February 27, 2006

A slump in Singapore's biomedical output at the beginning of 2006 has affected the country's overall output for the manufacturing sector. Biomedical production in January 2006 decreased by 35.8% compared to the previous month, while overall drug manufacturing was down a similar amount year-on-year.

The Singaporean government claims that the results may have been caused by fewer production days in January, due to the Chinese New Year, while industry observers have pointed to the fact that drug manufacturing can often swing sharply as plants shut for cleaning or product changes. Pharmaceuticals account for over 16% of the total value of manufacturing in Singapore.

However, economists expect drug output to rebound strongly in February. The drug industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, amid a surge for demand from US and European markets. This trend is likely to continue in the near future, as domestic firms increasingly form alliances with foreign companies. Government initiatives such as the US$293mn Biopolis research park are also boosting investment in the sector.