SINGAPORE: Factory production in Singapore rebounded in December, jumping 6.6% from November and 19% from a year earlier – nearly double the gain expected in financial markets, official data showed yesterday.
The biomedical sciences and electronics sectors contributed the most to December production, the government said, adding to other signs of a resurgence in the city-state’s economy in the final weeks of 2002.
Financial markets had expected factory output to rise 8.4% from a year earlier, according to a Reuters poll of economists last week. But the forecasts had been wide, ranging from growth of 2.5% to 15.6%.
Manufacturing, which makes up about a fourth of Singapore’s US$87bil economy, had been a big contributor to last year’s deep economic downturn and a major source of job losses.
But the surprising strength in the hard-hit sector in December could cause some economists to revise up forecasts for gross domestic product for the first half of this year, although Middle East tensions have been cited as a key factor that could carve deep into Singapore’s stalwart electronics exports. – Reuters
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