Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Singapore expected to slide deeper into recession this year

AFP , SINGAPORE

Singapore is expected to slide deeper into recession this year before staging a weak recovery in the final quarter and registering mild growth next year, a central bank survey showed yesterday.

GDP is likely to fall 8.5 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, more than double the 4.2 percent shrinkage in the fourth quarter of last year, the survey of professional economists said.

Singapore slid into recession in the third quarter of last year ahead of its Asian neighbors.

The GDP decline would likely continue into the second and third quarters this year at 6.9 percent and 4.6 percent respectively, before output grows at 0.5 percent in the final three months, the survey said.

For this year, the economy was expected to shrink by 4.9 percent — just within the government’s forecast contraction range of between 2 percent and 5 percent — which would make it the worst recession since independence in 1965.

A recovery is expected next year, with economists forecasting an average of 3.3 percent growth, the poll showed.

Singapore’s economy grew just 1.1 percent last year from 7.8 percent in 2007 after a worldwide economic downturn weakened demand for its exports and fewer travelers visited the city-state.

Manufacturing is likely to bear the brunt of the downturn, with the sector forecast to fall by 19.6 percent in the first quarter this year, followed by the financial services sector, which is expected to drop 11 percent.

Exports are projected to plunge 27.4 percent during the quarter, the survey of 20 professional economists and analysts said.

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