SINGAPORE: Singapore surpassed expectations to attract S$15.2 billion in fixed asset investments last year, propped up by commitments from semiconductor as well as energy and chemical companies.
Despite the global uncertainties, investment commitments exceeded the forecast of between S$8 billion and S$10 billion for the year, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board’s (EDB) annual year-in-review report released on Thursday (Jan 16).
The fixed asset investments are also nearly 40 per cent more than the S$10.9 billion recorded in 2018.
Fixed asset investments refer to a company’s incremental capital investment in facilities, equipment and machinery.
The investment commitments are "testament" to Singapore’s position as the "preferred location for global companies to tap into Asia’s growth", as well as the country’s competitiveness as a hub for manufacturing, innovation and digital activities, said EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin.
"Although the global operating environment remains uncertain, we are cautiously optimistic that the investment flows in 2019 will continue into 2020 and bring good business and job opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans," he added.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing echoed similar sentiments at an interview held ahead of EDB's year-in-review.
"Despite a very challenging 2019, I think we have done pretty well on the investment side. We have secured significant, and most importantly, quality investments in 2019. This gives us confidence that in the coming years, as the investments are realised, they will be able to create many more new and good jobs for Singaporeans," he said.
LARGEST COMMITMENTS BY CHEMICALS, ELECTRONICS FIRMS
The chemicals sector (32.2 per cent) pulled in the most fixed asset investments, followed by the electronics sector (30.2 per cent).
By region, Singapore saw the most investment commitments from Europe (47.4 per cent) followed by the United States (37.6 per cent).
In 2019, EDB also attracted S$9 billion in total business expenditure per annum, exceeding the S$5 billion to S$7 billion forecast and 2018’s S$6.2 billion.
Total business expenditure per annum refers to companies' incremental operating expenditure, including wages and rental.
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"Companies across a variety of industries continued to establish and expand headquarter activities and hub services, as well as build digital capabilities for themselves and their customers," said EDB in its report.
"These activities will result in the creation of good business and job opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans," it added.
32,814 NEW JOBS
When fully implemented, these projects are expected to create 32,814 jobs in the coming years, with a projected contribution of S$29.4 billion in value-added per annum, said EDB.
Nearly half (49 per cent) of the expected jobs will be digital, which are roles that utilise technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.
Production jobs - which are roles related to product manufacturing - will account for another 29 per cent.
In the medium-to-long-term, EDB said it aims to sustain investment commitments at between S$8 billion and S$10 billion for fixed asset investment, and between S$5 billion and S$7 billion for total business expenditure per annum.
It will also continue to focus on three key areas.
The first of these is a focus on strengthening Singapore's position as a platform for companies around the world to tap into opportunities in Southeast Asia.
EDB also said it will also strive to deepen and broaden Singapore's role as a hub for companies to develop digital products and solutions.
The third area focuses on innovation, with EDB saying it will continue to support companies in creating new products, services and businesses out of Singapore.