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9 November 2009

Singapore’s top leader says economy looks healthy

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Singapore's economy may grow by three per cent next year, and added that this year's fourth quarter looks healthy after Singapore's economy bounced back in the second and third quarters, TV broadcaster Channel News Asia quoted the city-state’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew as saying Sunday.

Speaking at an annual tree planting ceremony at his constituency of Tanjong Pagar, Lee said Singapore has emerged out of the recession with minimum damage.

He said the first quarter was the country's worst period with a sudden drop in exports, and at that point of time, Singapore had expected growth to shrink by up to nine percent.

However, the country's economy has bounced back in the second and third quarters this year.

Lee added that Singaporeans must be prepared for slower economic growth, but said that slower growth in the nation and other countries in Asia will still be higher than other regions of the world.

"We have a small population, and we must find ways and means to fill up the drop in our exports," Lee explained. "Fortunately, we have gone into industries like pharmaceuticals that have not been so badly affected by the slowdown.

"We are placed at the junction of three big economies that are not export-dependent, in other words, exports are not a high proportion of their GDP. They have huge domestic markets: China with 1.3 billion people and India 1.1 billion. Their domestic consumption and investments have enabled their economies to continue achieving positive growth despite a slowdown in exports.

"The rest of East and Southeast Asia have the benefit of the overflow effect from China and India. Furthermore, we have free trade agreements with China and India that will give us an advantage over other regions.


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