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SINGAPORE – Singapore’s economy wrapped up 2021 with its fastest growth in more than a decade, putting behind the Republic’s worst recession the year before when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
The economy grew 7.2 per cent last year, the most since 2010 and higher than earlier estimates, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Monday (Jan 3).
MTI in November last year had predicted that gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2021 would come in at about 7 per cent, the top end of an earlier forecast range of 6 per cent to 7 per cent. The economy had contracted by 5.4 per cent in 2020.
In his New Year address last Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the Singapore economy is expected to grow by 3 per cent to 5 per cent in 2022 – reiterating MTI’s maiden forecast for the year in November.
For the fourth quarter of 2021, the economy expanded 5.9 per cent year on year, moderating from the 7.1 per cent growth in the previous quarter, which was fuelled by a low base comparison.
Economists in a Bloomberg poll had forecast fourth-quarter GDP growth at 5.1 per cent year on year and full-year 2021 expansion at 7.1 per cent.
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, the economy expanded 2.6 per cent in the October to December quarter, faster than the 1.2 per cent growth in the preceding quarter, MTI said.
Manufacturing was the best performing sector in the final quarter of 2021, with output swelling by 14 per cent year on year, almost double the 7.9 per cent growth in the third quarter.
The sector grew 12.8 per cent through the whole of 2021, up from 7.3 per cent the year before.
MTI said manufacturing growth during the quarter was supported by output expansions in all clusters. In particular, the electronics and precision engineering clusters continued to record strong output growth, driven by sustained global demand for semiconductors and semiconductor equipment respectively.
The construction sector grew by 2 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter of 2021, slower than the 66.3 per cent growth in the preceding quarter.
In absolute terms, the value-added of the sector remained 26 per cent below its pre-Covid-19 level – during the fourth quarter of 2019 – as activity at construction worksites continued to be weighed down by labour shortages due to border restrictions on the entry of migrant workers, MTI said.
The sector still managed full-year growth of 18.7 per cent – a sharp rebound from the 35.9 per cent contraction in 2020.
The services industries expanded by 4.6 per cent in the fourth quarter and 5.2 per cent through last year. The sector shrank by 4.7 per cent in the corresponding fourth quarter of 2020 when full-year growth contracted by 6.9 per cent.
The expansion in services was led by the information and communications, finance and insurance, and professional services sectors that collectively expanded by 6 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2021, moderating from the 8 per cent growth in the previous quarter.
The full-year 2021 growth for these industries came in at 6.8 per cent.
MTI said it will release the preliminary GDP estimates for the fourth quarter and whole of 2021, including performance by sectors, sources of growth, inflation, employment and productivity, in its Economic Survey report due in February.
By Ovais Subhani
Published : January 03, 2022
By : The Straits Times