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Singapore’s Major Trading Partners And Figures

Updated time: 20 Jul, 2021, 10:36 (UTC+08:00)

Singapore is a major international air transit hub and an important gateway to Asia, particularly Southeast Asia. Currently, up to 21 of the world's top 25 logistics service providers are headquartered in Singapore.

Let’s find out what makes Singapore a logistics powerhouse and who its major trading partners are.

Top 10 Singapore’s major trading partners

Singapore seaport is currently connected with 600 ports in 123 countries and territories, through more than 200 shipping routes. However, only 5% of the goods are consumed in Singapore, the remaining 95% will continue to be transported to many locations around the world through the supply chain. Despite being a small country, with a population of less than 10 million people, Singapore’s trading partners are the most diverse in the world with roughly 220 partners.

Below is a list showcasing the top 10 of Singapore’s trading partners. These are countries that imported the most from Singapore during 2020. This also includes each import country’s percentage of total Singaporean exports GDP.

  1. China: US$51.5 billion (13.8%)
  2. Hong Kong: $46.2 billion (12.4%)
  3. United States: $40.2 billion (10.7%)
  4. Malaysia: $33.3 billion (8.9%)
  5. Indonesia: $21.5 billion (5.7%)
  6. Taiwan: $18.3 billion (4.9%)
  7. Japan: $17.9 billion (4.8%)
  8. South Korea: $16.8 billion (4.5%)
  9. Thailand: $14.1 billion (3.8%)
  10. Vietnam: $12.5 billion (3.3%)

Singapore's port is one of the busiest ports in the world.

Singapore's port is one of the busiest ports in the world.

Singapore’s imports figures

Singapore is one of the most open markets with the largest trade turnover in the world. The country has little to no import restrictions or non-tariff barriers beyond the standards set by international organizations (OIE and Codex). More than 99% of Singapore’s import products are tax-free (except for cars, petrol, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.). This country is known as a large transit market, temporary import for re-export, accounting for about 43% of the value of Singapore imports.

Major imported goods to Singapore are Electrical Machinery, Oil & Mineral Fuels; Industrial Machinery; Precious Stones & Metals; Precision Instruments; Aircraft; Plastics; Organic Chemicals; Motor Vehicles & Parts; Cosmetics. China, the United States, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan are the countries that are accountable for the majority of Singapore's imports by country.

Singapore has long been widely known as an “Entrepôt” or transshipment port, where goods are transshipped and sometimes processed or produced in the immediate area. Entrepôt operations account for about a third of Singapore's total export trade. In the effort to promote additional trade, Singapore has become a joint venture partner in many projects with Malaysia and Indonesia.

Singapore’s Top 10 exports

Singapore has been promoting its strengths as a financial intermediary country. It has a long history of being a middleman, transporting raw materials such as rubber, wood and spices from Southeast Asia in exchange for finished products, which are exported to its major trading partners.

The latest data shows that 77.9% of products exported from Singapore were bought by importers in: China (13.8% of the global total), Hong Kong (12.4%), United States (10.7%), Malaysia (8.9%), Indonesia (5.7%), Taiwan (4.9%), Japan (4.8%), South Korea (4.5%), Thailand (3.8%), Vietnam (3.3%), Netherlands (2.7%) and India (2.5%). Below are the most exported goods from Singapore according to World Bank’s statistics:

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$132.2 billion (35.3% of total exports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $58.2 billion (15.5%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $30.3 billion (8.1%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $20.8 billion (5.6%)
  5. Gems, precious metals: $20.3 billion (5.4%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $12.9 billion (3.5%)
  7. Organic chemicals: $11.4 billion (3%)
  8. Perfumes, cosmetics: $9.6 billion (2.6%)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: $8.9 billion (2.4%)
  10. Miscellaneous food preparations: $6 billion (1.6%)

The top 10 exports above represent 83% of the total value of Singapore's global shipments. Based on the data, we can see that electrical machinery, equipment accounted for the largest proportion of the 10 categories, reaching US$132.2 billion and accounting for 35.3% of total exports. In second place by export sales is Machinery including computers. These two sectors alone account for more than 50% of Singapore's total export turnover.

Singapore is an important international air transit hub and gateway to Asia

Singapore is an important international air transit hub and gateway to Asia

Opportunities for foreign investors

Overall, Singapore posted a trade surplus of $45.1 billion in 2020. Singapore's trade surplus grew 43.8% from $31.4 billion a year earlier. This is a notable check mark for businesses who are looking for an opportunity to .

One of the reasons that makes Singapore an ideal environment to do business is its well-developed infrastructure network and modern technology. Considered the most "Tech-Ready Nation" in the world, the country's information and communication technology readiness has become one of the reasons for the country's economic success.

Finally, a seaport existed through the ages allowing people to use it as a center of commerce and trade. Singapore has built on its favorable geographical position to become one of the world's leading air and sea freight hubs. In its 50 years of existence as a sovereign nation, Singapore has renewed confidence in a business-friendly ecosystem for both companies and individuals. Therefore, this city-state still remains an attractive destination to incorporate and boost your import and export profits.

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