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Singapore Business Forecast Report Q2 2013 - new country guide report published
Singapore Business Forecast Report Q2 2013 - a new country guide report on 2014-03-10 11:40:03
The recent uptick in expect demand is unlikely to mark the beginning of a forceful recovery, and given Singapores dependence on export demand, we are forecasting for the economy to recover only slightly in 2013, to 2.5% growth. 2012-2013 appears to be an inflection point for Singapores economy as it shifts away from the export-led growth that it experienced over the past decade. Although we expect the city-state to see a slight revival in its export fortunes in 2013 in line with a moderate growth rebound in Asia, we see import growth outrunning exports for the second straight year, marking the beginning of a longer-term trend.

Key Forecast Changes

Although Singapores economy has thus far avoided a technical recession, it is not yet out of the woods, with the threat of stagflation once again on the radar. As a result of slower-than-expected growth, due to poor demand for Singapores particular mix of exports (especially its heavily IC-weighted electronics exports), we have downgraded our full-year 2013 GDP growth forecast to 2.5%, from a previous forecast of 3.6%. In December 2012, Singapore inflation broke its trend of moderation that it embarked on since September, rising back to 4.3%, due to stubborn housing and transportation costs. While we retain our end-2013 inflation target of 2.5%, we note that risks to this forecast remain to the upside, given that ongoing supply limitations in the aforementioned categories will keep prices elevated for a more extended period.

Key Risks To Outlook

Despite their continued health, a longer-than-expected downturn in global economic activity, or an acute financial or economic crisis stemming from either the eurozone or the US potential fiscal cliff could erode the remaining strength in both the labour and asset markets in Singapore. In such a case, the very low unemployment rate of 1.9% could rise towards 2.5%, and private property prices could see a sharp correction. With inflation stubbornly remaining above its long-term average, Singapore is once again in stagflationary territory. Headline inflation hit 4.3% in December 2012, up considerably from 3.6% in November. Although our forecasts do not indicate that inflation will outpace growth in 2013, we believe that risks of this phenomenon are growing.

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Mike King
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