SINGAPORE, Feb 15 — The Singapore economy grew by 3.2 per cent in 2018, a moderation from the 3.9 per cent growth recorded in 2017, according to the republic’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
For 2019, MTI maintained the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast at “1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent”, with growth expected to come in slightly below the mid-point of the forecast range.
On a yearly basis, the Singapore economy grew 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, easing from the 2.4 per cent growth registered in the third quarter.
In releasing the latest figures today, MTI said the manufacturing sector expanded 7.2 per cent, slowing from the 10.4 per cent growth in 2017.
Growth was primarily supported by the electronics, transport engineering and biomedical manufacturing clusters, said the ministry.
The construction sector shrank 3.4 per cent, a more modest pace of decline than the 10.2 per cent contraction in 2017.
MTI said the output of the sector was weighed down by a decline in public sector construction works, even as private sector construction works rose marginally.
The services producing industries grew 3.0 per cent, slightly slower than the 3.2 per cent growth recorded in 2017.
Growth was mainly supported by the finance & insurance, business services and wholesale & retail trade sectors, which expanded 5.9 per cent, 3.0 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively, it said.
For the final quarter of 2018, the republic’s manufacturing sector grew 5.1 per, cent year-on-year, higher than the 3.5 per cent growth registered in the third quarter.
Growth was driven mainly by the biomedical manufacturing, transport engineering and electronics clusters.
The construction sector contracted by 1.0 per cent, year-on-year, a more gradual pace of decline compared with the 2.3 per cent contraction in the third quarter.
Output of the sector was weighed down by the weakness in public sector construction works.
The wholesale & retail trade sector contracted 0.6 per cent, year-on-year, a turnaround from the 1.8 per cent growth in the third quarter, pulled down by the sluggish performance of both the wholesale trade and retail trade segments.
The transportation & storage sector posted growth of 0.5 per cent, year-on-year, lower than the 1.9 per cent growth in the third quarter.
Growth was largely driven by the air transport segment, which saw improvements in the number of air passengers handled.
The accommodation & food services sector expanded 2.9 per cent, year-on-year, moderating from the 4.0 per cent growth in the third quarter.
The food services segment also grew, underpinned by increased sales volumes across all sub-segments, including restaurants, fast food outlets and food caterers.
Growth in the information & communications sector came in at 6.1 per cent, year-on-year, faster than the 5.4 per cent recorded in the third quarter.
The finance & insurance sector grew 4.1 per cent, year-on-year, extending the 3.9 per cent growth seen in the third quarter.
The business services sector recorded growth of 2.8 per cent on a year-on-year basis, easing from the 3.3 per cent growth achieved in the third quarter.
For 2019 economic outlook, MTI said the pace of growth in the Singapore economy was expected to slow compared with 2018 on the back of global uncertainties.
Its manufacturing sector is likely to see a significant moderation in growth following two years of robust expansions.
In particular, the electronics and precision engineering clusters are expected to face external headwinds due to weakening global demand for semiconductors and semiconductor equipment with the fading of the global electronics cycle.
The growth in outward-oriented services sectors such as wholesale trade, transportation & storage and finance & insurance was expected to ease in tandem with the moderation in growth in key advanced and regional economies.
Nonetheless, the information & communications sector and the education, health & social services segment are expected to remain resilient, supported by firms’ robust demand for information technology and digital solutions and the ramp-up of operations in healthcare facilities, respectively.
Meanwhile, the republic’s construction sector was likely to see a turnaround after three consecutive years of contraction, as the pickup in contracts awarded since the second half of 2017 should translate into construction activities in the quarters ahead, added the ministry. — Bernama
Source: The Malay Mail Online