Singapore’s growth slows in Q4
Key risks to economy include rising protectionism and uncertainty over US-China ties
Singapore's economy grew more slowly than forecast in the fourth quarter after the manufacturing sector shrank.
It adds to concerns that a trade dispute between the US and China will drag on growth this year.
Rising trade protectionism and uncertainty over US-China relations are key risks in the coming months, although the impact from trade frictions have so far had only a limited impact on its small and open economy.
The trade-reliant economy grew 1.6 per cent in the October-December period from the previous three months on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement, slower than expectations.
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the manufacturing sector shrank 8.7 per cent, reversing from 3.1 per cent growth in the third quarter, data showed.
Gross domestic product was forecast to have expanded 3.2 per cent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, according to six economists surveyed by Reuters.
The economy grew a revised 3.5 per cent in the previous quarter.
From a year earlier, the economy grew 2.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, compared with the median forecast of 2.3 per cent in the Reuters survey and a revised 2.3 per cent growth in the third quarter.
The economy expanded 3.3 per cent for all of last year, slowing from a three-year high of 3.6 per cent the prior year.
The Government's forecast for last year's growth had been 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
Singapore is considered a bellwether for global growth because international trade - equating to about 200 per cent of its GDP - dwarfs its domestic economy.
Some economists have said that while growth is expected to slow this year, it may still expand at a sufficiently robust pace to justify more tightening by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
However, a significant deterioration in the growth outlook will increase the odds for the central bank to stay on hold in April when it makes its next decision.
The Government has a wide range for this year's GDP growth forecast of 1.5 per cent to 3.5 percent. - REUTERS