Singapore exports falls again as trade surplus widens

on Mar 17, 2023
  • Singapore’s exports continued falling amid rising recession concerns.
  • NORX crashed by 15.6% in February after falling by 25% in the previous month.
  • The Singapore dollar has been one of the best-performing currencies.

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Singapore’s trade surplus continued widening even as non-oil exports dropped by double-digits again. Imports jumped moderately in February after tumbling by double digits in the previous month. The USD/SGD exchange rate drifted downwards slightly after the trade report came out.

Singapore exports falling

Data compiled by Enterprise Singapore showed that exports dropped by 15.6% in February after they dropped by a whopping 25% in the previous month. This decline happened across all key exports and to all top ten markets. 

Exports to the European Union, Hong Kong, and Taiwan had the biggest impact on the decline. Most importantly, exports have been on a downward trend after they peaked in November 2021. However, they remain slightly above the 3-month moving average on a YoY basis.

In all, Singapore’s NODX came in at S$13.3 billion in February compared to the S$17.5 billion that the country exported in the same period in 2022. It was also lower than what the country exported in the past few months.

In the same period, non-oil retained imports (NORI) dropped by S$0.8 billion from S$4.7billion to S$3.9 billion. In contrast, Singapore’s imports were about S$6.6 billion in the same month in 2022. These imports have been falling continuously after they peaked at over S$8 billion in August last year.

Impact on the USD/SGD

Singapore’s economy has been moderating in the past few months as demand from China remains relatively low. Still, the Singapore dollar has been one of the top-performing emerging market currencies. 

The USD/SGD price was trading at 1.3421 on Friday, which is ~7.47% below the highest point in 2022. While the pair has risen by 2.85% from its lowest point this year, the Singapore dollar is one of the shining currencies in both the emerging and developed markets. 

The stronger Singapore dollar has an impact on exports. In most periods, export-dependent countries prefer a weaker currency, which makes their items cheaper abroad.

This performance is mostly because Singapore is seen as a major alternative to Hong Kong, a city that has moved closer to Beijing.