Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Singapore economy to slow to 3% in 2012: MAS survey

SINGAPORE - Singapore's economy will grow by 3.0 per cent in 2012, slowing from an expected 5.2 per cent in 2011 as the global economy and financial services sector cool, according to central bank's survey of private economists released on Wednesday.

The median forecast is at the upper end of the government's growth forecast range of 1-3 per cent for 2012.

The survey also expects the Singapore dollar to strengthen to $1.23 against the US dollar by the end of 2012 from an estimate of S$1.28 by the end of the year. It traded around $1.31 at 0300 GMT.

Asian economies have slowed in recent months, hurt by the euro zone debt crisis that has resulted in weaker demand for the region's exports.

The survey showed that growth in financial services sector in Singapore, which is one of Asia's biggest wealth management centre, is expected to slow to 4.2 per cent in 2012 from a forecast of 9.4 per cent in 2011.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) latest Survey of Professional Forecasters, economists now expect inflation in the city state to ease to 3.1 per cent next year from 5.1 per cent in 2011.

Singapore, like many Asian countries, is grappling with high inflation even as growth slows because of troubles in Western countries.

Economists in the survey have cut their forecast for this year's growth slightly to 5.2 per cent from 5.3 per cent in the previous survey in September.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the October-December quarter of this year is now expected to be 4.4 per cent year-on-year, compared with 5.9 per cent in the previous survey.

For 2012, growth in financial services is expected to slow to 4.2 per cent from a forecast of 9.4 per cent in 2011.

Last month the Singapore government warned that the city-state's economy could contract in fourth-quarter growth, while 2012 GDP growth is likely to slow due to the weakness in the western economies.

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