In charts: Singapore’s commerce


Conveniently situated on the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is among the world’s most open economies with the worth of its trade in goods and services equating to greater than 3 times its total financial output.

Worldwide commerce with the “Lion Metropolis” has been sturdy over the previous few years. By container load, the quantity of products that moved by the town’s port in 2018 was second solely to Shanghai. Nevertheless, total commerce started to dip final yr and extra just lately the affect of the coronavirus on the motion of products has taken its toll.

Most merchandise that enters the nation is later “re-exported” to a different vacation spot. This enables firms to benefit from Singapore’s many bilateral and regional commerce agreements that both scale back or eradicate customs duties, making their exports extra competitively priced.

Excluding commerce in oil, about 60 per cent of products go away Singapore in the identical type as once they arrived from abroad; the remainder are manufactured and produced throughout the nation. This proportional break up between home exports and re-exports has been comparatively constant over the previous 4 many years as each grew in tandem.

Chart showing that growth in Singapore's domestic exports keeps pace with re-exports

Singapore has developed notably sturdy worldwide markets for digital items and natural chemical substances. Regardless of the imposition of measures to curb the unfold of the coronavirus, exports for each classes together with pharmaceutical merchandise rose between April and July this yr in contrast with the identical interval in 2019.

But a scarcity of demand for oil and different associated merchandise has been a drag on the general quantity of exports leaving Singapore for the reason that pandemic took maintain.

Chart showing that oil drags down Singapore's exports

The World Financial institution just lately named Singapore as one of many easiest places to do business — helped by comparatively low company and earnings tax charges — whereas a 2019 report by Transparency Worldwide, a non-governmental organisation, discovered that the city-state had one of many least corrupt public sectors. Funding within the nation has improved because of this and demand for Singapore’s providers has picked up.

Column chart of Stock of foreign direct investment ($tn) showing Foreign investment in Singapore has grown consistently for decades

Companies account for nearly one-third of total exports, in contrast with 15.eight per cent a decade and a half in the past. Final yr, Singapore’s total commerce in providers had a price above 100 per cent of the nation’s gross home product.

In the meantime, the worth of merchandise commerce has been falling — dropping from as a lot as 343 per cent of financial output in 2006 to just a little over 200 per cent final yr.

Line chart of Trade as % of GDP showing Singapore's trade in services is increasingly important

Whereas a big a part of the rise in providers has been pushed by extra freight transport being supplied from Singapore, the nation additionally has a rising monetary sector — the fifth most competitive on the planet, in accordance with the worldwide monetary centres index compiled by consultancy Z/Yen.

Further providers in enterprise administration, promoting and market analysis have additionally contributed to export service progress.

Chart showing that Singapore's services exports hit by the pandemic fallout

But exports in providers have taken a success for the reason that pandemic struck. Restrictions stemming from the pandemic have prompted falls in journey and transport-related providers of 86.5 and 23.5 per cent respectively within the second quarter of 2020, in contrast with the identical interval in 2019. Collectively, these providers accounted for nearly 40 per cent of total service exports final yr.