Petrochemical exports from Singapore rise in January

Petrochemical exports from Singapore increased in January leading to an unexpected rise in exports for the first time in three months as shipments of petrochemicals helped offset declining orders for electronics and pharmaceuticals. This news follows last week's decision by the Singapore government to reduce its forecast for growth this year. The Singapore economy risks falling into a recession, as a slowdown in the US wears down demand. An expected slowdown in the US may prompt companies to postpone planned investment in technology. US information-technology buyers may spend less than projected this year, reducing worldwide demand for computers, software and services. The manufacturing industry had its smallest increase in four and a half in the last quarter of 2007 as output from drug manufacturers fell and electronics exporters faced their worst slump since 2002. Non-electronic shipments, which include petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, rose 6.2% from a year earlier. Petrochemical exports climbed 7.3% in the same period. In January, sales to European Union, Singapore's largest overseas market, dipped by 15.7%. Shipments to the US (the second largest market) fell 4.4%, while exports to China rose 10.1% in January.
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