The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced that the Singapore economy grew by 3.2 per cent in 2018. For 2019, MTI has maintained the GDP growth forecast at “1.5 to 3.5 per cent”, with growth expected to come in slightly below the mid-point of the forecast range.
In its statement MTI said that the Singapore economy grew by 1.9 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter, easing from the 2.4 per cent growth in the third quarter. On a quarter on quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the Singapore economy expanded by 1.4 per cent, unchanged from the preceding quarter.
Demand IT solutions accelerating growth in information and communications sector
Growth in the information & communications sector came in at 6.1 per cent year on year, faster than the 5.4 per cent recorded in the third quarter. The sector’s growth was mainly supported by the IT & information services segment, which continued to benefit from organisations demand for IT solutions. Their report found that on a quarter on quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the sector expanded by 10.6 per cent, higher than the 6.6 per cent growth in the preceding quarter.
Growth in finance sector due to ‘new digital economy’
The finance & insurance sector grew by 4.1 per cent year-on-year, extending the 3.9 per cent growth in the third quarter.On a quarter on quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the sector expanded at a faster pace of 7.8 per cent, compared to the 3.3 per cent growth in the previous quarter. Growth in the sector was largely supported by sustained expansions in the insurance and others segments, which were also reinforced by strong demand for insurance services and the structural rampup of “new economy” activities such as digital payments .
Overall economy expected to slow in 2019 due to global trading uncertainty
This year with all the global trading uncertainty, with Brexit, US and China relations etc, the pace of growth in the Singapore economy is expected to slow in 2019 as compared to 2018. First, the manufacturing sector is likely to see a significant moderation in growth following two years of robust expansions. In particular, the electronics and precision engineering clusters are expected to face external headwinds due to weakening global demand for semiconductors and semiconductor equipment with the fading of the global electronics cycle. Second, growth in outward-oriented services sectors such as wholesale trade, transportation & storage and finance & insurance is expected to ease in tandem with the moderation in growth in key advanced and regional economies.
Certain sectors to remain resilient due to demand for IT and digital solutions
Nonetheless, the information & communications sector and the education, health & social services segment are expected to remain resilient, supported by firms’ robust demand for IT and digital solutions and the ramp-up of operations in healthcare facilities respectively.
The Ministry of Trade and Finance findings are in line with that of the report announced by the Economic and Development board this week.