Singapore’s economic growth disappointed in the fourth quarter, as manufacturing contracted and tourism slumped.
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.5 percent from a year earlier in the quarter, compared with expectations for 2.0 percent growth, according to a Reuters poll. GDP grew 1.6 percent on-quarter, compared with 3.0 percent forecast in the poll.
“This is Singapore’s new normal,” said Song Seng Wun, head of research at CIMB. “Unless we see a very strong turnaround in the external demand picture or a remarkable leap in overall productivity, gone will be the days of five-to-eight percent growth.”
Song attributed the slower growth in part to overall lower global economic growth, with both the IMF and the World Bank repeatedly cutting their forecasts last year.
“Being a small open economy that depends on external demand to drive growth, any slip in the overall global demand picture will transmit very quickly into Singapore’s growth,” Song said.
Manufacturing in the quarter contracted 5.8 percent from the previous quarter and 2.0 percent on-year. The services segment grew 3.8 percent on-quarter and 2.6 percent on-year.
But Song also noted that domestic factors contributed to the GDP miss, noting total visitor arrivals slipped 3.3 percent in the first 10 months of the year.