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Business Times (Singapore)

Singapore Exports To Puerto Rico Surging

By Teh Hooi Ling

January 20, 2003
Copyright © 2003
Singapore Press Holdings Limited. All rights reserved. 

AFTER China, Puerto Rico is the second largest contributor of growth to Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX).

In contrast, traditional markets like the European Union, Japan, Malaysia, the US and Korea have registered negative growth.

Singapore's exports to the self-governing territory of the United States surged to $1.2 billion in 2002, from just $22 million a year ago. It contributed 1.2 per cent to Singapore's NODX growth last year.

China was the biggest growth contributor with 1.8 per cent. Singapore exported $6.2 billion worth of goods to the Middle Kingdom, up 40 per cent from 2001's $4.5 billion.

The export surge to Puerto Rico was due to major pharmaceutical companies with operations in Singapore exporting ingredients to plants there. These plants then process them into final products.

Pharmaceutical giants such as GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer operate plants in hubs like Puerto Rico, Ireland and Singapore.

Besides pharmaceutical exports, which shot up by 54 per cent in the second half of 2002, the petrochemical industry also grew a robust 43 per cent during the same period.

With new products expected to come on stream, chemical exports are likely to continue their healthy expansion in 2003, said International Enterprise (IE) Singapore.

Meanwhile, the EU and Japanese economies are expected to remain weak in 2003. The EU, currently accounting for 16 per cent of Singapore's NODX, is likely to post only marginal growth of around 2 per cent in 2003, a consensus reached by the three forecasts from the OECD, the IMF and the Asia Pacific Consensus Forecast.

Likewise, Japan, which accounts for 9 per cent of NODX, is expected to achieve about one per cent growth, remaining relatively feeble, said IE Singapore.

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