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NEWS UPDATES 11 August 2010

Singapore growth slows

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SINGAPORE'S economy is expected to grow more slowly in the second half of 2010 after expanding nearly 18 percent in the first six months, the government said Tuesdayday.

However, the trade ministry maintained its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 13 and 15 percent for 2010, which analysts said would make Singapore the world's fastest growing economy.

Figures from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) showed GDP grew 18.8 percent in the April-June period, faster than the previous quarter's 16.9 percent surge.

For the first half, GDP was up 17.9 percent from the same period the year before, the MTI said, adding however that this pace of growth was unlikely to continue in the second half of the year.

"The global economy is expected to remain on a modest recovery path, albeit one that will continue to ease for the rest of the year," it said in a statement. "For the Singapore economy, the strong growth momentum in the first half of 2010 is not likely to continue into the second half of the year, although growth rates will remain healthy."

Singapore's small and open economy shrank 1.3 percent in 2009 due to the US-led global economic downturn, but has since rebounded quickly.

Irvin Seah, an economist with Singapore's DBS bank, said the projected slowdown in growth for the second half was a healthy sign and ruled out a double-dip recession.

In a separate statement, the government's trade promotion body, International Enterprise Singapore, said the country's key exports had risen by 28 percent in the second quarter from the year before, accelerating from a 23 percent rise in the first quarter.

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