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Business

Singapore economic growth misses forecasts in first quarter

Agence France-Presse
Singapore economic growth misses forecasts in first quarter
People take pictures with the backdrop of the Merlion statue in Singapore on December 28, 2021.
AFP / Roslan Rahman

SINGAPORE, Singapore — Singapore's economy grew slower than expected in the first quarter, early data showed Friday, as a struggling manufacturing sector weighed on tourism spending from events including Taylor Swift's concerts.

The city-state's economic performance is often seen as a barometer of the global environment because of its reliance on international trade.

Gross domestic product expanded 2.7 percent on-year, the Trade Ministry said, faster than the previous three months but weaker than the 3.0 percent projected in a Bloomberg poll of economists.

It grew just 0.1 percent on-quarter.

The advance estimates are computed largely from data in January and February and are subject to revision when March figures come in.

Manufacturing, a pillar of the trade-reliant economy, rose 0.8 percent on-year and contracted 2.9 percent from October-December.

The services sector, which includes accommodation and food, grew 2.9 percent.

"In all likelihood, the slew of concerts which attracted many international visitors to Singapore's shores, did have a temporal boost to the consumer-facing industries, namely the hospitality and entertainment-related activities," said Selena Ling, chief economist at banking group OCBC.

Swift performed only in Singapore in March for the Southeast Asian leg of her Eras Tour, while Coldplay played in January and the Singapore Airshow, the biggest in Asia, was held in February.

Veteran economist Song Seng Wun said he expected an "upward adjustment" to the overall first quarter growth when the effects of Swift's concerts are fully counted.

There could also be "spillover effects" into March of spending from the Singapore Airshow, added Song, at financial services firm CGS International Singapore.

"The bottom line is that the economy is still recovering post-pandemic," he told AFP.

In a separate announcement, the central bank Monetary Authority of Singapore kept its monetary policy unchanged for a fourth straight time, saying it needed to keep inflation in check.

As the city-state imports most of its needs, it deals with imported inflation by allowing for a stronger Singapore dollar.

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ECONOMY

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