Singapore's 2018 growth forecast upgraded to 3.3%: MAS survey

Singapore's 2018 growth forecast upgraded to 3.3%: MAS survey

Singapore's economic growth this year is expected to come in at 3.3 per cent, according to private-sector economists polled in a quarterly survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Wednesday (Dec 12). Brandon Tanoto reports. 

SINGAPORE: Singapore's economic growth this year is expected to come in at 3.3 per cent, according to private-sector economists polled in a quarterly survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Wednesday (Dec 12). 

This forecast is higher than the 3.2 per cent median forecast in the previous survey. 

The Singapore economy expanded by 2.2 per cent in the third quarter of the year compared with the same period last year, which is marginally higher than the 2.1 per cent reported in the September survey. 

The manufacturing sector is now expected to expand at a slower pace, with economists surveyed forecasting growth of 7.4 per cent, down from their 7.6 per cent growth prediction in September's survey. 

The finance and insurance industry is expected to post growth of 6.9 per cent, a slight increase from the 6.7 per cent growth predicted previously. 

In contrast, economists predict that the construction sector will contract by 3.5 per cent, moderating from the 4.2 per cent decline predicted in the last survey. 

Meanwhile, the MAS survey showed forecasts for both headline and core inflation in 2018 to be at 0.5 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively. 

On the labour front, economists expect the unemployment rate to be at 2.1 per cent at year-end, unchanged from the previous survey. 

Among the 28 economists polled, "intensification of US-China trade tensions" remained as the biggest downside risk for Singapore’s economy.

On the other hand, the easing of trade tensions was identified as a possible upside.

Respondents also flagged slower growth in China as a downside risk, on the back of tightening credit conditions. 

In addition, faster-than-expected US interest rate hikes continued to be a downside risk for 41 per cent of respondents, up from 37 per cent in the previous survey. 

For 2019, respondents expect GDP growth to ease to 2.6 per cent, which is a slight drop from the 2.7 per cent in the previous survey. Inflation is projected to come in at 1.3 per cent and core inflation at 1.8 per cent. 

Source: CNA/ad(ms)

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