Singapore's manufacturing output is inching upwards, thanks to strong growth in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical segments.

Factory output has grown by 0.9% year-on-year in May, compared with April's 2.9%, according to figures released by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

The electronics sector took a hit in May, with its growth slowing to 5.9%, but that was offset by increases in the semiconductor and other electronic modules and components segment, which rose by 16.6% and 9.2% respectively.

Cumulatively, electronics cluster output grew 5.3% in the first five months of 2016 compared to the same period last year, EDB stated.

Meanwhile, output of the precision engineering cluster decreased 1.0% year-on-year in May. The machinery and systems segment grew 3.3% with higher export demand for semiconductor related equipment, as well as higher volume of mechanical engineering works.

The precision modules and components segment, however, contracted 7.3% per cent, on account of lower output in metal precision components, optical instruments and fabricated metal products. On a year-to-date basis, output of the precision engineering cluster declined 5.0% compared to the same period last year.

The biomedical manufacturing cluster’s output also jumped 13.2% year-on-year in May. The pharmaceuticals and medical technology segments grew 14.2% and 9.2% respectively, where the former’s growth was due to a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients produced. Strong export demand for medical devices continued to drive the growth of the medical technology segment.

On a year-to-date basis, the biomedical manufacturing cluster increased 17.3% compared to the same period a year ago.

There's a possibility, however, that Singapore's positive momentum will be nipped in the bud by Britain's unexpected Brexit vote. CIMB Banking economist Song Seng Wun told Today Online: "If not for the Brexit, we would actually see light in Singapore for the manufacturing sector due to a turnaround led by biomedicals. With Brexit, the positive reading is pushed down as uncertainty lurks and there is a possibility of lower demand coming from the European Union."