RTTNews - The contraction in Singapore's manufacturing output slowed considerably in April, owing to growth in the biomedical manufacturing output, an official report showed Tuesday.

Data released by the country's Economic Development Board revealed that the manufacturing output shrank 0.5% year-on-year in April, far better than a revised 32.8% drop in March. Economists were expecting a fall of 21%.

During the month, the biomedical manufacturing output, which accounts for about 22% of total output, grew 68.4% on an annual basis, recovering from a 52.3% drop in the preceding month. The biomedical output growth was helped by a 77.9% rise in pharmaceuticals output. Moreover, the transport-engineering sector showed a growth of 14.8% in April compared to a 0.4% increase in March.

At the same time, the output of electronics, chemicals, precision engineering and general manufacturing contracted at a slower pace in April. The electronic output shrunk 24.2% in April compared to a 34.4% fall in March. The chemicals output dropped 21.6% in April compared to a 22.4% slump in the preceding month.

Precision engineering was down 25.7% compared to a 27.7% drop, while general manufacturing fell 10.2%, slower than a 10.6% decline in the preceding month.

Month-on-month, the manufacturing output grew a seasonally adjusted 24.7% in April, faring better than economists' expectations of a 6.3% growth and reversing a revised 15.1% drop in March.

In the meantime, there were signs of deflation in the Singapore economy. The consumer price index released yesterday revealed that the index dropped 0.7% year-on-year in April, reversing a 1.6% rise in March. This is the first time consumer prices have declined since June 2005. On a monthly basis, consumer prices dropped 1.1% in April compared to a 0.4% fall in March.

Further, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in its latest report lowered the growth forecast for the economy for the current year, as there were still no decisive indicators of economic recovery. The ministry said the economy could now shrink between 6% and 9% in the current year, following its earlier estimate of a 2% to 5% contraction in January.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com