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Growth in Singapore services sector revenue eases to 4.1% in Q4

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Singapore's services industries saw more takings in the last quarter of 2018, although growth was slower than before, according to data from the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE'S services industries saw more takings in the last quarter of 2018, although growth was slower than before, according to data from the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Wednesday.

Overall services' business receipts were 4.1 per cent higher than the same period the year before, but eased from the third-quarter revenue growth, which was revised downwards to 7.2 per cent.

This took full-year revenue growth to 6.8 per cent, the same level of growth seen in 2017. While led by finance and insurance, all the service industries polled reported higher turnover.

Improvement in the quarter was fuelled by the information and communications services industry, where revenue rose 7.2 per cent, as well as financial and insurance, up by 6.9 per cent.

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Transport and storage services turnover was up by 6.1 per cent, with SingStat noting that the water transport segment saw higher demand for its services in the quarter.

Meanwhile, health and social services receipts grew by 5.4 per cent.

Revenue growth for business services, which includes real estate, travel, security and professional services, cooled to 1.3 per cent, from 5.8 per cent in the previous quarter.

But two segments saw receipts shrink: education, where revenue declined by 2.6 per cent, and recreation and personal services, down by 1.3 per cent on lower contributions from attractions.

SingStat noted that the lower turnover in education reflects a payment cycle where higher education institutions tend to collect more tuition and fees in the first and third quarters.

On a quarterly basis, business receipts rose by 2.2 per cent in the fourth quarter on the three months prior, compared with 1.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth previously.

The Business Receipts Index, which leaves out wholesale and retail trade and accommodation and food services, measures short-term changes in services income from business operations on a quarterly basis.

Recent economic data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed growth in all services industries in 2018, led by information and communications, and finance and insurance.