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Singapore’s domestic non-oil exports showed robust growth in October, signaling an optimistic outlook for economic growth in the fourth quarter as the city-state opens after abandoning a zero coronavirus strategy.

Exports rose 4.2% in October month-on-month, a faster pace than the 1% increase in the previous month in what analysts described as strengthening momentum.

Year-on-year, total trade rose 24% in October, extending the 18.6% growth from the previous month, according to the country’s Statistics Department.

Total October exports rose 22.7% year-on-year, following the 18.6% growth in the previous month, while total imports rose 25.6% after increasing 18.7% in September.

Gantry cranes at Tanjong Pagar terminal in Singapore © Ore Huiying / Bloomberg

Trade picked up across the board with petrochemicals, non-domestic exports and re-exports expanding on the month, the data showed. “Momentum… Strengthened as nominal exports rose sharply,” said Priyanka Kishore, head of India and Southeast Asia economics at Oxford Economics in Singapore.

Singapore last month eased one of the world’s strictest pandemic regimes, launching quarantine-free travel arrangements with 10 countries after nearly 21 months of border closures. People vaccinated will be able to travel freely to and from eight countries, including the UK, US, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada.

However, analysts said Singapore’s borders remain relatively closed. “We expect service imports to outpace services exports in the near term, as domestic restrictions remain tighter than overseas, especially in the United States and Europe, which may lead to more outgoing tourists, ”Kishore said.

October’s export growth benefited from the weak base recorded in 2020 while also benefiting from petrochemical shipments. “Given the start-stop nature of the global recovery, year-over-year changes remain volatile and subject to further fluctuations in the coming months,” said Nicholas Mapa, economist at ING in Manila .


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