,An Air Force Chinook helicopter (left) is escorted by an Apache helicopter over the city as they parade the Singapore flag to mark National Day. — The Straits Times/AFP
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SINGAPORE: Singapore’s economy is set to expand at a faster clip than the government previously expected as the city-state shakes off an uptick in virus cases and looks to re-open more sectors through year-end.
Singapore revised its forecast for annual economic growth to 6%-7%, the Ministry of Trade & Industry said Wednesday as it reported final second-quarter data. In its initial second-quarter GDP report last month, the agency had left the annual forecast unchanged at 4%-6%.
Among nine economists surveyed by Bloomberg who updated their Singapore GDP forecasts this month, six saw growth exceeding 6%.
"Barring a major setback in the global economy, the Singapore economy is expected to continue to see a gradual recovery in the second half of the year, supported in large part by outward-oriented sectors,” the ministry said in a statement accompanying the data.
"The progressive easing of domestic and border restrictions as our vaccination rates continue to rise will also help to support the recovery of our consumer-facing sectors and alleviate labor shortages in sectors that are reliant on migrant workers.”
Singapore has remained a relative bright spot in Southeast Asia as the delta variant rips across the region, severely threatening economies that are struggling to boost their vaccination rates. Thailand reported a record high in daily virus deaths Tuesday, with Malaysia also recently setting new daily case records.
The Singapore dollar was largely unchanged after the data, at 1.36 to the U.S. dollar as of 8:37 a.m.
Singapore has fought some pockets of the delta variant over the past few months, but officials have allowed for further easing of restrictions given the city-state’s vaccination rate, with 70% of the population now fully inoculated. In a speech Sunday night on the eve of the country’s 56th independence day, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said residents could "look forward to a careful, step-by-step re-opening of our economy.”
What Bloomberg Economics Says...
"Singapore’s smaller second-quarter contraction and brighter outlook for 3Q boost the economy’s prospects for 2021 -- presenting upside risks to our forecast for 6.2% growth in 2021. With 70% of the population fully vaccinated earlier than targeted, the government already started to peel back virus curbs on Aug. 10, and will further ease restrictions on Aug. 19. Activity should gain significant momentum once herd immunity is reached in early September, allowing full reopening.”
-- Tamara Mast Henderson, Asean economist
The stronger GDP forecast is based on the assumption that the city-state’s vaccination rate will continue to improve from the current 70%, and that its borders will gradually reopen toward the end of the year, according to the Trade and Industry Ministry.