Singapore fourth-quarter GDP growth slows as manufacturing loses steam

11:09 | 02/01/2018 Global Economy

Singapore’s economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter as manufacturing lost steam, weighing on a pickup in services sector activity, although full-year growth for 2017 was the fastest in three years.

A container ship arrives in a port in Singapore in June 2017 - Photo by Reuters

Gross domestic product in the fourth quarter expanded 2.8 percent on an annualized and seasonally adjusted basis, advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

That was slightly below the median forecast of 2.9 percent growth in a Reuters survey, and down from a revised 9.4 percent growth in the third quarter.

Compared with a year earlier, the economy expanded 3.1 percent in the October-December quarter, slowing from the third quarter’s revised 5.4 percent growth, which was the fastest on-year growth in nearly four years.

“The longer trend of Singapore relying more on services growth is likely to resume starting from 2018, with external oriented services sectors growing at a faster pace than domestic oriented ones,” said Jeff Ng, chief economist Asia for Continuum Economics.

Full-year growth in 2017 came in at the top end of the government’s official 3.0 to 3.5 percent forecast range and was the fastest growth since GDP expanded nearly 3.6 percent in 2014. The economy grew 2.0 percent in 2016.

The government has previously said it expects growth of 1.5 to 3.5 percent in 2018.

The city-state’s growth figures come amid signs Asian economies remained on a solid footing in late 2017.

Japanese exports accelerated sharply in November, while exports in South Korea climbed for the 14th straight month in December. In China, the manufacturing sector slowed slightly but still expanded in December for the 18th straight month.

Singapore’s trade-reliant economy had enjoyed a boost in 2017 from an improvement in global demand, particularly for electronics products and components such as semiconductors.

The manufacturing sector lost some shine in the fourth quarter, however, contracting 11.5 percent on an annualized basis after jumping 38.0 percent in the third quarter. Compared with a year earlier, manufacturing grew 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

The construction sector contracted 3.6 percent on an annualized basis, shrinking for the fourth straight quarter.

The services sector grew 7.5 percent on an annualized basis, recording the fastest growth since the fourth quarter of 2016.

Theo Vnexpress/Reuters