Singapore economy grows 2.1% for full-year 2015 and 2% in Q4: MTI flash estimates

The Singapore economy grew a modest 2.1 per cent in 2015.
The Singapore economy grew a modest 2.1 per cent in 2015. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The Singapore economy grew a modest 2.1 per cent in 2015, the weakest rate of growth since 2009 as tepid global demand continued to weigh on export-dependent sectors like manufacturing.

This is according to advance estimates released on Monday (Jan 4) by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which also showed the economy expanded 2 per cent year-on-year in the last three months of 2015. The estimates are subject to revision as they only take into account data from the first two months of the quarter.

MTI did not update its forecast for 2016. It previously tipped the economy to grow between 1-3 per cent this year.

Still the 2015 figures - which were in line with official expectations - topped those of private sector economists polled by Reuters who had predicted economic growth in the October to December quarter to have slowed to 1.3 per cent from 1.8 per cent in the third quarter.

For full-year 2015 GDP, economists had downgraded their forecast to 1.9 per cent from 2.2 per cent previously, according to the latest quarterly poll by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) last month. The Government's official forecast was for growth "close to 2 per cent". The economy expanded 2.9 per cent in 2014.

The manufacturing sector shrank 4.8 per cent over the whole year, weighed down by shrinking electronics, transport engineering and precision engineering output. This comes as manufacturing output slid 6 per cent in the fourth quarter over the same period a year ago, extending a 5.9 per cent slide in the preceding three months.

The economy was driven mainly by the services sector, which makes up two-thirds of gross domestic product and expanded 3.6 per cent for the whole of 2015. The sector grew 3.2 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, moderating slightly from 3.4 per cent in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the construction sector ticked up 1.1 per cent for the full year, following an expansion of 2.2 per cent in the fourth quarter over last year.