Singapore’s economy suffered its biggest contraction since the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis during the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic escalated, data showed yesterday, an ominous sign of the devastation being inflicted on the global economy.
The export-reliant city-state — one of the world’s most open economies and which is viewed as a barometer for the health of global trade — is now heading for a deep recession this year after shrinking 2.2 percent on-year.
The 2.2 percent contraction was the worst quarterly, on-year figure since 2009, the last time the city-state was plunged into recession.
“COVID-19 is like an economic tsunami hitting Singapore’s shores,” OCBC Bank (華僑銀行) research and strategy head Selena Ling (林秀心) said.
Compared with the previous quarter, GDP fell 10.6 percent, as all sectors of the economy were battered, according to advance estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The city-state is typically among the first countries to be hit during global crises because of its small and open economy, with ripples then spreading to other export-reliant Asian nations.
Singapore’s latest growth data “is like the canary in the mineshaft, and warns of further economic pain to come for other Asian economies,” Ling said.
The ministry further lowered its GDP forecast for this year, and said it expects the economy to shrink between 1 and 4 percent.
“As the global COVID-19 situation is still evolving rapidly, there remains a significant degree of uncertainty over the severity and duration of the global outbreak, and the trajectory of the global economic recovery once the outbreak has been contained,” the ministry said in a statement. “The balance of risks, however, is tilted to the downside.”
Even before the virus outbreak, Singapore’s economy was already being hammered by the US-China trade dispute.
Singapore normally gives advance estimates before the quarter ends, but the figures do not cover the full period, meaning the revised reading — which is to be released later — might be even worse.
Like many other places, Singapore has taken steps to contain the pandemic, including banning all foreign arrivals and closing bars and other entertainment venues.
However, the nation has reported a relatively low number of cases — 631 infections, with two deaths — and has held off imposing a total lockdown so far.
The government has won praise for its response to the outbreak, although the nation is now seeing a surge in imported cases as Singaporeans and residents return from other hard-hit countries.
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is to issue NT$13.9 billion (US$469.5 million) in unsecured bonds to help fund its plan to expand production capacity, it said on Friday. In a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing, TSMC said the bonds would comprise three tranches: NT$5.7 billion payable over five years, NT$6.3 billion over seven years and NT$1.9 billion over 10 years. The interest rates would be 0.58 percent on the five-year bonds, 0.65 percent on the seven-year ones and 0.67 percent on the 10-year tranche, TSMC said. Capital Securities Corp (群益金鼎證券) is to serve as the main underwriter in