Outlook for 2018

Singapore has plenty to offer investors, with one of the strongest earnings growth and lowest valuations among Asean markets, according to the CFA Society Singapore (CFAS) panel.

It also provides one of the highest dividend yields - around 3.2 per cent - partly due to the strong Reit presence here, it added.

Data from the Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI) underlines the momentum: Gross domestic product expanded 5.2 per cent year on year in the third quarter, with manufacturing up 18.4 per cent from the previous year and its 15th straight month of growth.

Almost all other sectors, including the service, finance, insurance, wholesale and retail trade, transportation and storage industries, also registered expansion in the quarter.

The only important laggard was construction, which contracted 7.6 per cent. The sector's performance continues to be poor because of weakness in both private-sector and public-sector building activity.

The property market has been in a slump since 2013 and has yet to bounce back. But home prices recently recorded their first quarterly increase in four years, signalling that the sector could be poised for recovery.

The CFAS panel says that overall recovery is likely to broaden from the manufacturing sector to the rest of the economy next year.

"According to the MTI forecast, the economy as a whole is expected to grow by '3 per cent to 3.5 per cent' in 2017, with growth steadying but still firm at '1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent' in 2018," said the panel.

"The expansion will be driven by manufacturing and supported by wholesale trade, transportation and storage and finance and insurance - sectors expected to benefit as the global economy recovers."

Lorna Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'Outlook for 2018'. Print Edition | Subscribe