Sunday, 20 October, 2019

Singapore slashes annual growth forecast on fears of recession

Singapore slashes 2019 GDP growth forecast after sharp Q2 contraction Singapore downgrades its GDP growth forecast to “0% to 1%” in 2019 due to “strong headwinds”
Russell Knight | 13 August, 2019, 20:29

It added, "Against this challenging external macroeconomic backdrop, and the deepening downturn in the global electronics cycle, the Singapore economy is likely to continue to face strong headwinds for the rest of the year".

On May 21, the Government shaved the upper end of that forecast, which was revised to 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. This figure already showcased a steep slowdown, against the full-year GDP growth of 3.1% marked in 2018.

The data also confirmed annual GDP expanded 0.1 percent in April-June from a year earlier, its slowest rate in a decade, and lower than poll expectations of 0.2 percent and the first quarter's 1.1 percent. The economy is forecast to expand in the range of 0.0 to 1.0 percent this year instead of 1.5 to 2.5 percent estimated previously, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said Tuesday.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis, the economy shrank by 3.3%, a reversal from the 3.8% growth in the previous quarter. This will imply a technical recession and first since 2008.

In particular, the growth prospects of key emerging markets and developing counties like ASEAN-5 and China have worsened, partly due to the escalation in the US-China trade conflict in the past months, the MTI explained. It expects growth to be around the mid-point of this range, about 0.5 percent that suggests -0.6 percent to 1.4 percent growth in the second half of 2019.

The trade tensions between the U.S. and China has yet to be resolved, as seen by US' recent announcement of possible tariffs on an additional US$300 billion of China imports.

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The ministry flagged a host of growing economic risks including Hong Kong's political situation, the Japan-Korea trade dispute, the Sino-US tariff war, slowing growth in China and Brexit.

The wholesale & retail trade sector contracted by 3.2% YoY, larger than the 2.5% decline in the previous quarter as wholesale trade segment weakened following a decline in the machinery, equipment & supplies sub-segment.

The construction sector expanded by 2.9 per cent year-on-year, extending the 2.8 per cent growth in the first quarter.

Services producing industries gained 1.1% year-on-year, moderating from the 1.2% growth in the previous quarter.

However, the MTI remains bullish on the aerospace and food & beverage manufacturing segments, information & communications, finance & insurance sectors, education, health & social services and the construction sector.

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