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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        19  May 2011

Singapore raises growth forecast

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Singapore raised its 2011 economic growth forecast Thursday after a strong first quarter led by a surge in manufacturing.

The Trade and Industry Ministry said it expects gross domestic product to expand between 5 percent and 7 percent this year, one percentage point more than the government's previous forecast.

The economy grew 8.3 percent in the January-to-March period from a year earlier and jumped a seasonally adjusted annualized 22.5 percent last quarter, the ministry said in a statement.

"Overall, first quarter GDP growth has been broad-based and robust," DBS bank said in a report. "Strong regional demand juxtaposed with steady recovery in the U.S. should deliver enough growth gas in the second half of the year to deliver that 7 percent full year growth."

Singapore's economy - which relies on manufacturing, finance and tourism - soared 14.5 percent last year as growing Asian consumer demand fueled a boom in exports and visitor arrivals.

The ministry said last month in preliminary results that the economy in the first quarter had grown 8.5 percent from a year earlier and 24 percent from the previous quarter.

Manufacturing rose 13 percent from a year ago and 75 percent from the previous quarter, led by pharmaceutical production, the ministry said. Services increased 7.3 percent and construction was up 2.4 percent from a year ago.

The ministry said downside risks include sovereign debt sustainability in Europe, higher oil prices, and a prolonged disruption of industrial activities in Japan. But global economic growth, especially in Asia, will likely continue to support Singapore's expansion, it said.

"The advanced economies remain on a path of modest recovery," the ministry said "In emerging Asia, growth is expected to remain healthy."

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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