Singapore is Still Growing
Singapore’s economy grew much faster than expected in the second quarter, with a rebound in services suggesting a broader and more balanced recovery after a stumble early in the year.
The economy grew 2.2% in April-June on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis, rebounding from a revised 2.1% contraction in the preceding quarter, data showed on Friday.
The latest GDP data suggested the economy was better balanced than first thought, with strength seen in other sectors which had been considered sluggish.
Services producing industries grew 3.3% from the previous quarter, after shrinking 3.0% in January-March.
Within the services sector, wholesale and retail trade grew 6.2%, while finance and insurance expanded 3.9%.
The reading was far stronger than the government’s advance estimate last month of 0.4% growth and well above the highest estimate in a Reuters economist poll. Analysts had expected the final reading to pick up only slightly to 0.5%.
“For the second half of this year, we should see services momentum improving in line with the greater confidence about global growth prospects and domestic sentiments,” said Selena Ling, head of research and strategy for OCBC Bank.
“HEFFX has remained positive on Singapore, it has become an important regional and global hub” Shayne Heffernan of HEFFX said.
Singapore and other Asian economies which are dependent on trade have gained a big boost this year from an improvement in global demand, particularly for electronics products and components such as semiconductors.
“The key change at the margin is that some of the domestic oriented components are doing better,” said Michael Wan, an economist at Credit Suisse.
While exports may cool in the second half, given the possibility of a slowdown in China’s economic growth, Singapore’s economy should draw more support from private consumption, Mr Wan added.
Full-year growth should come in at around 2.5%, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement. It revised its official 2017 forecast to a range of 2.0 to 3.0% from 1.0 to 3.0% previously.
Most economists expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to keep its policy settings unchanged at its next policy decision due in October.
“I don’t think there is any impetus or any rush to move,” said OCBC Bank’s Ms Ling, referring to the MAS’ policy outlook.
The central bank kept policy unchanged at its last review in April, saying a “neutral” stance is appropriate for an extended period.
Speaking after the release of the latest GDP data, MAS Deputy Managing Director Jacqueline Loh said the central bank’s current policy settings remained appropriate.
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