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Economy in Brief

Singapore Exports Lift Trade Surplus
by Carol Stone March 17, 2004

Trade in Singapore remains in comfortable surplus through February as exports continue to grow more rapidly than imports. Growth rates of both are erratic from month to month, but uptrends show the signs of world-wide economic revival following the recession in 2001.

Singapore is widely known as a trading hub in Southeast Asia. And its trade data reflect this status quite clearly. In a distinctive (although not unique) breakdown of its exports, Singapore reports that only some 55% of its exports over the past four years have been produced locally. Of its S$251.1 billion in exports last year, S$112.2 billion represent re-exports, goods imported into the area, possibly graded and/or broken into lots and repackaged and then sent on to a final destination. Much of the Singapore economy is located on its docks.

Among those exports, both domestic and re-exports, is a substantial portion consisting of "machinery and transport equipment". For Singapore, this largely means semiconductors and other electronic components and parts. The value of this line item fell nearly S$19 billion between 2000 and 2001, and through last year (December is latest available), while those exports have recovered markedly, they remained below the 2000 peak.

Seasonally Adj.
Singapore Dollars (except where noted) Year/ Year 2003 2002 2001 2000
Feb 2004 Jan 2004
Trade Balance 2.8 2.4   28.3 15.6 10.3 5.7
Total Exports 24.6 23.2 24.1% 251.1 223.9 218.0 237.8
Domestic Exports 13.6 12.4 22.6% 138.9 119.4 118.4 135.9
Re-Exports 11.1 10.2 26.0% 112.2 104.5 99.6 101.9
Imports 21.8 20.8 19.8% 222.8 208.3 207.7 232.2
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