UPDATE 1-Singapore July exports dip, but forward indicators look positive
* July non-oil exports fell s/adj 1.1 pct m/m, -0.7 pct y/y
* Non-oil retained imports of intermediate goods rose m/m
* Total trade rose 5.8 pct y/y
By Kevin Lim and Saeed Azhar
SINGAPORE, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Singapore's non-oil domestic exports fell slightly in July, roughly in line with expectations, but some indicators continued to point to a recovery in the city-state's manufacturing sector.
The wealthy Southeast Asian city-state said shipments from locally-based manufacturers excluding oil products fell 0.7 percent month-on-month in July after seasonal adjustments, reversing from June's 3.3 percent gain.
But non-oil retained imports (NORI) of intermediate goods -- a leading indicator of future exports -- rose to S$5.2 billion ($4.08 billion) in July 2013 from S$5.0 billion in the previous month after seasonal adjustments.
Singapore's total trade rose by 5.8 percent in July 2013, turning around from the 6.2 percent decrease in the previous month, trade agency International Enterprises Singapore said in a statement on Monday.
IE Singapore said earlier this week it expects exports to pick up modestly in coming months in tandem with the projected gradual recovery in global demand.
"The improvement in NORI bodes well in the medium- to longer-term for the productive capacity of the economy. In terms of total trade, the growth is part of the regional trend," said CIMB regional economist Song Seng Wun.
"All in all, it was a decent set of numbers reflecting a modest recovery on the tech side, plus a lift from shipyards and chemical facilities," he added.
Singapore on Monday raised its 2013 growth forecast to 2.5 to 3.5 percent from an earlier 1-3 percent, citing a recovery in manufacturing and strength in services. The economy grew by 2 percent in the first half of 2013.
Domestic exports of electronics fell 7.6 percent in July from a year ago, hurt by sharp drops in the shipments of disk media products and personal computer parts. But the value of domestic electronics exports rose to S$4.86 billion in July from S$4.47 billion in June, according to the IE Singapore data.
Singapore does not provide seasonally adjusted month-on-month percentage changes for exports by product category.
Domestic exports of pharmaceuticals, which tends to be very volatile from month-to-month, fell 32 percent in July from a year ago but this was partly offset by a 21.8 percent rise in petrochemicals.
Exports of ship structures, which includes oil rig parts, another volatile component, rose 3,579 percent from a year ago, IE Singapore said.
Overall, Singapore's non-oil domestic exports declined 0.7 percent from a year ago, slower than June's year-on-year fall of 8.9 percent.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected non-oil domestic exports to grow by a median 0.4 percent month-on-month but fall 3.2 percent from a year ago.
Singapore exports most of what it produces and the manufacturing sector accounts for about 20 percent of the city-state's gross domestic product.
According to Monday's second quarter GDP data, Singapore's manufacturing sector grew by just 0.2 percent year-on-year. But services including trade and transport and storage grew strongly, indicating the city-state was benefitting from the growth in regional trade.
For the whole of 2013, non-oil domestic exports will likely grow by between zero and one percent, lower than an earlier forecast of a 2-4 percent expansion, IE Singapore said. ($1 = 1.2744 Singapore dollars) (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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