Singapore's manufacturing output declined 3.6 per cent last month on a year-on-year basis, and some economists expect more headwinds for the country's manufacturing sector.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 3.9 per cent.

On a three-month moving average basis, manufacturing output declined 1.3 per cent last month, compared to a year ago.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output increased 4.1 per cent last month, compared to January. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 1.1 per cent.

Output of the general manufacturing cluster rose 1.3 per cent last month on a year-on-year basis, lifted by the 7.4 per cent growth in output from the food-and-beverages and tobacco segment.

The growth was partially offset by lower printing output.

The chemicals cluster's output remained unchanged on a year-on-year basis last month, even as the petroleum segment grew 8.3 per cent due to the low base in February last year.

The biomedical manufacturing cluster's output fell 2.5 per cent last month, compared to a year ago, despite the 21.7 per cent expansion in the medical technology segment due to higher export demand for medical instruments and consumables. The growth was offset by the pharmaceuticals segment which saw output fall 7.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, output for the electronics cluster fell 4.5 per cent year-on-year, while precision engineering output contracted 5.8 per cent year-on-year.

The transport engineering cluster's output dropped 7.2 per cent year-on-year.

United Overseas Bank economists Francis Tan and Jimmy Koh said that taking away the Chinese New Year effect, Singapore's industrial production started off on a weaker-than-expected footing as it fell by a cumulative 1.1 per cent year-on-year in the January-February period.

"Over the next few months, we expect several headwinds to manufacturing activities," they said.