US MANUFACTURERS WERE TOP INVESTORS IN SINGAPORE IN '91

US MANUFACTURERS WERE TOP INVESTORS IN SINGAPORE IN '91

Singapore said it attracted close to US$1.8 billion (S$2.93 billion) in new manufacturing investment commitments in 1991.

U.S. companies were the leading investors, accounting for US$595 million S$969 million, or 33 percent of the total. The Japanese were second with US$438 million (S$713 million). Europeans were third with US$420 million (S$684 million), Singapore's Economic Development Board said.Meanwhile, Johore, the Malaysian state closest to Singapore, also saw a big jump in manufacturing investment commitments. Johore reported its commitments grew by more than half to reach US$928,000 (S$1.51 billion) for the first nine months of 1991, its most recent statistics.

Unlike Singapore, the largest Johore investors were from Asia. Taiwan was first with interests in petrochemical and steel manufacturing plants, followed by South Korea, Singapore and Japan.

Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said in a Lunar New Year address Monday that investment commitments in his country would support its long-term economic development regardless of any short-term uncertainties. Most of Singapore's short-term uncertainties are related to the economies of Europe and the United States.

But P.M. Goh also conceded that the Year of the Monkey, which started Tuesday, would likely be less robust than the Year of the Goat.

Singapore, which watches national productivity with the same zeal that other countries watch major sporting events, said the investment statistics were particularly gratifying because of their value-added component.

The new investments in manufacturing represented S$140,000 value-added for each worker compared with S$110,000 value-added for each worker in 1990. Value-added for each worker is a measure of how much additional benefit each worker generates in the manufacturing process.

Most of the corporate investments in Singapore are being used to expand and diversify existing facilities. Singapore is the major headquarter site for companies operating in Southeast Asia. Most of the Singapore investments were in the electronic components, electronic systems and chemical industries. Most of the Johore Malaysia investments were in heavy capital-intensive industry like chemicals and metal work.

Singapore's development board also announced that it planned to build its first business park on a site near the republic's Changi Airport. This is designed to meet demands for warehousing and distribution operations tied to the aviation industry.

In the past few years, Singapore has tried to push its companies to invest overseas, but with mixed success. The development board said this week it established offices in Jakarta, Indonesia; and Beijing, to further this effort.