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Singapore's manufacturing sector expected to pick up

Singapore's manufacturing sector is expected to see a pick-up this year, as external demand grows and advanced economies recover.

SINGAPORE: Singapore's manufacturing sector is expected to see a pick-up this year, as external demand grows together with a recovery in advanced economies.

Wealth management experts at OCBC Bank forecast a recovery of around 3 per cent this year, compared to less than one per cent growth in 2013.

The bank predicts that Singapore's economy will expand by about 3.5 per cent this year, compared to the Ministry of Trade and Industry's forecast of 2 to 4 per cent.

In the upcoming budget, OCBC expects the government to continue to focus on helping SMEs improve their competitiveness.

Selena Ling, head of OCBC Bank's treasury research & strategy unit, said: "There won't be any rapid unwinding of the foreign manpower curbs that are currently in place.

"If any, we haven't really seen the fruits on the productivity front yet, so there's probably going to be more calls to extend the PIC (Productivity and Innovation Credit) scheme, for instance.

"I think the low-lying fruits of automation under that scheme have been plucked, so looking forward, it's really going to be focusing a lot more on branding, helping SMEs do R&D, helping them do more product innovation and helping them expand into overseas markets."

The bank also expects the government to focus on healthcare costs.

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