SINGAPORE: Singapore economy grew 3.6 percent in 2017, faster than the 2.4-percent growth in 2016, thanks to robust expansion of the manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Wednesday.
The figure was slightly higher than the advance GDP estimates of 3.5 percent made by the MTI in early January, recording the strongest performance since 2014's 3.9-percent growth.
According to the Economic Survey of Singapore 2017 published by the MTI on Wednesday, for the whole year, Singapore's manufacturing sector expanded 10.1 percent, accelerating from the 3.7-percent growth in 2016. Growth was largely driven by the electronics and precision engineering clusters, even as the biomedical manufacturing, transport engineering and general manufacturing clusters contracted.
Meanwhile, the construction sector shrank by 8.4 percent, a reversal of the 1.9-percent growth in 2016, while the services producing industries grew by 2.8 percent, higher than the 1.4-percent growth in 2016.
The main drivers of Singapore's economic growth in 2017 were manufacturing, finance and insurance, and wholesale and retail trade, with their contribution to the growth hitting 1.8 percentage point, 0.6 percentage point and 0.4 percentage point, respectively.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Singapore economy grew 3.6 percent on a year-on-year basis thanks to expansion of the service sector, beating market expectation though still easing from the 5.5 percent growth in the third quarter due to sharp contraction of the manufacture sector.
Looking into 2018, the MTI predicts that Singapore's economy is expected to see moderate growth in 2018 but remain firm.
The external demand outlook for Singapore is expected to be slightly weaker in 2018, especially in many of its key final demand markets such as the Eurozone, Japan and ASEAN-5.MTI lists trade protectionism, uprising inflation risks in the U.S. as the downside risks for the global economy in 2018, saying these risks may cause global financial conditions to tighten more than anticipated, and potentially lead to sharp corrections in financial markets.