Children run through a walkway that links the various terminals to Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore, April 11, 2019. The republic's economic growth slowed to  0.7 per cent in 2019. — Reuters pic
Children run through a walkway that links the various terminals to Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore, April 11, 2019. The republic’s economic growth slowed to 0.7 per cent in 2019. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, Feb 17 — Singapore’s economy grew by 0.7 per cent in 2019, slower than the 3.4 per cent growth recorded in 2018, according to the republic’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a statement today.

For 2020, MTI said, it has downgraded the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast to -0.5 to 1.5 per cent, with growth expected to come in at around 0.5 per cent, the mid-point of the forecast range.

The ministry said Singapore’s economy grew by 1.0 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter, faster than the 0.7 per cent growth in the third quarter.

For the whole of 2019, MTI said the manufacturing sector contracted by 1.4 per cent, a reversal from the 7.0 per cent growth in 2018.

The sector’s performance was weighed down by output declines in the electronics, chemicals, precision engineering and transport engineering clusters, it said.

The construction sector expanded by 2.8 per cent, a turnaround from the 3.5 per cent contraction in 2018, supported by both public sector and private sector construction works.

The services-producing industries grew by 1.1 per cent, moderating from the 3.4 per cent growth in 2018.

Growth was mainly driven by the finance & insurance, other services and business services sectors, which expanded by 4.1 per cent, 2.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

The ministry noted that the outlook for the Singapore economy has weakened since the last review in November.

In particular, MTI said the Covid-19 outbreak is expected to affect the Singapore economy through various channels.

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One of them is an outward-oriented sector such as manufacturing and wholesale trade will be affected by the weaker growth outlook in several of Singapore’s key final demand markets, including China.

Besides that, the outbreak has led to a sharp fall in tourist arrivals, particularly from China, to Singapore.

Nonetheless, MTI said there are pockets of relative strength in the Singapore economy.

“These include the construction sector, which is projected to post steady growth given the rebound in construction demand since 2018.

“The information & communications sector is also expected to be resilient on account of sustained enterprise demand for IT solutions,” it said.

As the Covid-19 situation is still evolving, MTI said it will continue to monitor developments and their impact on the Singapore economy closely. — Bernama



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