Singapore’s economy misses forecasts with 2.7 percent growth

City-state’s performance is closely watched as a barometer of global economic conditions.

Singapore’s economy missed forecasts in the first three months of this year [Edgar Su/Reuters]Published On 12 Apr 202412 Apr 2024

Singapore’s economy grew slower than expected in the first quarter, as a struggling manufacturing sector weighed on tourism spending from events including Taylor Swift’s concerts.

The city-state’s economic performance is often seen as a barometer of the global environment because of its reliance on international trade.

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Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 2.7 percent on-year, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Friday, faster than the previous three months but weaker than the 3.0 percent projected in a Bloomberg poll of economists.

It grew just 0.1 percent on-quarter.

The advance estimates are computed largely from data in January and February and are subject to revision when March figures come in.

Manufacturing, a pillar of the trade-reliant economy, rose 0.8 percent on-year and contracted 2.9 percent from October to December.

The services sector, which includes accommodation and food, grew 2.9 percent.

“In all likelihood, the slew of concerts which attracted many international visitors to Singapore’s shores, did have a temporal boost to the consumer-facing industries, namely the hospitality and entertainment-related activities,” said Selena Ling, chief economist at banking group OCBC.

Swift performed only in Singapore in March for the Southeast Asian leg of her Eras Tour, while Coldplay played in January and the Singapore Airshow, the biggest in Asia, was held in February.

Veteran economist Song Seng Wun said he expected an “upward adjustment” to the overall first-quarter growth when the effects of Swift’s concerts are fully counted.

There could also be “spillover effects” into March of spending from the Singapore Airshow, added Song, at financial services firm CGS International Singapore.

“The bottom line is that the economy is still recovering post-pandemic,” he told AFP.

In a separate announcement, the central bank Monetary Authority of Singapore kept its monetary policy unchanged for a fourth straight time, saying it needed to keep inflation in check.

As the city-state imports most of its needs, it deals with imported inflation by allowing for a stronger Singapore dollar.

Source: AFP