Economists raise 2017 Singapore growth forecast, says MAS survey


Most economists expect the MAS to keep policy unchanged, after growth picked up late last year, while inflationary pressures are seen likely to remain relatively subdued.

SINGAPORE: Economists raised their forecasts for Singapore’s growth this year as they upgraded their views on the manufacturing sector and exports, a central bank survey showed on Wednesday.

The median forecast of 23 economists surveyed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was for gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 2.3% in 2017, up from the 1.5% estimated in the previous survey published in December.

That would mark a slight pick-up from 2.0% growth recorded in 2016, and would be in the upper half of the government’s official 2017 GDP forecast range of 1-3%.

Economists now expect the manufacturing sector to expand 4.5% in 2017, up from 1.1 percent in the December survey. Non-oil domestic exports are expected to grow 6.1% in 2017, up from the previous median forecast of 0.3% growth.

The median forecast for year-on-year GDP growth in the first quarter was 2.6%, up from 1.3% previously.

But that would be slightly slower than the fourth quarter of last year, when GDP expanded 2.9% from a year earlier. Compared with the previous quarter, GDP grew 12.3% on an annualized basis in the October-December quarter.

The central bank’s core inflation gauge was seen likely to rise 1.5% for the whole of 2017, up from the previous median forecast of 1.3%.

According to the latest MAS survey, economists’ median forecast for all-items CPI inflation in 2017 was unchanged at 1.0%.

Economists estimated that the Singapore dollar will trade at 1.4600 against the US dollar by end-2017. It was trading near 1.4145 on Wednesday.

Singapore’s advance estimate of first quarter GDP and the central bank’s twice-yearly monetary policy decision, are both expected to be released in mid-April.

Most economists expect the MAS to keep policy unchanged, after growth picked up late last year, while inflationary pressures are seen likely to remain relatively subdued.

(FMT NEWS)

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