Economists expect Singapore economy in 2015 to grow at lower end of government forecasts

The Singapore economy grew a disappointing 1.5 per cent in the last three months of 2014, according to advance estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The Singapore economy grew a disappointing 1.5 per cent in the last three months of 2014, according to advance estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Singapore economy grew a disappointing 1.5 per cent in the last three months of 2014, according to advance estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Friday.

For the whole of 2014, the economy is estimated to have grown by 2.8 per cent, down from 2013's 3.9 per cent.

For this year, the Government expects growth to come in between 2 and 4 per cent.

Here's what some private sector economists are saying:


Selena Ling, OCBC:

"For the whole year, GDP growth clocked in at 2.8 per cent, which is significantly softer than 2013's 3.9 per cent.

Even though manufacturing improved, this was insufficient to offset the construction and services sectors easing amid the economic restructuring and tightening labour market conditions.

In particular, construction activity halved from 6.1 per cent growth in 2013 to 3 per cent in 2014, while services also moderated from 5.3 per cent to 3.1 per cent during the same period, and the foreign manpower policies are increasingly binding on the supply side, while demand conditions have been reined in by cooling measures as well."

Forecast for 2015 growth: 2 to 3 per cent


Chua Hak Bin, Bank of America Merrill Lynch:

"Restructuring is impacting labor-intensive industries, hurting manufacturing and exports disproportionately, and accelerating the shift towards a more services-based economy. Productivity growth has been slow to deliver. Furthermore, the external environment remains challenging, with sluggish Europe and Japan growth, and a slower China."

Forecast for 2015 growth: 2.8 per cent


Ng Weiwen and Glenn Maguire, ANZ:

"Economic restructuring is a necessary evil. However, Singapore is at risk of being less nimble to ride on any global economic upswing, with productivity gains currently insufficient to mitigate its restructuring pains.

We expect no quick respite in the current sluggish economic growth momentum with productivity growth constrained by the ongoing transition period required by firms to reduce their reliance on foreign labour, particularly in construction and services."