Singapore’s Economy: Is a Neutral Trade Balance a Good Thing?

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We begin this economic overview by discussing Singapore’s GDP standing in the world economy, and the country’s trade balance as a result of total export and import volumes.

Read on to find out about how some of Singapore’s most traded commodities position in the global market.

We also cover which countries they supply, and how Singapore’s export totals changed over the years.

Overview Of Singapore’s Economy

Singapore is often described as one of Asia’s economic tigers and is additionally renowned for its conservatism and strict local laws.

singapore map
Image by Seloloving, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is also currently ranked as the 17th largest export economy in the world.

The country has annual product exports of $323 billion and imports of $323 billion, giving it a neutral trade balance.

The GDP of Singapore is $364 billion and its GDP per capita is $64,582.

Export values have risen steadily in the last thirty years and Singapore has seen a rise in the last five years from $250 billion to $315 billion per year during that period.

Singapore’s Top Commodity Exports

The most top five exported commodities from Singapore are:

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Oil & Mineral Fuels$54.02 billion
Iron & Steel$1.8 billion
Copper$1.1 billion
Tobacco$1.1 billion
Wood Pulp$922 million

Singapore’s Other Notable Exports

  1. Electrical machinery – $128.7 billion
  2. Industrial machinery – $58.7 billion
  3. Precision instruments – $19.2 billion
  4. Organic chemicals – $16.8 billion
  5. Plastics – $15.9 billion

Leading export destinations of Singapore are China ($44.3 billion), Hong Kong ($41.5 billion), Malaysia ($32.3 billion), Indonesia ($24.8 billion), and the United States ($24.6 billion).

Singapore’s Top Commodity Imports

Here are Singapore’s five most imported raw commodities:

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Oil & Mineral Fuels$87.8 billion
Precious Stones & Metals$20.3 billion
Iron & Steel$2.9 billion
Aluminum$1.2 billion
Copper$973 million

Singapore’s Other Notable Imports

  1. Aircraft – $11.7 billion
  2. Organic Chemicals – $6.9 billion
  3. Motor Vehicles & Parts – $5.4 billion
  4. Cosmetics – $4.4 billion
  5. Pharmaceuticals – $2.9 billion

Singapore’s top import countries of origin are China (14.6%), Malaysia (11.4%), the US (8.93%), Chinese Taipei (6.81%), and Japan (5.52%).

More Information on Singapore’s Imports/Exports

Here are a few summaries on Singapore’s popular commodities and how they fare in a competitive global economy.

Refined Petroleum

Exports of refined petroleum account for 16.2% of Singapore’s total annual exports and the country ranks as the third-largest exporter in the world with a 6.96% share of a global market worth $753 billion each year.

Singapore’s total refined petroleum exports total at $52.4 billion.

Aside from Australia’s $6.24 billion (11.9%), the other four of the top five exporters are all Asian countries, receiving 53.58% of Singapore’s total exports refined petroleum exports between them.

These are Indonesia ($11bn), Malaysia ($10.5bn), China ($3.44bn), and Hong Kong ($3.14bn).

Gold

Gold exports account for 3.14% of Singapore’s yearly exports and the majority of their shipments are headed for Cambodia, who takes 38.2%, followed by China (22.6%).

Singapore accounts for 3.32% of all gold exports in the world — a $305 billion-per-year global market.

Diamonds

The global export market for diamonds is worth $116 billion annually, of which Singapore has a 0.87% market share at $1.01 billion in yearly exports.

Singapore’s total value of diamond exports grew by 10.2% in the past five years.

Raw Tin

Worldwide shipments of raw tin total $4.87 billion each year and Singapore ranks as the seventh-largest exporter with a 3.58% market share ($175m), a significant decrease from a 6.03% share two years ago.

The global market leaders in tin exports are Indonesia (37.5%), Malaysia (10.7%), Bolivia (7.98%), and Peru (7.72%).

India is the leading destination for Singapore’s raw tin, receiving 20.8%. The Netherlands is second with 13.5%.

A Few Interesting Facts About Singapore

  • If you want to read the country’s national anthem you will find it written in micro-text on the back of their $1,000 note.
  • Singapore is one of only three current city-states in the world, Monaco and Vatican City being the other two.
  • Despite the size of its economy, Singapore is in the top 20 smallest countries in the world and is 15,000 times smaller than the United States.
  • Planners restrict the size of buildings in Singapore to a maximum height of 280 meters.

All figures based on 2018 OEC and GlobalEdge.msu.edu trade data unless stated otherwise.

Where Can I Trade Commodities?

You can start your research of Singapore’s most traded commodities by exploring these regulated brokers available in .

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