Wednesday February 14, 2018
Singapore’s economy lost some of its momentum in the fourth quarter and the government sees growth moderating slightly this year as an export boom in 2017 eases.
Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 2.1 percent from prior three months, trade ministry said Wednesday; Bloomberg survey median was 2 percent, while government’s previous projection was 2.8 percent
GDP expanded 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2016; median estimate was for 2.9 percent
While manufacturing in the trade-reliant economy was boosted last year by a surge in electronics exports, output has weakened recently as demand moderated. Even with that easing, the economy posted full-year growth of 3.6 percent in 2017, and is set to expand slightly above the middle of the 1.5-3.5 percent forecast range this year, the trade ministry said.
“The manufacturing sector is likely to continue to expand and provide support to growth in the overall economy,” the ministry said in a statement. “In particular, the electronics and precision engineering clusters are projected to sustain a healthy, though more moderate, pace of growth in 2018.”
The outlook also gives the Monetary Authority of Singapore scope to tighten policy this year after opening the door to a possible move in their last decision in October. The central bank’s next policy announcement is scheduled for April.
Jacqueline Loh, deputy managing director of the MAS, told reporters on Wednesday that the central bank hasn’t changed core or headline inflation forecasts since October and that the “monetary policy stance remains as announced then.”