May 21, 2014

    Singapore Q1 growth lower than estimated

    THE Singapore economy grew 4.9 per cent in the first quarter of this year - below the Government's estimate of 5.1 per cent last month, in part due to a rebasing of national accounts from base year 2005 to 2010.

    Economists had widely expected that Q1 gross domestic product (GDP) growth would overshoot the flash estimate of 5.1 per cent year-on-year growth, given a surprise surge in manufacturing output in March.

    The 10 market economists polled by Reuters prior to the release of data by the Ministry of Trade and Industry yesterday had a median Q1 growth forecast of 5.5 per cent.

    Their forecast would have implied Q1 growth of a similar pace to that seen in Q4 2013 - initially said to be 5.5 per cent.

    After the Department of Statistics' regular rebasing exercise to compile real GDP growth on 2010 instead of 2005 prices, Q4 growth was adjusted to 4.9 per cent.

    Singapore thus achieved a similar rate of growth in Q1 of this year as it had in the quarter before, instead of the moderation that flash estimates showed.

    After seasonal adjustments, in annualised quarter-on-quarter terms, the economy grew 2.3 per cent in Q1. This was above the 0.1 per cent advance estimate last month, based largely on data for January and February.

    But it was still a slowdown from the 6.9 per cent growth notched up in Q4, which had been revised up from earlier growth of 6.1 per cent.

    Following the latest adjustments, the Singapore economy grew 3.9 per cent last year, down from the 4.1 per cent reported earlier.

    The Government has maintained its full-year forecast for growth of 2 to 4 per cent this year.