Singapore flag Singapore: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Singapore

Foreign Trade in Figures

Singapore's trade represented 320.6% of its GDP in 2021 (World Bank, 2022). The country ranks the 15th importers and the 14th exporters of the world (WTO, 2021). Main exports include electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies, electrical machinery and equipment, mineral fuels followed by chemicals, optical and medical equipment, transportation, business services, travel and financial services. Imports, on the other hand, were led by integrated circuits, refined petroleum, electrical machinery/equipment, turbo-jets and turbo-propellers, business services, transportation, travel, royalties and license fees.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting a increase of 4.8% in the volume of exports of goods and services of the country in 2022, after an increase of 13.1% in 2021 and fall of 5.9% in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, and an increase of 4.9% of its imports, after an increase of 4.6% in 2021 and a fall of 5.7% in 2020.

Main export destinations include China (14% of all exports in 2021), Hong Kong (13%), the United States (11%), Malaysia (9.4%) and Indonesia (6%), while most imports arrived from China (16%), Malaysia (14%), the United States (12%), Japan (6.2%) and Indonesia (5.3%). The greatest risk to Singapore trade was the U.S. exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January 2017; however, a formal signing ceremony excluding the U.S. was held in March 2018. Trade and exports also fell in 2019 due to global trade tension, weakening demand for electronics (The Strait Times). However, in December 2019, exports showed a recovery thanks to a surge in pharmaceutical shipments. On the 15th of November 2020 Singapore has signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 14 other Indo-Pacific countries. This free trade agreement is the largest trade deal in history, covering 30 per cent of the global economy. It includes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN : Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and ASEAN’s free trade agreement partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and Republic of Korea). The RCEP covers goods, services, investment, economic and technical cooperation. It also creates new rules for electronic commerce, intellectual property, government procurement, competition, and small and medium sized enterprises.

In 2021, Singapore exported for an amount of 176.2% of GDP but imported goods and services at 144.3% of GDP. The trade balance including services was therefore positive at USD 103.7 billion (World Bank, 2021). The strategy adopted by the country is to promote exports while minimizing barriers to imports. Singapore has signed the Asian Free Trade Area agreements (AFTA in the ASEAN context), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and several bilateral agreements. All customs duties between Singapore and the E.U. are expected to disappear once the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is ratified by both countries (The Straits Times).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 282,925327,923370,881359,266329,830
Exports of Goods (million USD) 329,773373,446412,955390,763362,534
Imports of Services (million USD) 155,581181,256199,891207,966172,480
Exports of Services (million USD) 149,642172,304206,441216,880187,261

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 303.3315.7325.3323.5320.6
Trade Balance (million USD) 89,975101,026101,58096,84293,643
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 83,42090,774108,206105,831108,518
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.17.87.50.2-7.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -0.17.17.70.1-4.3
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 138.6144.7148.3147.6144.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 164.7171.1177.1175.9176.2

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 7.15.73.73.43.4
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 6.66.44.14.04.0

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Singapore is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ICC, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Colombo Plan, Common Wealth, G-77, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Singapore click here. International organisation membership of Singapore is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
Singapore is a member of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed on 15 November 2020. The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Singapore can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
China 13.8%
Hong Kong SAR, China 12.4%
United States 10.7%
Malaysia 8.9%
Indonesia 5.7%
See More Countries 48.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 14.4%
Malaysia 12.7%
United States 10.7%
Japan 5.5%
South Korea 4.7%
See More Countries 52.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

374.8 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 23.1%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 7.3%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 4.2%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas...Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 3.7%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 3.1%
See More Products 58.6%
329.6 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 21.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 9.5%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 5.1%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas...Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 4.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 4.4%
See More Products 54.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

169.0 bn USD of services exported in 2018
30.32%
28.01%
12.24%
12.07%
6.84%
5.15%
3.15%
1.27%
0.45%
0.31%
0.18%
176.5 bn USD of services imported in 2018
30.98%
30.48%
14.34%
8.59%
7.82%
3.52%
2.54%
1.10%
0.26%
0.24%
0.13%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: June 2022

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