Singapore's 2017 growth forecast to remain at 2.5%: MAS survey

Singapore's 2017 growth forecast to remain at 2.5%: MAS survey

Workers at the Raffles Place financial district in Singapore. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)
SINGAPORE: Singapore's economic growth this year is expected to remain at 2.5 per cent, according to private-sector economists polled in a quarterly survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Wednesday (Sep 6).This forecast remains unchanged from the previous survey in June earlier this year.In August, the Government forecast full-year growth for the Singapore economy of 2 to 3 per cent, narrowing this from an earlier range of 1 to 3 per cent as data showed the economy growing more quickly than expected.The Singapore economy expanded by 2.9 per cent in the second quarter of the year.Manufacturing is expected to continue its turnaround from the end of last year, with economists surveyed predicting growth of 6.6 per cent for the sector, up from their 5 per cent growth prediction in June's survey.The finance and insurance industry is expected to post the second-highest growth of 2.9 per cent, an increase from the 1.9 per cent growth predicted previously.
In contrast, the growth forecast for the construction sector was severely cut - economists now predict the sector will contract by 4.2 per cent, a sharp drop from the 0.2 per cent growth predicted in the previous survey. Similarly, the accommodation and food services sector is predicted to contract by 1.5 per cent, a drop from the 1 per cent growth predicted in June.Economists raised their forecast for non-oil domestic exports, predicting growth of 7.4 per cent, up from 5.6 per cent in the previous forecast.
INFLATION LIKELY TO COME IN AT 0.8%
Inflation for 2017 is predicted to come in at 0.8 per cent, a slight decrease from the 0.9 per cent predicted in the last survey. Core inflation – which excludes accommodation and car prices – is expected to come in at 1.6 per cent, a slight increase from June.
The unemployment rate is expected to be 2.2 per cent at the end of the year, lower than the 2.4 per cent predicted in the previous survey.
For 2018, the median forecast is for GDP growth to reach 2.5 per cent, while inflation is projected to come in at 1.4 per cent and core inflation at 1.6 per cent.
The MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters is conducted every quarter after the release of detailed economic data for the preceding three months. The median forecasts in the latest report were based on the estimates of 21 respondents, MAS said. 
Source: CNA/nc