Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Singapore raises growth targets after stronger Q3

AFP , SINGAPORE

Singapore yesterday raised this year's growth targets to between 7.5 percent and 8 percent from between 7 percent and 8 percent after the economy grew at a faster pace in the third quarter on the back of a strong performance in the financial and construction sectors.

In the three months to September, GDP grew an annual 8.9 percent, faster than the 8.7 percent in the previous quarter, the ministry of trade and industry said.

On a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter annualized basis, the economy grew 4.3 percent from 14.5 percent in the June quarter.

While the September quarter was below government estimates of 9.4 percent, the ministry said average growth in the first three quarters of this year was 8.1 percent and that the momentum was set to continue for the rest of the year.

"Economic growth picked up pace in the third quarter," the ministry said in its review of the three months to September.

"The momentum is likely to continue into the last quarter of 2007, albeit at a slower pace," it said, adding the economy was expected to grow "closer to the upper end" of its revised forecasts for this year.

"Economic growth in the US is expected to soften but the EU and Asian economies are expected to hold up," it said.

Singapore's economy, valued at S$210 billion (US$146 billion) last year, is highly dependent on external trade, which means the city-state is vulnerable to any slip-ups in the world's major markets.

In the third quarter, growth was powered by financial services that grew nearly 20 percent, making it the best performing industry in the period.

Growth in the sector was broad-based amid strong domestic banking and offshore lending activities, the ministry said.

Construction continued its strong rebound with 17.7 percent expansion. Manufacturing grew 10.5 percent.

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