Figures released by the Economic Development Board showed Singapore’s industrial production being contracted at a slower pace in March, with manufacturing output falling 4.1 per cent on-year, down from the re-stated 16.3 per cent contraction in February.

Industrial production jumped 6.2 per cent in March on a month-on-month basis, compared to the re-stated 0.6 per cent contraction in the previous month.

Economists’ polls had earlier expected March’s industrial production output to decline 3 per cent on-year and climb 8.1 per cent on-month. These production figures were mainly propelled by growth in the biomedical manufacturing cluster which climed 16.2 per cent on-year in March.

Within the biomedical sector, pharmaceuticals production grew 15.8 per cent while medical technology manufacturing increased 18.2 per cent when compared against the previous year.

More upside is expected in the pharmaceuticals segment in the months to come, especially if the H7N9 bird flu continues spreading outside China and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, electronics manufacturing improved in March, falling by 7.2 per cent on-year in comparison with the 19.7 per cent contraction in the previous month.

According to Joey Chew, assistant vice-president for research at Barclays, electronics has bottomed out but the pace of recovery will be slow. “Given how much it has fallen — over 20 per cent last year — and also a lot of the decline reflecting permanent loss in production capacity due to restructuring in the industry, we may not be able to capture all the lost production back.”

Total industrial output in the first three months of 2013 contracted 6.8 per cent on-year, lower than the 6.5 per cent contraction in manufacturing put out in the government’s Q1 GDP estimates.

Economists believe this is unlikely to be enough to boost the Q1 GDP but other sectors could weigh in.

According to advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore’s economy contracted by 0.6 per cent on-year in the first quarter of the year. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, singapore’s GDP shrank by 1.4 per cent in the first three months of 2013, however it is expected to grow by between 1 and 3 per cent for the full-year.

According to advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore’s economy contracted by 0.6 per cent on-year in the first quarter of 2013.