Economists expect faster growth for Singapore economy

12 April 2014

Xinhua, Singapore :
Economists expect the Singapore economy to grow by 5.4 percent year on year in the first quarter of the year, partly helped by improving outlook for the manufacturing sector and the global economy, local media reported Friday.
It was also partly due to the effect of a low base as the city state recorded a meagre 0.6 percent economic growth in the first quarter of last year.
Nevertheless, they say that manufacturing is looking brighter after spending much of last year in the doldrums while the services and construction sectors also remain robust despite challenges from restructuring.
Manufacturing, which accounts for a fifth of the Singapore economy, led overall growth in the first quarter aided by a modest uptick in exports, the Straits Times quoted Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin as saying.
OCBC economist Selena Ling estimated that the sector expanded 6. 4 percent in the first three months of the year, boosted mainly by stronger electronics output.
Electronics production, which accounts for nearly a third of Singapore's manufacturing output, expanded 11.1 percent in the first two months of 2014, compared with the same period last year.
While the global outlook now appears less shaky than a year ago, some of the economists cautioned that domestic restructuring, especially the manpower crunch, continues to hit growth.
Singapore has been tightening its foreign labor policy in recent years in a bid to push for productivity growth in various sectors, but some of the services sector has been hit, like the restaurants and other businesses that rely heavily on people.

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