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$411.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 0.5% increase since 2014 and a 10.3% gain from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, almost three-quarters (73%) of Singaporean exports by value are delivered to fellow Asian countries while another 10% is sold to European importers. Singapore ships 8.2% worth of products to North American clients. Smaller percentages go to importers in Oceania (4.9%) led by Australia, Latin America (2.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Africa (1.4%).

Given Singapore’s population of 6 million people, its total $411.7 billion in 2018 exports translates to a formidable $69,000 for every resident in that country. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports from the busy Asian economic hub. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

Singapore’s unemployment rate was 2.2% as of December 2018, 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 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Singapore.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$128.7 billion (31.3% of total exports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $58.7 billion (14.3%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $54 billion (13.1%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $19.2 billion (4.7%)
  5. Gems, precious metals: $17 billion (4.1%)
  6. Organic chemicals: $16.9 billion (4.1%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $15.9 billion (3.9%)
  8. Perfumes, cosmetics: $8.4 billion (2%)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: $8.4 billion (2%)
  10. Aircraft, spacecraft: $7.4 billion (1.8%)

Singapore’s top 10 exports represent 81.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Pharmaceuticals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 41.7% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving export sales was the perfumes and cosmetics category which appreciated by 28.6%.

Singapore’s mineral fuels-related goods posted the third-fastest gain in value, up 13% year over year propelled by expanding international sales of refined petroleum oils.

Gems and precious was the only declining top category from 2017 to 2018 via its -0.4% slowdown.

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.

Advantages

Overall, Singapore posted a $41.3 billion trade surplus in 2018. Singapore’s trade surplus shrank -9.4% from $45.5 billion in black ink one year earlier.

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$27.1 billion (Down by -12.5% since 2017)
  2. Organic chemicals: $10 billion (Up by 6.6%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: $7.2 billion (Up by 4.2%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $7.1 billion (Up by 12.5%)
  5. Machinery including computers: $5.7 billion (Down by -21.4%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $5.4 billion (Up by 59.6%)
  7. Miscellaneous food preparations: $4.1 billion (Up by 301.8%)
  8. Perfumes, cosmetics: $3.9 billion (Up by 36.3%)
  9. Other chemical goods: $1.2 billion (Up by 46.4%)
  10. Cereal/milk preparations: $1.1 billion (Up by 6%)

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-$33.8 billion (Up by 37.7% since 2017)
  2. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$4.4 billion (Up by 215.9%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: -$3.4 billion (Up by 11.1%)
  4. Vehicles: -$1.7 billion (Up by 9%)
  5. Iron, steel: -$1.1 billion (Up by 31.6%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: -$970.8 million (Up by 18.6%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$959.7 million (Up by 15.5%)
  8. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$827.7 million (Up by 19%)
  9. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$819.3 million (Down by -13.2%)
  10. Meat: -$782 million (Up by 2.9%)

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

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 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankSingapore's Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Integrated circuits/microassemblies$82.8 billion+3.5%
2Processed petroleum oils$52 billion+13.7%
3Turbo-jets$11.9 billion+82.9%
4Gold (unwrought)$11.1 billion-3.7%
5Phone system devices including smartphones$10.8 billion+12.3%
6Machinery for making semi-conductors$8.8 billion-3.3%
7Computers, optical readers$8.8 billion-3.6%
8Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$7.5 billion-8.6%
9Aircraft parts$6.6 billion+3.1%
10Ethylene polymers$6.2 billion+8.2%
11Unrecorded sound media$5.4 billion+1.2%
12Printing machinery$5.3 billion-1.9%
13Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$5.2 billion+35.6%
14Medication mixes in dosage$4.9 billion+23.6%
15Other food preparations$4.8 billion+214.4%
16Computer parts, accessories$4 billion-13.5%
17Physical/chemical analysis tools$3.9 billion+18.3%
18Amino-compounds (oxygen)$3.7 billion+6.7%
19Cyclic hydrocarbons$3.4 billion+7.1%
20Propylene/olefin polymers$3.3 billion+7.8%
21Electrical machinery$2.9 billion-24.2%
22Lower-voltage switches, fuses$2.9 billion+23.6%
23Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$2.9 billion-2.2%
24Jewelry$2.4 billion+5.2%
25Machinery parts$2.3 billion-15.7%
26Miscellaneous machinery$2.3 billion+7.2%
27Blood fractions (including antisera)$2.3 billion+112.5%
28Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$2.2 billion+11.5%
29Orthopedic appliances$2.1 billion+17%
30Other measuring/testing machines$2.1 billion+18.8%
31Automobile parts/accessories$2 billion+4.9%
32Anti-knock/oxidation/gum inhibitors$1.9 billion+4.1%
33Acyclic alcohols$1.9 billion+19.9%
34Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$1.8 billion+14.6%
35Electrical capacitators$1.7 billion+27.9%
36Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$1.6 billion+25%
37Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$1.6 billion+10.8%
38Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$1.5 billion+3.7%
39Electrical converters/power units$1.5 billion+15.1%
40Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$1.5 billion+8.1%
41Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$1.5 billion+20.5%
42Other diagnostic/lab reagents$1.5 billion+8.5%
43Cases, handbags, wallets$1.4 billion+14.4%
44Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.2 billion+19.8%
45Mechano-therapy appliances$1.2 billion+21.5%
46Synthetic rubber$1.2 billion-3.6%
47Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$1.2 billion+67.7%
48Piston engines$1.1 billion+531.5%
49Perfumes, toilet waters$1.1 billion+13%
50Piston engine parts$1.1 billion-2.6%
51Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$1.1 billion+410%
52Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$1.1 billion+1%
53Petroleum oil residues$1.1 billion+27.2%
54Ball, roller bearings$1.1 billion-7.2%
55Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$1 billion-16.3%
56Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$1 billion-1.3%
57Chemicals used in electronics$1 billion+24.5%
58TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$987.3 million+10.3%
59Wrist/pocket watches (precious metal case)$905.7 million+16.4%
60Insulated wire/cable$894.8 million+18.2%
61Saturated acyclic mono acids$879.4 million+25.7%
62Electric storage batteries$873.1 million+18.6%
63Chemical industry products/residuals$857.3 million+15.3%
64Motorcycle parts/accessories$826.4 million+5.9%
65Electric motors, generators$821.4 million+26.9%
66Liquid pumps and elevators$812.8 million+22.3%
67Air or vacuum pumps$809.7 million-12%
68Refrigerators, freezers$794.9 million+21.4%
69Primary batteries/cells$792.3 million+0.3%
70Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$781.6 million+136.6%
71Aircraft, spacecraft$775.6 million+264.3%
72Miscellaneous plastic items$774.8 million+10%
73Acyclic hydrocarbons$738.7 million-13%
74Sulphonamides$728 million+2.9%
75Regulate/control instruments$723.9 million+21%
76Survey/hydro/weather instruments$700.6 million+15.4%
77Iron or steel tubes, pipes$694.2 million+136.7%
78TV/radio/radar device parts$692.4 million-24.7%
79X-ray equipment$689.7 million-3.9%
80Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$652.2 million+5.2%
81Styrene polymers$648.5 million+12.3%
82Uncoated paper for writing/printing$644.1 million-13.4%
83Printed circuits$629.6 million-4.4%
84Sewing machines, related furniture$586.4 million+47.8%
85Acrylic polymers$576.3 million+5.7%
86Refined copper, unwrought alloys$573.8 million-22.6%
87Radar, radio communication items$571.3 million-6.2%
88Precious metal waste, scrap$567.4 million-0.8%
89Lenses, prisms, mirrors$564 million+119.2%
90Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$540.2 million-1.9%
91Cellulose fiber paper$524.5 million+2.7%
92Petroleum gases$518.1 million+11.9%
93Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$510.8 million-11.1%
94Electrical resistors$503.8 million+28.6%
95Liquid/gas checking instruments$503.8 million+5.7%
96Wine $503.3 million+5.8%
97Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$494.9 million+13.5%
98Dried organs, heparin$479 million+43.6%
99Assembling machines for electric lamps$471.5 million+29.8%
100Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$466.4 million+33.7%
101Hormones, miscellaneous steroids$465.7 million-5.6%
102TV receivers/monitors/projectors$460.3 million+4%
103Imitation jewelry$459.4 million+25.8%
104Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$452 million-6.6%
105Phenols/phenol-alcohols$450.2 million+17.5%
106Antibiotics$437.9 million+55.6%
107Microphones/headphones/amps$436.7 million+1.1%
108Lubricants including cutting oils$434.6 million+71.2%
109Print/write/draw inks$432.2 million+11.2%
110Synthetic organic coloring$430.5 million+11.1%
111Other organic cleaning preparations$427.7 million+2.5%
112Miscellaneous heterocyclics$419.4 million+1.5%
113Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$418.1 million+14.6%
114Temperature-change machines$412.8 million+12.1%
115Electric generating sets, converters$411.6 million+18.7%
116Iron or steel scrap$411 million-4.5%
117Unsaturated acyclic mono acids$405.6 million+4.7%
118Interchangeable hand/machine tools$404.8 million+14.9%
119Miscellaneous printed matter$404.7 million-20.8%
120Miscellaneous iron or steel items$402.2 million+21%
121Amino-resins$392.9 million+7.1%
122Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)$372.2 million+10.7%
123Vulcanized rubber items$358.1 million+22.1%
124Unwrought tin$347.2 million-21.4%
125Cars$335.3 million+36.5%
126Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$329.3 million+15.2%
127Medication mixes not in dosage$327.7 million+75.9%
128Miscellaneous engines, motors$324.2 million+12.2%
129Cermet plates, sticks, tips$321.4 million+4%
130Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$320.5 million-19.6%
131Provitamins, vitamins$311.9 million+4.8%
132Material removal machine-tools$301.9 million-2.8%
133Hand-drawn paintings, drawings$289.3 million+63.4%
134Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$289.1 million-55.1%
135High-voltage switches, fuses$282.3 million+25.2%
136Printed books, brochures$281.8 million+8.2%
137Other machine parts, accessories$281.6 million+7.7%
138Air conditioners$279.4 million+4.1%
139Polyamides$275.3 million+20%
140Iron ferroalloys$273.1 million+18.2%
141Auxiliary machines$271.3 million-5.2%
142Ethers$262.2 million-20.9%
143Silver (unwrought)$262.2 million-17.9%
144Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$261.2 million-29.9%
145Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$259.7 million+3.5%
146Navigational aids, compasses$259.3 million+2%
147High-power microscopes$259.1 million+29.3%
148Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$258.1 million-0.5%
149Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$253.3 million+9.3%
150Miscellaneous aluminum items$252.8 million+96%
151Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks$252.6 million+636.8%
152Nickel (unwrought)$246.1 million-5.7%
153Warships, lifeboats$240.1 million+176.7%
154Vinyl acetate polymers$234.9 million+29.4%
155Electric water heaters, hair dryers$233.8 million-0.7%
156Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$233.7 million+7.9%
157Other clock/watch parts$233 million-12.2%
158Base metal mountings, fittings$229.7 million+30.2%
159Made-up clothing accessories, parts$229 million+6.1%
160Personal toilet/shaving preparations, deodorants$226.8 million+9.8%
161Aluminum (unwrought)$226.5 million+15.5%
162Pneumatic hand tool$224.4 million+2.4%
163Connector/insulating parts$221.8 million-6.9%
164Electric motor parts$216.8 million+11.4%
165Prepared adhesives, glues$206 million+8.6%
166Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$200.7 million-9%
167Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$200.4 million+59.3%
168Iron or steel pipe fittings$200.3 million+7.8%
169Synthetic filament yarn$198.2 million+6.1%
170Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$192.5 million+40.1%
171Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$192.3 million+4.8%
172Rubber tires (new)$191.8 million-2.7%
173Chassis fitted with engine$189.4 million+108.6%
174Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$188.2 million+3.2%
175Calculators, accounting/ticket machines, cash registers$186.7 million+13.8%
176Electric ignition/start equipment$186.4 million-3.7%
177Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$183.5 million-7.4%
178Copper plates, sheets, strips$181.6 million-9.9%
179Copper waste, scrap$180.2 million+14.4%
180Epoxides$179.9 million+5%
181Table games, bowling equipment$179.2 million+25.9%
182Moulding boxes/base$177.6 million+12.4%
183Petroleum resins$174.5 million+78.3%
184Lifting/loading machinery$170.1 million-1.9%
185Footwear (textile)$167.3 million+22.2%
186Metal sheeting joints, gaskets$157.6 million+19.3%
187Motorcycles$156.1 million+12.5%
188Engines (diesel)$156 million-15.7%
189Footwear (leather)$154.4 million+4.4%
190Hydrometers, thermometers$152.3 million+39.5%
191Ketones, quinones$152.1 million-7%
192Miscellaneous parts, accessories$151.9 million-28.1%
193Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$151.8 million+7.6%
194Cameras, flash apparatus$148.9 million-23.4%
195Organic surface-active goods, soap$147.7 million-1%
196Sports equipment$147.3 million-2.7%
197Cocoa butter, fat, oil$144.7 million-4.6%
198Other precious metal items$142.3 million+3.8%
199Rubber/plastic article making machines$139.7 million-26.3%
200Uncoated kraft paper$139.5 million-14.2%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$364.2 billion or 88.5% by value for all products exported from Singapore during 2018.

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 March 3, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 3, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 3, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 3, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Singapore. Accessed on March 3, 2019

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 3, 2019

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 3, 2019