SINGAPORE: Economists raised their forecasts for Singapore’s growth this year as they upgraded their views on the manufacturing sector and exports, a central bank survey showed on Wednesday.
The median forecast of 23 economists surveyed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was for gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 2.3% in 2017, up from the 1.5% estimated in the previous survey published in December.
That would mark a slight pick-up from 2.0% growth recorded in 2016, and would be in the upper half of the government’s official 2017 GDP forecast range of 1-3%.
Economists now expect the manufacturing sector to expand 4.5% in 2017, up from 1.1 percent in the December survey. Non-oil domestic exports are expected to grow 6.1% in 2017, up from the previous median forecast of 0.3% growth.
The median forecast for year-on-year GDP growth in the first quarter was 2.6%, up from 1.3% previously.
But that would be slightly slower than the fourth quarter of last year, when GDP expanded 2.9% from a year earlier. Compared with the previous quarter, GDP grew 12.3% on an annualized basis in the October-December quarter.
The central bank’s core inflation gauge was seen likely to rise 1.5% for the whole of 2017, up from the previous median forecast of 1.3%.
According to the latest MAS survey, economists’ median forecast for all-items CPI inflation in 2017 was unchanged at 1.0%.
Economists estimated that the Singapore dollar will trade at 1.4600 against the US dollar by end-2017. It was trading near 1.4145 on Wednesday.
Singapore’s advance estimate of first quarter GDP and the central bank’s twice-yearly monetary policy decision, are both expected to be released in mid-April.
Most economists expect the MAS to keep policy unchanged, after growth picked up late last year, while inflationary pressures are seen likely to remain relatively subdued.