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Singapore economy expands 0.7% in 2019, slowest in a decade

Singapore economy expands 0.7% in 2019, slowest in a decade

SINGAPORE: The Singapore economy expanded by 0.7 per cent last year, down from 2018’s 3.1 per cent and its slowest in a decade, even as official flash estimates on Thursday (Jan 2) showed growth picking up pace slightly in the fourth quarter.

This is Singapore’s slowest full-year growth since 2009, according to Bloomberg data.

For the last three months of 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.8 per cent from the same period a year ago, a nudge up from the revised 0.7 per cent growth in the third quarter, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said.

The fourth-quarter flash estimate, which is computed largely from data gathered in the first two months of the quarter, was in line with a Reuters forecast.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis, the economy grew at a slower pace of 0.1 per cent. This is way below the 2.4 per cent expansion in the previous quarter and below economists’ expectations of 0.4 per cent.

Manufacturing remained in the doldrums with its fourth consecutive quarter of contraction. The sector, which makes up about a fifth of Singapore’s economy, shrank by 2.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter, widening from the third quarter’s 0.9 per cent decline.

This was due to output declines in the electronics, chemicals and transport engineering clusters, which more than offset expansions in the other clusters such as precision engineering and biomedical manufacturing, MTI said in its press release.

Growth in other parts of the Singapore economy held up.

The services producing industries expanded by 1.4 per cent from a year ago, with support from the finance and insurance sector, the other services industries and the business services sector. This is quicker than the 0.9 per cent growth in the third quarter.

On the back of public sector construction activities, construction grew 2.1 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter, slightly slower than the 2.4 per cent expansion in the previous three months.