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Investments in Singapore last year beats expectations

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$15b investment commitment exceeds EDB's expectation of $8b to $10b

Despite a challenging year weighed down by global economic uncertainties, Singapore beat expectations for investment commitments last year.

It secured $15.2 billion in investments, which are expected to create more than 32,000 jobs over the coming years, the Economic Development Board (EDB) announced at its year-in-review yesterday.

Large manufacturing investments from semiconductor as well as energy and chemical companies were key to the surge in investments.

Technology firm Micron expanded its presence here with a multi-billion-dollar investment, while gas giant Linde pumped in $1.9 billion to quadruple its footprint in the Republic by 2023.

EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin said the strong investment commitment numbers reflect companies' confidence in Singapore's strong fundamentals and its strategic position in a fast-growing Asia.

The $15.2 billion of investment commitments beat the EDB's forecast of $8 billion to $10 billion for the year, and exceeded 2018's $10.9 billion figure. The electronics industry accounted for some 28.4 per cent of investments.

The projects committed to last year are expected to contribute $29.4 billion in value-added per annum - the direct contribution to Singapore's gross domestic product.

Total business expenditure, which refers to companies' incremental annual operating expenditure such as on wages and rental, was $9 billion. This exceeded the forecast of $5 billion to $7 billion.

EDB managing director Chng Kai Fong highlighted three reasons for the strong investment commitments: Singapore's position at the heart of a growing Asia that provides companies with access to the booming region, trust in the Republic and the stability it offers, and the sophisticated capabilities of its economy.

He said EDB will continue to strengthen Singapore's position as a platform for companies to tap opportunities in the region, reinforce its role as a hub for companies to develop digital solutions, and support companies in their innovation journeys.

Mr Sanjiv Lamba, Linde Asia-Pacific chief executive, said the company's $1.9 billion commitment to Singapore last year is its largest ever worldwide.

"For over 20 years, Linde has continuously strengthened our presence and operations in Singapore through multiple investments, made possible by its excellent infrastructure, abundant highly skilled workforce and stable and friendly business environment," he said.

Meanwhile, EDB is moving away from yearly forecasts to long-to-medium term ones to reflect how firms plan their investment positions.

From this multi-year perspective, EDB still expects to draw $8 billion to $10 billion in investment commitments and create around 16,000 to 18,000 expected jobs yearly.