Singapore likely to clock 3% growth in 2018: Economists

Economists expect growth next year to be steady even as it moderates slightly with an expansion of 3 per cent. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Private sector economists are expecting Singapore's 2017 full-year growth to come in at 3.3 per cent, up from an earlier 2.5 per cent forecast in September.

Economists also expect growth next year to be steady even as it moderates slightly with an expansion of 3 per cent, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) Survey of Professional Forecasters.

Some 23 economists and analysts responded to the latest quarterly survey.

Their expectations are in line with forecasts by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). The MTI recently upgraded Singapore's growth forecast for 2017 to 3 to 3.5 per cent, up from an earlier estimate of 2 to 3 per cent. For 2018, the economy is expected to expand between 1.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent, with growth likely to come in around the middle of the range.

Since the last survey in September, respondents have lifted their forecasts for most economic indicators for 2017, including manufacturing, finance & insurance, wholesale & retail trade, private consumption and non-oil domestic exports.

The two indicators that either maintained or had a downward revision in their forecasts are construction and accommodation & food services.

The headline inflation forecast for 2017 edged down to 0.6 per cent, from the 0.8 per cent reported in the last survey. Core inflation is also expected to come down slightly to 1.5 per cent from 1.6 per cent in the previous survey.

However, both headline and core inflation are expected to go up in 2018 to one per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.

On the labour front, respondents expect the unemployment rate to be 2.2 per cent at year-end, unchanged from the previous survey.

The top three downside risks for the Singapore economy are still a slowdown in China, geopolitics and trade protectionism.

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