Singapore’s growth at 2-year low

Weakening growth momentum for Singapore’s open economy underscores the risks to Asia’s export economies from the protracted US-Sino trade war.(Bloomberg pic)

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s economy grew at its slowest pace in more than two years in the fourth quarter, data showed on Friday, as the trade ministry warned manufacturing is likely to see a “significant moderation” this year.

Weakening growth momentum for Singapore’s open economy – a high-tech manufacturing base and transportation hub – underscores the risks to Asia’s export economies from the protracted US-Sino trade war.

“The pace of growth in the Singapore economy is expected to slow in 2019 as compared to 2018. First, the manufacturing sector is likely to see a significant moderation in growth following two years of robust expansions,” the trade ministry said in a statement.

From a year earlier, gross domestic product grew 1.9% in the fourth quarter, less than the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s 2.2% advance estimate and the 2.1% rise seen in the Reuters poll.

That was the slowest year-on-year pace since the third quarter of 2016, when it grew 1.2%.

The economy grew 1.4% in the October-December period from the previous three months on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis, lower than the ministry’s initial estimate, made on Jan 2, of 1.6%.

The median in a Reuters poll was for no revision of the initial quarter-on-quarter number.

The economy grew 3.2% for all of 2018, the ministry said, compared with the advance estimate of 3.3%.

The trade-reliant city-state kept its 2019 GDP growth forecast at between 1.5 and 3.5%, adding that growth would likely come in slightly below the mid-point of the forecast range.