Faster-than-expected ramp-up in new chemicals capacities helped Q1 GDP beat advance estimate: MTI

SINGAPORE - The upward revision in Singapore's first quarter economic growth was due to the improved performance of the manufacturing and services sectors, a Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) spokesman said on Tuesday.

The less-weak factory output is due to better-than-expected performance in the chemicals cluster as a result of a faster-than-expected ramp-up in new capacities, the spokesman told the Straits Times. As a result, first quarter manufacturing activity contracted at a slower pace of 2.7 per cent from a year ago. The advance estimate was for a 3.4 per cent decline.

Services industries grew 3.8 per cent in the first quarter. The advance estimate was for a 3.1 per cent growth. The MTI official said the finance, insurance, wholesale and retail trade sectors contributed to the stronger activity.

The Singapore economy as a whole grew a moderate 2.6 per cent in the first three months of 2015 over the same period a year ago, beating the 2.1 per cent advance estimate released in April, MTI announced earlier on Monday.

MTI's advance estimates are "based largely on the first two months of data in the quarter", the spokesman said.

"As new data becomes available, the GDP (gross domestic product) data will be revised to take into account the new information."