Singapore’s economy expected to slightly recover by 2009-end


Singapore : Singapore’s economy is expected to recover slightly in the final quarter of 2009, just after sliding even deeper into recession during the first three quarters of the year, a survey by the city-state’s central bank showed Monday.

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A poll of 20 economists and analysts by the Monetary Authority of Singapore in February showed they expect Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) to fall 8.5 percent in the first quarter 2009 compared to the same period a year ago.

That would be double the 4.2 percent shrinkage Singapore posted for GDP in the fourth quarter of 2008.

According to a median forecast in the survey, Singapore’s GDP is likely to fall 6.9 percent and 4.6 percent in the second and third quarter, respectively, before growing by 0.5 percent in the final quarter 2009.

For the whole of 2009 the economists expect the island state’s GDP to contract by 4.9 percent, just within the government’s forecast which gave a shrinkage range between 2 and 5 percent.

For 2010, the poll showed a more optimistic outlook with the experts giving an average forecast of 3.3 percent GDP growth.

The forecasts reflected the views of 20 respondents to the survey, the central bank said.

The city state reached a GDP growth of just 1.1 percent in 2008, down from 7.8 percent a year earlier.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew warned in February that the economy could shrink between 8 percent and 10 percent in 2009, if exports continue to slump.

In January, Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports decreased a heavy 35 percent compared to a year earlier, following a 21 percent decline in the preceding month.

Export data for February was expected to be released Tuesday.