Singapore's Q4 GDP up 1.8%, 2015 growth at 2%

THE Singapore economy grew at a slightly slower-than-expected 1.8 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2015, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Wednesday morning, as the manufacturing sector contracted more than anticipated and services expanded at a slower pace than initially thought.

This came under the initial flash estimate of 2 per cent growth, and brought full-year 2015 growth to 2 per cent.

This full-year growth figure was exactly in line with private-sector economists' consensus forecast, and the government's earlier estimate of "close to 2 per cent" expansion.

The Singapore government maintained its 2016 full-year growth forecast of 1-3 per cent.

After seasonal adjustments and on an annualised basis, though, the economy performed better than earlier thought. It grew 6.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter, above the flash estimate of a 5.7 per cent expansion, and the market's forecast of 4.5 per cent growth.

This was thanks to a faster pace of expansion in the services sector, which offset a deeper-than-anticipated contraction in the manufacturing sector.

Looking ahead, MTI provided a litany of downside risks to growth in 2016 - both external and internal - including the continued slowdown in China and sustained low commodity prices, as well as the weak outlook for the domestic manufacturing sector.

Still, MTI said: "Growth for the year is expected to be supported by strengthening growth in the advanced economies, even as conditions in the emerging markets remain challenging."

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