NODX growth amidst the pandemic is misleading

Year: 2020

Despite the seemingly optimistic outlook from NODX growth in June, FMG CEO Devadas notes that the road ahead is not yet clear:

“Although the newspaper headlines try to put ‘lipstick on a pig’, the simple fact is both total exports and imports have declined year on year and both are in a contractionary trend despite month on month rises.

Secondly, these rises are off a very low base so it does not take much absolute volume to give what seem to be sizable percentage shifts. Third, the composition of drives for ‘growth’ in NODEX is significantly a mix of gold and pharmaceuticals.

The former represents merely exchange trade with no employment or positive spillover economic effects.

The latter should be unsurprising given the COVID situation but given Singapore’s high operating costs and that we focused on high-end niches, the total sectoral contribution to GDP is not large but there is potential for rapid expansion if we pioneer a rapid testing kit and a vaccine or secure licenses to do so.

All other sectors, with the cyclical exception of electronics, are down and continuing to go down.”