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 10 Apr 2009

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Singapore to revise growth outlook down

Singapore's economy will contract more than expected as its exports continue to be hit by the global downturn, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Thursday.

He was reported by The Straits Times online edition as saying there would be a downward revision to the government's forecast of a contraction of between 2.0 and 5.0 percent this year.

There was no mention of when the revised outlook would be made, although the government is expected to release preliminary economic data for the first quarter of 2009 next week.

Export-dependent Singapore was the first Asian nation to sink into a recession, when data released in October last year showed the economy contracted for two straight quarters in the three months to September.

The country's influential founding father Lee Kuan Yew, also the father of the prime minister, said last month the economy may shrink by as much as 10 percent if exports continue to fall sharply.

A 10 percent shrinkage in the gross domestic product would be four times worse than the city-state's worst recession in 2001 when the economy contracted 2.4 percent, he said. The economy grew 1.1 percent in 2008 and 7.8 percent in 2007.




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