Singapore's 2020 growth forecast lowered to 0.6%: MAS survey

Singapore's 2020 growth forecast lowered to 0.6%: MAS survey

The Singapore economy is expected to grow 0.6 per cent this year, according to economists and analysts polled in a survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Wednesday (Mar 11). Brandon Tanoto reports.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore economy is expected to grow 0.6 per cent this year, according to economists and analysts polled in a survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Wednesday (Mar 11). 

This is a sharp drop from the 1.5 per cent growth expected by economists in the previous survey.

The forecast came after Singapore last month downgraded its GDP forecast for the year amid concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

READ: Singapore cuts 2020 GDP forecast range to -0.5% to 1.5% due to COVID-19 outbreak

Survey respondents were more pessimistic across all key macroeconomic indicators for 2020.

The manufacturing sector is now expected to contract by 0.3 per cent for 2020, as compared to the 0.7 per cent growth predicted in the previous survey.

The outlook was also pessimistic for the wholesale and retail trade sector, which is expected to contract by 0.7 per cent, as compared to the 0.4 per cent growth forecast previously.

Survey respondents predicted the accommodation and food services sector would see a 1.6 per cent contraction, a sharp reversal from the 2.1 per cent growth previously predicted.

The finance and insurance sector is expected to post growth of 2.6 per cent, a drop from the 3.5 per cent growth predicted previously.

Economists also expect the construction sector to expand by 2.4 per cent, marginally lower compared to the 2.5 per cent growth predicted in the last survey.

Non-oil domestic exports are expected to grow by only 0.2 per cent,

An escalation in the current COVID-19 outbreak topped respondents' list of downside risks to Singapore's growth outlook. 

READ: Singapore reports 6 new COVID-19 cases; 3 linked to SAFRA Jurong cluster

Escalating trade tensions and  geopolitical risks, including uncertainty over the outcome of the upcoming United States election, were also identified as concerns.

Singapore's GDP growth is expected to rise to 2 per cent for 2021 as a whole. Respondents on average estimated that growth would most likely be in the range of between 1.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent next year.

Singapore has reported 166 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday. Of these, 93 have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospital.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget speech last month that Singapore was setting aside S$800 million to support frontline agencies in their efforts to contain the coronavirus, with the bulk allocated to the Ministry of Health.

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Source: CNA/nc

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