News: Economic growth eases to 2.2% in Q4

Jan 3, 2019

There are signs of slowing growth and worries over worsening trade conflicts and major uncertainties.

Initial estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) published on Wednesday (2 Jan) show that Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) edged up by 2.2 percent year-on-year in Q4 2018, reported Channel NewsAsia.

The estimate is slightly below 2.3 percent, which is both the market’s expectation and the economic growth recorded during the third quarter of last year.

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On a quarterly seasonally adjusted basis, the city-state’s GDP rose marginally at an annualised rate of 1.6 percent, which is lower than the median projection of 3.2 percent in a Reuters survey and the 3.5 percent posted in Q3 2018.

MTI’s announcement follows Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s New Year message, wherein he said Singapore’s economy expanded by 3.3 percent for the whole of 2018. Although this exceeded forecasts, this is slightly slower than the 3.6 percent growth seen in 2017.
 
For 2019, the country’s GDP is expected to rise by 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent, said PM Lee. However, there are signs of slowing growth, and the global financial markets are worried over worsening trade conflicts and major uncertainties.

“Compared to how we started 2018, where we were coming off a good performance in the second half of 2017, the mood at the moment is certainly a more cautious one,” said Edward Lee, Standard Chartered Bank’s chief economist for ASEAN and South Asia, who expects Singapore’s economic growth to soften to around 2.6 percent this year due to several factors.

For instance, he thinks that the manufacturing industry could suffer further slowdown due to easing growth in developed countries and weaker global market demand. Among the indicators is China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which declined for the first time in over two years in December.

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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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