Singapore GDP growth beats initial estimate


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 - Page 15

Singapore’s economy expanded more than initially estimated last quarter after a smaller contraction in manufacturing, adding to evidence of a recovery in Asia. The nation’s currency rose.

GDP rose an annualized 3.3 percent in the three months through December last year from the previous quarter, when it shrank a revised 4.6 percent, the Singaporean Trade Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

That compares with last month’s estimate of 1.8 percent and the median in a Bloomberg News survey for a 2 percent expansion.

“We are seeing an improvement from some of the worst days of last year,” said Kit Wei Zheng (鄭基偉), a Singapore-based economist at Citigroup Inc. “The leading indicators seem to point to small but modest, positive growth in 2013.”

Recoveries in China and the US have improved the outlook for the region, with economies from Malaysia to Thailand reporting faster GDP growth for last quarter.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, which allowed faster currency gains last year to curb price increases, may maintain its appreciation policy at its April meeting as the island grapples with persistent inflation pressures, according to Bank of America Corp economist Chua Hak Bin (蔡學敏).

“We’re still holding on to a 3 percent growth outlook for the full year,” Vincent Conti, a Singapore-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, said before the report. “That’s being driven by a better outlook for the global economy in general, particularly from the US as well as China.”

The central bank has not had to take “extraordinary” measures in its money or currency markets as the unintended consequences of monetary policy in other economies are being accommodated by the current exchange-rate system, Edward Robinson, assistant managing director of the economic policy department at the authority, told reporters yesterday.

The island’s monetary policy stance remains unchanged as announced in October last year, he said.

The currency’s gains has trailed those of the Thai baht, South Korean won and Philippine peso in the past six months even as monetary easing in developed markets spur inflows to the region.

GDP expanded 1.5 percent last quarter from a year earlier, more than the 1.1 percent estimated previously, yesterday’s report showed. The economy grew 1.3 percent last year, up from an initial estimate of 1.2 percent, and the Singaporean Trade Ministry reiterated its forecast for an expansion of 1 percent to 3 percent this year.

The government yesterday kept its forecast for non-oil domestic exports to rise 2 percent to 4 percent this year.