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January 3, 2008

Growth moderates to 6 percent in Q4

Singapore's economy saw slower-than-expected growth of 6 percent in the fourth quarter, following a 9 percent gain in the previous quarter, due to a fall in manufacturing output, the government announced Wednesday.

"Growth of the Singapore economy moderated in the fourth quarter of 2007. Advance estimates show that real gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 6 percent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter," said the Trade and Industry Ministry.

It added that on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualized basis, real GDP fell by 3.2 percent, compared with 4.4 percent gain a quarter earlier, reflecting a slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

For 2007 as a whole, Singapore's economy expanded by 7.5 percent, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Monday in his New Year message, saying "Singapore has enjoyed another year of robust expansion, although the fourth quarter saw slower growth."

The 7.5 percent-growth for 2007 is lower than 7.9 percent in 2006, and is also at the lower end of the government's full-year outlook of 7.5-8.0 percent.

Lee forecast growth in 2008 to range from 4.5-6.5 percent.

In the fourth quarter, growth in the manufacturing sector is estimated to have decelerated to 0.5 percent from 10.3 percent in the third quarter, largely due to a fall in the output of the biomedical manufacturing cluster. On the other hand, transport engineering cluster continued to register double-digit growth in the quarter.

The construction sector is estimated to have expanded strongly by 24.4 percent, on the heels of 19.2 percent growth a quarter earlier, while the services producing industries are estimated to have grown by 8.3 percent, same as the previous quarter.

The advance GDP estimates are computed largely from October and November. The preliminary GDP estimates for the fourth quarter and whole year 2007 will be released in February.

Courtesy Xinhua

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