Date
19 October 2017
Retail sales in Singapore have been growing while manufacturing has been contracting. Photo: Bloomberg
Retail sales in Singapore have been growing while manufacturing has been contracting. Photo: Bloomberg

Singapore economy grows faster than expected

Singapore’s economy expanded more than economists had estimated, as services and construction provided support to offset faltering exports.

Gross domestic product rose an annualized 5.7 percent in the three months to Dec. 31 from the previous quarter, when it expanded a revised 1.7 percent, the trade ministry said Monday.

The median of nine estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 1 percent expansion. The economy grew 2.1 percent last year.

“What the number continues to suggest is that services are becoming more important for growth, and will likely be so over the course of 2016,” Bloomberg quoted Michael Wan, a Singapore-based economist at Credit Suisse Group AG, as saying.

It also “perhaps reflects some stabilization in Asean growth” Wan said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Headwinds persist for the region, including a slowing credit cycle and weaker Chinese economic growth, he said.

The city state has relied on its position as an Asian financial hub to bolster services as overseas demand for its goods faltered.

While industrial production fell for a 10th straight month in November, retail sales rose for a ninth month in October.

GDP grew 2 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, compared with a median survey estimate of 1.2 percent.

Singapore’s manufacturing shrank 3.1 percent last quarter from the previous three months, the trade ministry said. The services industry grew 6.5 percent in the same period, while construction expanded 7 percent.

Monday’s data are advance estimates computed largely from figures in the first two months of the quarter and may be revised later, the ministry said.

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