ADVANCE estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Friday morning show that Singapore's economy grew a poorer-than-expected 1.5 per cent year on year in the final quarter of 2014.
This meant 2.8 per cent growth for the whole of 2014, slower than 2013's 3.9 per cent. Here's what private-sector economists had to say.
Mizuho Bank's Vishnu Varathan notes that a confluence of factors dented Singapore's 2014 growth plot:
"Property market curbs including macroprudential credit restraints as well as foreign labour restrictions have also chipped away at growth. So there are elements of macroprudential risk management and economic restructuring to raise longer-term productivity which also subtracted from near-term growth. And not to forget the ongoing shake-up in the electronics sector, with a one-off firm closure, also chipping away at GDP arithmetic for the year."
ANZ's Weiwen Ng and Glenn Maguire expect sluggish growth to continue into this year:
"Economic restructuring is a necessary evil. However, Singapore is at risk of being less nimble to ride on any global economic upswing, with productivity gains currently insufficient to mitigate its restructuring pains. We expect no quick respite in the current sluggish economic growth momentum with productivity growth constrained by the ongoing transition period required by firms to reduce their reliance on foreign labour, particularly in construction and services."
OCBC's Selena Ling thinks the 2015 outlook is neutral for now, but highlights a few risks:
"Key risks to watch for are any unruly market volatility arising from the US Federal Reserve's anticipated monetary policy normalisation resulting in any accompanying capital flow reversals from emerging markets, and any further slowdown in China which will have knock-on effects on regional demand and market sentiment."