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Singapore Q1 GDP seen slowing, weakness in manufacturing hurts: poll

Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 12:13
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Singapore's economic growth is forecast to have slowed sharply in the first quarter as the manufacturing sector faced headwinds from sluggish global demand, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

[SINGAPORE] Singapore's economic growth is forecast to have slowed sharply in the first quarter as the manufacturing sector faced headwinds from sluggish global demand, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

Gross domestic product probably grew 0.5 per cent in January-March from the previous three months on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis, according to the median forecast in the survey.

That would be well below the 4.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth posted in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The poll of 15 economists also picked GDP to grow 1.8 per cent from a year earlier, slowing from the 2.1 per cent expansion seen in the October-December quarter.

Such a pace would be slightly below the government forecast for full-year GDP growth in 2015 of 2.0-4.0 per cent.

The advance estimate of Singapore's first quarter GDP will be released on April 14, at 8am local time (0000 GMT). The city-state's central bank will also release its semiannual monetary policy statement at the same time.

"Manufacturing sector will be the main drag... I think a quarterly, year-on-year contraction in manufacturing is almost a given," said Irvin Seah, senior economist for DBS Bank.

Industrial production in January and February shrank on average by about 1.2 per cent from a year earlier according to official data, while a survey of purchasing managers showed manufacturing activity shrank in March for a fourth straight month. Exports have also been weak.

DBS Bank's Mr Seah added that GDP will probably avoid a quarter-on-quarter contraction, helped by growth in the services sector, likely underpinned by financial services.

REUTERS