SINGAPORE – Singapore’s key exports defied supply chain disruptions and continued challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic to rack up their biggest increase in almost 10 years last month.

Non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) surged 24.2 per cent year on year, extending the revised 17.8 per cent increase in October and growing for the 12th straight month, according to data released by government agency Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Friday (Dec 17).

November’s growth was the biggest year-on-year rise in Nodx since February 2012 when shipments jumped 30.3 per cent. 

It also blew past economists’ median forecast of 15.3 per cent growth, according to a Bloomberg poll.

Electronics shipments expanded 29.2 per cent in November, against 14.9 per cent in October, thanks to growth in segments such as personal computers, integrated circuits and disk media products.

Meanwhile, non-electronics exports rose 22.7 per cent year on year, following the 18.8 per cent increase in October. This was largely due to specialised machinery, petrochemicals and primary chemicals.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, Nodx edged up 1.1 per cent in November, extending the 4.1 per cent growth in October, to hit $16.5 billion.

Last month, ESG upgraded its forecast for Nodx growth to between 9.5 per cent and 10 per cent year-on-year in 2021, from the previous 7 per cent to 8 per cent projection.

This would mark the fastest pace of growth since 2010, when exports expanded by 22.8 per cent.

Total merchandise trade growth for the year is tipped to come between 17 per cent and 17.5 per cent for 2021.

Nodx to the top markets rose overall in November, even as exports to Thailand declined. China, Taiwan and South Korea were the largest contributors to the rise.

At the same time, exports to emerging markets grew 54.2 per cent in November, continuing the 42 per cent surge in October, supported by demand from the likes of South Asia and Latin America.

Total trade expanded 31.6 per cent in November, following October’s 24 per cent growth. Total exports increased 31.3 per cent, while total imports grew 31.9 per cent.

Trade growth in November reflected the increase in both oil and electronics trade, ESG said, noting that oil trade expanded 120 per cent in November, reversing a 42 per cent decline seen the same month a year ago.