March 23, 2018 / 10:50 AM / a year ago

Singapore February industrial output growth seen slowing to 5.1 percent year-on-year

FILE PHOTO: Employees are seen by their workstations at a printed circuit board assembly factory in Singapore June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore’s industrial production likely expanded at a significantly slower annual pace in February than the previous month, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, reflecting the timing of Lunar New Year holidays this year.

A Reuters poll of 10 analysts forecast manufacturing output in February to be up 5.1 percent from a year earlier, decelerating from January’s 17.9 percent growth.

Industrial production in February is seen down 8.4 percent from January on a seasonally adjusted basis after growing 6.7 percent in the year’s first month.

A key factor behind a February slowing is the effect of the Lunar New Year holidays, which took place in February this year, resulting in fewer business days that month than one year earlier. In 2017, the holidays began in late January.

“Production activities likely moderated due to the Chinese New Year celebration and the shorter month,” said Maybank Kim Eng Securities economist Lee Ju Ye said.

“PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) numbers for February are also showing signs of moderating,” Lee added.

In early March, the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed factory activity growth slowed in February, as the pace of expansion for electronics slipped.

Singapore, along with other trade-reliant economies in Asia, enjoyed a boost in 2017 from strong global demand, particularly for electronics products and components such as semiconductors. But analysts believe the sector’s growth will moderate this year.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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