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14 July 2009

Singapore's economy shows first sign of recovery

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Singapore's economy grew for the first time in a year, soaring 20 percent in the second quarter, as the country emerges from its worst-ever recession, the Associated Press quoted the government as saying Tuesday.

Gross domestic product jumped an annualised, seasonally adjusted 20.4 percent in the three months through June, compared with the previous quarter, the Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement.

It said GDP fell 3.7 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

The ministry said it now expects the economy to shrink between 4 percent and 6 percent this year, up from a previous forecast of a contraction between 6 percent and 9 percent.

"The revised 2009 forecast reflects the less severe contraction in the first half of the year, while the underlying economic conditions remain weak," the ministry said.

Singapore's economy, which relies on exports, finance and tourism, had contracted the previous four quarters, with an annualised, seasonally adjusted 16.4 percent drop in the October-December period marking its deepest recession since splitting from Malaysia in 1965.

The ministry said the economy fell an annualized, seasonally adjusted 12.7 percent in the first quarter, which is revised up from an initial estimate in April of a 19.7 percent contraction.

A surge in pharmaceutical production helped boost growth in the second quarter. Manufacturing fell 1.5 percent from a year ago compared to a 24 percent contraction in the first quarter, the ministry said. Construction rose 18 percent in the second quarter while services dropped 5.1 percent.

"A sizable part of Singapore's manufacturing uptick came from a spike in biomedical manufacturing output and electronics inventory restocking, both of which may not be sustained," the ministry said.


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