ALSO READSingapore December exports jump 9.4 pct y/y, top expectations Singapore exports unexpectedly jump, a turnaround still some way off Singapore's exports slump, Trump raise recession risks Singapore downgrades 2016 GDP, exports forecasts after third-quarter contraction Singapore Non-oil domestic exports increased 2.4% in Sep 2016
By Fathin Ungku
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's February non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew at their fastest pace in five years, fuelled by demand for the city state's tech products and a sharp jump in shipments to China.
The stronger-than-expected data adds to optimism of a manufacturing revival for Asian exporters as concerns over trade protectionism and geopolitical risks rise.
"The strong numbers were being helped by a favourable base effect because of Lunar New Year," said ANZ economist Weiwen Ng. The holiday fell in February last year but was celebrated in January this year.
Singapore's electronics sector was also a factor driving exports, helping the trade-dependent economy avert a recession in the fourth quarter. Integrated circuits made up a bulk of the export growth of the electronics sector.
"The bright spot effectively is still electronic NODX which continued to expand in double digits", Ng said.
Petrochemical exports also jumped 45.3 percent from a year earlier.
However, despite the stellar numbers, Ng said he remains cautiously optimistic in his outlook which is dependent on "ongoing trade recovery in the region and the reflationary fiscal policy under the Trump administration".
February's annual rise was the biggest since February 2012, when exports jumped 32.2 percent, Thomson Reuters data showed. Exports in January rose 8.6 percent, buoyed by strong shipments to China as well as Taiwan and South Korea.
Most analysts now expect Singapore's central bank to keep monetary policy unchanged at its next policy review in April, after exports and factory activity picked up momentum from late last year.
(Additional reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)