Merchandise Trade

Coverage of Merchandise Trade Statistics

Singapore adopts the “general” system for recording merchandise trade statistics. Under this system, all goods imported into or exported from Singapore are included in the merchandise trade statistics with the following major exceptions:

  1. Transhipment cargo on through bills of lading or through air waybills;
  2. Fish and other marine produce landed by Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia-registered vessels direct from sea;
  3. Goods imported and exported by, or on behalf of, diplomatic services and armed forces;
  4. Exposed cinematographic films imported or exported on a rental basis;
  5. Television news films, news or press materials;
  6. Ships and aircraft arriving for or departing after repairs;
  7. Goods temporarily taken into or out of the country to be returned after a specific purpose, for example, for an exhibition;
  8. Personal and household effects accompanying passengers or crews;
  9. Samples and specimens for test or analysis; and unaccompanied personal effects and gifts not exceeding the value of $400;
  10. Gold held as reserve assets that are exchanged between monetary authorities or authorised banks; and
  11. Issued currency notes and coins.

Ships and aircraft are included if they are imported or exported as merchandise, whether or not they arrive or depart under their own power.

Domestic Exports

Refers to exports of Singapore origin. It comprises (i) primary commodities grown or produced in Singapore and (ii) goods which have been transformed, that is, manufactured, assembled or processed in Singapore including those with imported materials or parts.

Merchandise Exports

Refers to all goods taken out of Singapore, except those specified as excluded under ‘Coverage’ (see above). It comprises domestic exports and re-exports. Merchandise exports are valued at ‘FOB’ (Free On Board), that is, the value of goods when sold abroad up to the point where the goods are deposited on board the outgoing vessel, aircraft or vehicle.

Merchandise Imports

Refers to all goods brought into Singapore, except those specified as excluded under ‘Coverage’ (see above), irrespective of whether they are for consumption, for processing, for use in manufacturing, or for subsequent re-shipment to other countries. Merchandise imports are valued at ‘CIF’ (Cost, Insurance and Freight), that is, the value of goods at the frontier of the exporting country plus the cost of insurance and freight and any other charges when sold for export to Singapore.

Merchandise Trade at 2018 Prices

This is obtained by adjusting the recorded value of trade using import and export price indices with base year 2018. The series on trade at 2018 prices indicate the volume of trade after adjusting for the effect of price changes.


Refers to all goods which are exported from Singapore in the same form as they have been imported (including goods that have undergone minor processing, such as re-packing, splitting into lots, sorting or grading, marking and the like).

Retained Imports

Goods imported and kept in the country for domestic use. See Re-exports.