Global crisis and recession 4 Economic situation and prognosis for Singapore 7

Economic situation and prognosis for Singapore

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Economic situation and prognosis for Singapore

13.Singapore’s economic growth in 2008 was far below what we had expected at the start of the year. We had known and had highlighted the downside risks of a US recession and a worsening global credit crunch. But like other governments and the vast majority of private forecasters, we did not anticipate the speed and scale of the deterioration in the global economy in the last six months.
14.On latest estimates, the Singapore economy grew by 1.2% in 2008. GDP in the fourth quarter declined by 3.7% compared to a year earlier, or by 17.0% on a quarter-on-quarter annualised basis.
15.Inflation averaged 6.5% last year – or by 5.4% if we exclude the increase in the Annual Values of homes which had no impact on household expenditures. Inflation was higher than expected because of the spike in food and fuel prices globally. It has however been declining since the middle of last year and is expected to be close to zero in 2009.
16.The key risks for us this year therefore have to do with the scale of the recession and loss of jobs, rather than inflation. All recent indicators point to a continuing downward momentum in the economy. We have been affected by the decline in the advanced economies which has reduced demand for our manufacturing exports. Our services industries are also being impacted by the sharp contraction in global and regional finance, and in intra-Asian trade and tourism.
17.The Government has updated its economic forecasts for 2009. We are projecting GDP to contract by between 2% and 5% this year.
18.We start from a position of low unemployment, the lowest in Asia last year. The resident unemployment rate was 3.3% in September. However, given the severe economic recession, we have to expect many more jobs to be at risk this year.

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