Singapore November factory output below forecast, may temper Q4 GDP
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s industrial production in November rose less than expected from a year earlier, underscoring expectations for a moderation in the city-state’s economic growth in the fourth quarter.
The latest production data reinforces the likelihood that economic growth in the October-December quarter will slow after a stellar third quarter, said Francis Tan, an economist for United Overseas Bank.
“On a year-on-year basis it will pull back from the strong GDP that we saw in the third quarter,” Tan said.
Economists have been flagging the chances of a moderation in fourth-quarter economic growth, partly because of a comparison against a high base recorded late last year.
On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, manufacturing output fell 2.3 percent in November, data from the Economic Development Board showed. The median forecast was an increase of 0.7 percent.
Industrial production was underpinned by electronics output, which increased 27.6 percent from a year earlier, with semiconductor production rising 36.4 percent.
Weakness in pharmaceuticals and marine offshore engineering output tempered the overall rise in industrial production in November, with pharmaceuticals output shrinking 31.1 percent and offshore engineering production sinking 31.9 percent.
The production data came just a week before the release of the government’s advance estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product, which is due on Jan. 2.
In the third quarter, Singapore’s economy grew 5.2 percent from a year earlier, its quickest year-on-year pace in nearly four years, thanks to a boom in manufacturing that some analysts say will encourage tighter monetary policy in 2018.
Separate data on Tuesday showed Singapore’s headline consumer price index rose a slightly faster-than-expected 0.6 percent in November from a year earlier as private road transport costs edged higher.
The central bank’s core inflation gauge increased 1.5 percent from a year earlier, in line with expectations and matching October’s pace.
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Sam Holmes and Gopakumar Warrier)
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