* May NODX -6.6 pct y/y vs +0.9 pct f'cast in Reuters poll
* May NODX -7.5 pct m/m vs +0.5 pct poll forecast
* US, Europe exports fall; electronics, pharmaceuticals hurt
(Adds details, market, analysts)
By Jongwoo Cheon
SINGAPORE, June 17 Singapore's exports
unexpectedly fell in May on weak shipments of electronics and
pharmaceuticals to its key markets, data showed on Tuesday,
indicating the city-state may not be benefiting yet from a
recovery in developed economies.
Non-oil domestic exports fell a seasonally adjusted 7.5
percent in May from April, trade agency International Enterprise
Singapore said, well below a forecast of 0.5 percent growth.
From a year earlier, non-oil exports in May slid 6.6
percent, compared with growth of 0.9 percent forecast in a
Many economists had predicted at the start of the year that
a recovery in the United States and European economies would
boost Singapore's exports, but signs of that filtering through
have yet to fully materialise.
Electronics is a key driver of Singapore's exports but it is
not as well positioned in the electronics supply chain to gain
from growth in smartphones and other recreational tech products.
"It will fail to benefit fully from the expected recovery in
developed markets," said Frances Cheung, head of Asian rates
strategy at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, pointing to
potential weaknesses in the electronics sector.
Its electronics manufacturers have struggled to tap surging
demand for smartphones, unlike rivals in South Korea and Taiwan.
"Pricing through a slightly weaker Singapore dollar can
help, but the product mix, which relies much on PCs, ICs and
parts could be a more important issue," Cheung said, referring
to personal computers and integrated circuits.
Non-oil domestic exports to the United States fell 8.8
percent in May from a year earlier, compared with 11.7 percent
growth in April.
Shipments to the European Union declined an annual 22.6
percent last month, more than double April's fall of 10.9
percent. In March, exports to Europe slipped 27.8 percent.
Exports to China grew 7.2 percent last month, but the
expansion was less than a third of April's 22.6 percent.
The disappointing export figures came even as major
economies, especially the United States, showed signs of a
recovery. The European economy is also poised to find support
from monetary policy easing by the European Central Bank.
After the data, the Singapore dollar lost 0.2
percent to 1.2526 per U.S. dollar, its weakest since June 6.
Exports of electronics and pharmaceuticals contributed to
the overall weakness in May.
Electronics shipments in May fell 15.3 percent from a year
earlier after suffering an 8.7 percent fall in April and a 16.1
percent loss in March.
"Electronics was more of a disruption story - the number of
public holidays in May, particularly in Korea and Taiwan, caused
disruptions to the regional supply chains," said Wai Ho Leong,
senior regional economist at Barclays in Singapore.
"So I don't think the fall is anything particularly
sinister, but it was more pronounced than we had expected."
Domestic exports of pharmaceuticals, which tend to be very
volatile from month-to-month, lost 26.3 percent from a year
Economists slightly cut their forecasts for 2014 non-oil
domestic exports growth to 4.1 percent from 4.2 percent, the
latest central bank survey showed.
(Additional reporting by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by