Singapore economy rebounds with 0.2pc growth in Q1; first quarterly expansion in a year

This is an improvement from the 2.4 per cent contraction in the previous quarter, as the Singapore economy gradually recovers from its worst economic recession since independence, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. — TODAY pic
This is an improvement from the 2.4 per cent contraction in the previous quarter, as the Singapore economy gradually recovers from its worst economic recession since independence, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, April 14 — After a year of decline, Singapore’s economy has turned the corner, expanding by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter last year.

This is an improvement from the 2.4 per cent contraction in the previous quarter, as the economy gradually recovers from its worst economic recession since independence, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The figures are based on gross domestic product (GDP) advanced estimates released today by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

MTI also maintained its November forecast of a 4.0 to 6.0 per cent growth this year, after the economy had shrunk by 5.4 per cent last year. 

On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 2.0 per cent in the first quarter. This marks the third consecutive quarter of growth, after a 9.0 per cent and 3.8 per cent increase in the third and fourth quarters last year respectively. 

The growth in the first quarter was led by the manufacturing sector, specifically the electronics, precision engineering, chemicals and biomedical manufacturing clusters, which grew by 7.5 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.

The construction sector was yet again the worst performer, shrinking by 20.2 per cent over the same period. Still, this was an improvement on the sector’s 27.4 per cent contraction in the previous quarter. 

“The improved performance came on the back of a pickup in public and private sector construction activities in the first quarter as compared to the previous quarter,” said MTI. 

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, the construction sector grew by 8.4 per cent, extending the 55.6 per cent growth in the preceding quarter.

Output in the wholesale and retail trade, as well as the transportation and storage sectors, fell by 4.1 per cent in the first quarter, moderating from the 6.4 per cent contraction in the previous quarter.

In particular, the transportation and storage sector continued to shrink due to the impact of the pandemic on the air, water and land transport segments. 

By contrast, the wholesale trade and retail trade sectors expanded. 

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, the group of sectors posted growth of 0.9 per cent, slower than the 4.1 per cent registered in the fourth quarter of last year.

Accommodation and food services, real estate, administrative and support services and other services industries contracted by 3.9 per cent, compared to a year ago, an improvement from the 9.9 per cent contraction in the previous quarter.  

Apart from accommodation, all sectors within the group contracted as activities continued to be weighed down by constraints arising from the implementation of safe management measures. 

“The accommodation sector expanded from a low base and was supported by domestic demand as tourism demand stayed weak,” said MTI. 

The information and communications, finance and insurance as well as professional services sectors grew by 3.7 per cent.

This is an improvement from the 2.4 per cent contraction in the previous quarter, as the Singapore economy gradually recovers from its worst economic recession since independence, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. — TODAY

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