Singaporean retail sales dropped for the third straight month in April. On a year-on-year basis, retail sales fell 1.8 percent, while it rose 0.5 percent on a sequential basis. On a year-on-year basis, declines were recorded in every industry except the wearing apparel and footwear segment, which recorded a rise of 3.4 percent. Sales of motor vehicles dropped 1.1 percent year-on-year. Excluding auto sales, retail trade dropped 2 percent year-on-year.
The biggest retail sales fall was seen in the electronics sector, which saw a contraction of 6.7 percent. The poor showing by electronics had not just been limited to local retail sales. Domestic exports of electronics have also been sluggish, having shrunk 17 percent YTD on a year-on-year basis.
“Given external headwinds from an uncertain macroeconomic environment – especially with Sino-US tensions now more aggravated – we expect the local retail sales picture to remain bleak in the near-term as consumers tighten their purse strings. We now forecast that full-year retail sales may shrink -0.5%, with YTD retail sales already having declined -1.1% YoY. Electronics sales is expected to remain lacklustre, in-line with the global cyclical downturn in demand for smartphones and PCs”, commented Howie Lee, Economist, OCBC Bank.