Singapore economy to see patchy sectoral performance but stronger global growth will give overall lift: MAS

SINGAPORE - The disparate growth performance of different sectors in recent months reflects the increasing complexity of Singapore's economy, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in its bi-annual Macroeconomic Review released on Tuesday.

While the oil-related industries were buffeted by a fall in global oil prices towards the end of last year, sentiment-sensitive segments in the financial services sector benefited from large payoffs in fund management and volatility in the foreign exchange market.

Meanwhile, the expansion in the global IT industry provided some lift to the domestic electronics cluster, but the challenges of restructuring continued to be a drag.

There have also been divergences within the sector - the profitability of firms geared towards services-based manufacturing, such as design and development of IT hardware, was much higher than for firms engaged in traditional production activities.

Following two quarters of uneven growth, the profile of the domestic economy for the rest of the year will be shaped by various crosswinds, the MAS said.

While the broad macroeconomic outlook is expected to be positive, the extent to which Singapore will benefit from the cyclical uplift will depend on developments in specific markets and industries.

The recovery in the United States, Japan and Euro zone should provide a fillip to the external-oriented sectors but this will be offset by a slowdown in China.

Likewise, the global IT industry is expected to benefit from firmer demand in the developed economies in 2015 but ongoing consolidation in the industry may have spillover effects on the domestic electronics sector as firms restructure and rationalise their global operations.

Some strengthening of global oil prices in the latter half of the year could provide support to the oil-related manufacturing segments, which saw a pullback following the collapse in oil prices late last year.

Still, there will be lingering weakness in segments such as transport engineering, due to the downshift in oil exploration activities.

Meanwhile, the domestic-oriented industries will be supported by firm demand and a temporary respite from the deferment in foreign worker levy hikes.