Singapore’s economy contracts 10.1 percent

May 21st, 2009 - 9:17 am ICT by IANS  

Singapore, May 21 (DPA) Singapore’s export-reliant economy contracted 10.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to a year ago and could shrink by 6 to 9 percent for the whole year, the government said Thursday.
Amid the global economic downturn, the city-state is in its worst recession since independence from Malaysia in 1965.

“There are still no decisive indicators of economic recovery,” the ministry of trade and industry said in a statement.

“At this point in time, any new risk, such as an acute worsening of the influenza A (H1N1) situation or undisclosed weaknesses in US or European banks coming to light, could set back the process of economic recovery by several quarters,” it said.

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 14.6 per cent in the period from January to March, compared to a decline of 16.4 per cent posted in the last quarter of 2008.

In the first three months of 2009, manufacturing slumped 26.6 per cent, worse than the contraction of 21.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

Service industries fell 10.3 per cent in the first quarter, less than their decline by 15 per cent a quarter earlier.

The final numbers released Thursday were slightly better than estimates issued in April, when the government expected GDP for the first quarter to shrink 11.5 percent year-on-year.

However, the ministry maintained its forecast that GDP for the whole of 2009 will drop as much as 9 percent.

In 2008, the Singapore economy grew by 1.1 percent, compared to 7.8 percent a year earlier.

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