Singapore’s Top 10 Exports

Singapore’s Top 10 Exports

by Free Country Flags

An island country and sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia, the Republic of Singapore shipped US$373.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -9% decline since 2013 but a 13.1% gain from 2016 to 2017.

Given Singapore’s population of 5.9 million people, its total $373.3 billion in 2017 exports translates to a formidable $63,000 for every resident in that country. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, three-quarters (75.4%) of Singaporean exports by value are delivered to other Asian countries while 9.5% are sold to European importers. Singapore ships another 7% worth of products to North American clients with 2.2% going to Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean.

Singapore’s unemployment rate was 2.1% as of December 2017, down from 2.2% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Singapore’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Singaporean global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Singapore.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$124.1 billion (33.3% of total exports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $52.4 billion (14.0%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $47.8 billion (12.8%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $17.6 billion (4.7%)
  5. Gems, precious metals: $17.1 billion (4.6%)
  6. Organic chemicals: $15.5 billion (4.2%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $14.6 billion (3.9%)
  8. Aircraft, spacecraft: $6.6 billion (1.8%)
  9. Perfumes, cosmetics: $6.5 billion (1.7%)
  10. Pharmaceuticals: $5.9 billion (1.6%)

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Singapore’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.

Singapore’s top 10 exports represent 82.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Boosted by accelerating international sales of gold, gems and precious metals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 97.6% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was the mineral fuels including oil category which appreciated by 27.6%.

Singapore’s perfumes and cosmetics posted the third-fastest gain in value up 25.8% year over year.

Aircraft and spacecraft was the only declining category from 2016 to 2017 via its -1.4% downtick.

Advantages

Overall, Singapore posted a $45.5 billion trade surplus in 2017 down by -2.8% since 2016.

The following types of Singaporean product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$31 billion (Up by 3.3% since 2016)
  2. Organic chemicals: $9.3 billion (Down by -5.4%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $7.2 billion (Up by 5.7%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: $6.9 billion (Up by 8.3%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $6.3 billion (Up by 38.5%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $3.4 billion (Up by 3.3%)
  7. Perfumes, cosmetics: $2.9 billion (Up by 34.3%)
  8. Miscellaneous food preparations: $1 billion (Up by 4.8%)
  9. Cereal/milk preparations: $1 billion (Up by 8.1%)
  10. Other chemical goods: $820.4 million (Down by -30.8%)

Singapore has highly positive net exports in the international trade of electronics including consumer gadgets. In turn, these cashflows indicate Singapore’s strong competitive advantages under the electrical machinery and equipment category.

Opportunities

Below are exports from Singapore that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Singapore’s goods trail Singaporean importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$24.5 billion (Up by 80.1% since 2016)
  2. Gems, precious metals: -$3 billion (Up by 10%)
  3. Vehicles: -$1.6 billion (Down by -22%)
  4. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$1.4 billion (Reversing an $854.8 million trade surplus)
  5. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$945.4 million (Up by 40.6%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$831.2 million (Up by 0.3%)
  7. Articles of iron or steel: -$824.3 million (Down by -43.3%)
  8. Iron, steel: -$821.9 million (Up by 32.3%)
  9. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$804 million (Up by 128.7%)
  10. Meat: -$759.3 million (Up by 8.3%)

Singapore has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels, particularly crude oil and petroleum gases.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Singapore’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Singapore to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations especially alternative energy sources.

Companies

Singaporean Export Companies

Seventeen corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Singaporean export companies that Forbes included:

  • Wilmar International (food processing)
  • Keppel Corp (industrial conglomerates)
  • Flextronics International (electronics)
  • Avago Technologies (semiconductors)
  • ST Engineering (aerospace )
  • Olam International (food processing)
  • Golden Agri-Resources (food processing)
  • China Aviation Oil (jet fuel trading)

Wikipedia also lists exporters from Singapore. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Singapore Technologies Engineering (electronics manufacturing)
  • Medical Technology (medical/healthcare equipment)
  • Singapore Telecommunications Limited (communications)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of Singaporean export companies:

  • Wajilam Export Singapore (wood, chocolate)
  • Asahi Glass Singapore (glass sheets)
  • Sephora Singapore (copper pipes/tubes, cabinets)
  • Ltt Veneer Singapore (soybean flours, hams)


 

Searchable List of Singapore’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the top Singaporean export products are electronic integrated circuits followed by refined petroleum oils, gold then mobile phones.

The following searchable table displays 200 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Singapore during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankSingaporean Export Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Integrated circuits/microassemblies$80 billion+11.5%
2Processed petroleum oils$45.8 billion+26.7%
3Gold (unwrought)$11.5 billion+11%
4Phone system devices including smartphones $9.6 billion-1.6%
5Computers, optical readers$9.1 billion+0.7%
6Machinery for making semi-conductors$9.1 billion+59.3%
7Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$8.2 billion-8.7%
8Turbo-jets$6.5 billion+9.3%
9Aircraft parts$6.4 billion+0.5%
10Ethylene polymers$5.7 billion+13.6%
11Printing machinery$5.4 billion+9.1%
12Unrecorded sound media$5.4 billion+10.7%
13Computer parts, accessories$4.6 billion+4.7%
14Medication mixes in dosage$3.9 billion+2.2%
15Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$3.8 billion+35.7%
16Electrical machinery$3.8 billion+8.7%
17Amino-compounds (oxygen)$3.4 billion-5.8%
18Physical/chemical analysis tools$3.3 billion+12.8%
19Cyclic hydrocarbons$3.2 billion+51.9%
20Propylene/olefin polymers$3.1 billion+7.9%
21Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$2.9 billion+11.3%
22Machinery parts$2.8 billion-12.6%
23Lower-voltage switches, fuses$2.3 billion+3.2%
24Jewelry$2.2 billion-23.4%
25Miscellaneous machinery$2.2 billion+14%
26Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$2 billion-0.1%
27Automobile parts/accessories$1.9 billion+3.8%
28Anti-knock/oxidation/gum inhibitors$1.9 billion+2.5%
29Orthopedic appliances$1.8 billion+11.2%
30Other measuring/testing machines$1.8 billion+21.2%
31Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$1.6 billion-45.7%
32Acyclic alcohols$1.6 billion+59.4%
33Other food preparations$1.5 billion+3.4%
34Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$1.5 billion-17.4%
35Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$1.4 billion+9.6%
36Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$1.4 billion+8.7%
37Electrical capacitators$1.4 billion+37.3%
38Other diagnostic/lab reagents$1.4 billion+24.6%
39Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$1.3 billion+13.6%
40Electrical converters/power units$1.3 billion+0.7%
41Cases, handbags, wallets$1.3 billion+8.2%
42Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$1.2 billion+21.2%
43Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$1.2 billion+3.8%
44Synthetic rubber$1.2 billion+35.3%
45Ball, roller bearings$1.1 billion+6.2%
46Piston engine parts$1.1 billion+2.4%
47Blood fractions (including antisera)$1.1 billion+19.3%
48Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$1.1 billion-8.6%
49Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$1 billion+24.3%
50Taps, valves, similar appliances$1 billion-13.5%
51Perfumes, toilet waters$986.1 million+18.3%
52Mechano-therapy appliances$976.6 million+21.5%
53Air or vacuum pumps$919.7 million-6.2%
54TV/radio/radar device parts$919.4 million+15.8%
55TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$894.7 million+10.4%
56Acyclic hydrocarbons$849 million+95.3%
57Petroleum oil residues$832.6 million+36.7%
58Chemicals used in electronics$806.6 million+6.5%
59Primary batteries/cells$790.2 million+21.3%
60Motorcycle parts/accessories$780.1 million-2.7%
61Wrist/pocket watches (precious metal case)$778.2 million+0.7%
62Insulated wire/cable$757.1 million+2.6%
63Uncoated paper for writing/printing$744.2 million+64.3%
64Chemical industry products/residuals$743.8 million+0.5%
65Refined copper, unwrought alloys$741.1 million+24.8%
66Electric storage batteries$736.4 million+36.4%
67X-ray equipment$717.5 million+23.3%
68Sulphonamides$707.6 million-38.6%
69Miscellaneous plastic items$704.6 million+24.9%
70Saturated acyclic mono acids$699.7 million-6.4%
71Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$695.4 million+9.7%
72Liquid pumps and elevators$664.6 million+3.9%
73Printed circuits$658.5 million-1%
74Refrigerators, freezers$654.8 million+8.9%
75Electric motors, generators$647.1 million+15.3%
76Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$644.2 million+44.9%
77Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$620 million+8.5%
78Radar, radio communication items$609.3 million+27.2%
79Survey/hydro/weather instruments$607.2 million+32.6%
80Regulate/control instruments$598.2 million+17.2%
81Styrene polymers$577.5 million+19.8%
82Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$574.6 million+16.6%
83Precious metal waste, scrap$572.2 million-31.3%
84Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$550.8 million+19.8%
85Acrylic polymers$545.3 million+15.6%
86Cellulose fiber paper$510.9 million-14.5%
87Miscellaneous printed matter$510.9 million+22.6%
88Hormones, miscellaneous steroids$493.5 million-18.4%
89Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$483.9 million+48.6%
90Liquid/gas checking instruments$476.5 million-15.1%
91Wine $475.6 million+4.6%
92Petroleum gases$463 million+92.2%
93TV receivers/monitors/projectors$442.7 million-14.9%
94Tin (unwrought)$441.8 million-18.9%
95Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$436.2 million+5.5%
96Microphones/headphones/amps$432 million-6%
97Iron or steel scrap$430.5 million+35.3%
98Other organic cleaning preparations$417.1 million+19.3%
99Miscellaneous heterocyclics$413 million-15.8%
100Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$398.5 million+21.4%
101Sewing machines, related furniture$396.8 million-21.7%
102Electrical resistors$391.7 million+28.1%
103Print/write/draw inks$388.7 million+5.2%
104Synthetic organic coloring$387.6 million+21.5%
105Unsaturated acyclic mono acids$387.4 million+31.4%
106Phenols/phenol-alcohols$383 million+52.6%
107Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$372.5 million+46.3%
108Temperature-change machines$368.2 million+1.2%
109Amino-resins$366.8 million+35.6%
110Imitation jewelry$365.1 million+20.1%
111Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$364.8 million-5.6%
112Assembling machines for lamps, tubes, valves$363.3 million+17.3%
113Interchangeable hand/machine tools$352.2 million+9.4%
114Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$348.7 million+13.3%
115Electric generating sets, converters$346.7 million-37%
116Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)$336.1 million+83.9%
117Dried organs, heparin$333.6 million-9.1%
118Miscellaneous iron or steel items$332.3 million-2.6%
119Ethers$331.5 million+9.5%
120Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$330.4 million-20.4%
121Silver (unwrought)$319.1 million+63.8%
122Material removal machine-tools$310.5 million+85%
123Cermet plates, sticks, tips$309.1 million+16.5%
124Provitamins, vitamins$297.6 million-3.2%
125Iron or steel tubes, pipes$293.3 million+2.1%
126Vulcanized rubber items$293.2 million+10.6%
127Miscellaneous engines, motors$288.9 million-8.3%
128Auxiliary machines$286.1 million+15.5%
129Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$286 million+12.8%
130Antibiotics$281.4 million+77.4%
131Air conditioners$268.3 million-16.8%
132Other clock/watch parts$265.5 million-6.8%
133Other machine parts, accessories$261.5 million-0.5%
134Nickel (unwrought)$261 million-9.1%
135Printed books, brochures$260.5 million-10.6%
136Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$259.3 million-2%
137Lenses, prisms, mirrors$257.2 million+27.6%
138Navigational aids including compasses$254.2 million-14.9%
139Lubricant preparations including cutting oil$253.9 million+37.2%
140Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$250.9 million-12.9%
141Cars$245.6 million-12%
142Connector/insulating parts$238.3 million-7.6%
143Electric water heaters, hair dryers$235.5 million+30.6%
144Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$231.8 million+1.1%
145Iron ferroalloys$231 million-1.3%
146Polyamides$229.5 million+5.6%
147High-voltage switches, fuses$225.4 million-5.2%
148Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$220.5 million+48.5%
149Pneumatic hand tool$219.1 million-17.3%
150Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$216.5 million-9.2%
151Made-up clothing accessories, parts$215.8 million+32.6%
152Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$212.9 million-85.8%
153Aircraft, spacecraft$212.9 million-27.6%
154Miscellaneous parts, accessories$211.2 million-29.8%
155Personal toilet/shaving preparations, deodorants$206.6 million+11.1%
156Sculptures, statues$203.4 million+420.4%
157Copper plates, sheets, strips$201.5 million+43.2%
158High-power microscopes$200.3 million-2.5%
159Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$198.1 million+14.6%
160Rubber tires (new)$197.2 million+5.6%
161Aluminum (unwrought)$196 million-32.4%
162Electric motor parts$194.5 million+13.5%
163Cameras, photographic apparatus$194.4 million-30.7%
164Electric ignition/start equipment$193.7 million-25.4%
165Prepared glues, other adhesives$189.7 million+35.2%
166Rubber/plastic article making machines$189.5 million+48.6%
167Synthetic filament yarn$186.7 million-7%
168Medication mixes not in dosage$186.4 million+30.4%
169Iron or steel pipe fittings$185.8 million-16%
170Engines (diesel)$185.1 million+16.2%
171Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$183.4 million+4.2%
172Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$182.3 million+0.8%
173Vinyl acetate polymers$181.5 million+3.8%
174Piston engines$179 million-28.7%
175Derricks, cranes$177.7 million-35.1%
176Hand-drawn paintings, drawings$177 million-44.4%
177Base metal mountings, fittings$176.5 million+5.2%
178Lifting/loading machinery$173.3 million+35%
179Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream$172.7 million+33.7%
180Epoxides$171.4 million+21.4%
181Sound record/reproducing parts, accessories$166.7 million+3.4%
182Calculators, accounting/ticket machines, cash registers$164.1 million-0.6%
183Ketones, quinones$163.7 million+36.2%
184Malt beer$162.7 million-2.2%
185Moulding boxes/base$158 million+11%
186Copper waste, scrap$157.5 million+11.5%
187Cocoa butter, fat, oil$151.7 million-9.5%
188Sports equipment$151.3 million+2.1%
189Soap, organic surface-active products$149.2 million+36.5%
190Footwear (leather)$147.9 million+8.6%
191Miscellaneous preserved fruits$143.3 million+12.9%
192Table games, bowling equipment$142.3 million-16.6%
193Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$141.1 million+0.4%
194Motorcycles$138.8 million-9.2%
195Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$137.4 million-1.1%
196Other precious metal items$137 million+30.5%
197Footwear (textile)$136.9 million+25.8%
198Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings$135.7 million-6.7%
199Miscellaneous furniture$132.2 million-10.8%
200Gaskets, similar metal joints$132 million-19.1%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$332.4 billion or 89.1% by value for all products exported from Singapore during 2017.

See also Singapore’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Singapore’s Top Trading Partners and Singapore’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 12, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 12, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 12, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 12, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Singapore. Accessed on August 12, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 12, 2018

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on August 12, 2018