SIN­GA­PORE GDP GROWTH HITS 3-YEAR HIGH

City-state, how­ever, ex­pects GDP ex­pan­sion to mod­er­ate this year from 3.6pc in 2017

New Straits Times - - BUSINESS -

SIN­GA­PORE is ex­pect­ing a mod­er­a­tion in eco­nomic growth this year, pres­sured by cool­ing ship­ments, af­ter a global ex­ports boom helped the city-state clock its fastest ex­pan­sion in three years last year.

Re­vised fig­ures re­leased by the Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try (MTI) yes­ter­day showed that gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) grew 3.6 per cent last year, the big­gest in­crease since 2014.

The min­istry said its cen­tral view is for GDP growth this year to come in slightly above the mid­dle of its fore­cast range of 1.5 to 3.5 per cent.

“The pace of growth in the Sin­ga­pore econ­omy is ex­pected to mod­er­ate this year com­pared with last year, but re­mains firm,” said MTI per­ma­nent sec­re­tary Loh Khum Yean.

The ex­ter­nal de­mand out­look is ex­pected to be slightly weaker this year com­pared with last year, said the MTI, adding that there were also po­ten­tial risks aris­ing from United States trade pro­tec­tion­ism, as well as any faster than ex­pected nor­mal­i­sa­tion in US mon­e­tary pol­icy.

Re­vised fig­ures showed GDP in­creased 2.1 per cent on an an­nu­alised ba­sis in the Oc­to­ber-De­cem­ber quar­ter from the pre­vi­ous quar­ter, down from the ini­tial es­ti­mate of 2.8 per cent.

The pres­sure on the econ­omy stemmed from the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, which con­tracted 14.8 per cent in the fourth quar­ter on a quar­ter-on-quar­ter an­nu­alised ba­sis.

“Last year was boosted by elec­tron­ics growth and that can’t last for­ever,” said UOB econ­o­mist Fran­cis Tan.

“How­ever, we see a spillover to the ser­vices sec­tor which is usu­ally not too volatile in terms of growth rates,” Tan added.

On a year-on-year ba­sis GDP rose 3.6 per cent in the fourth quar­ter, bet­ter than the ad­vance es­ti­mate of 3.1 per cent ex­pan­sion, but slow­ing from 5.5 per cent growth in the third quar­ter. The me­dian fore­cast picked 2.0 per cent quar­ter-on-quar­ter growth and 2.9 per cent year-onyear ex­pan­sion.

REUTERS PIC

Sin­ga­pore’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct growth of 3.6 per cent last year is the big­gest in­crease since 2014.

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