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Meanwhile, consumer prices declined for the fourth consecutive month in July. Consumer prices were down 0.5% year-on-year in July, marking the same pace of decline as in the previous month.

Elsewhere, the Asian Development Bank said in a report today that the Asian economies' return to rapid regional growth would require stronger domestic demand, which in part would depend on the development and growth of the region's business sector, especially the performance of the small and medium scale enterprises.

The report said due to the weak outlook for major economies, Asian economies cannot rely on exports to pull them out of the slump.

Consequently, some economies need to accelerate the rebalancing process to increase domestic demand, and to assist that process they need to take steps to unleash the constraints to growth on SMEs, which so many Asians rely on for their livelihoods, the ADB added.

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