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Singapore economy teeters on brink of technical recession despite slight uptick in growth

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) of Singapore reported on Friday (14 July) that the city-state has narrowly avoided a technical recession, defined by two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth.

In its advanced estimates, the MTI revealed that the Singapore economy grew by 0.7% on a year-on-year basis in Q2 2023, showing a more robust performance compared to the 0.4% growth recorded in the previous quarter.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy expanded by 0.3%, marking a significant turnaround from the 0.4% contraction seen in Q1 2023.

Despite these positive indicators, the manufacturing sector demonstrated a contraction of 7.5% year-on-year in Q2 2023.

This marked a decline from the 5.3% contraction recorded in the previous quarter, attributed to a decrease in output across all manufacturing clusters, with the sole exception of the transport engineering cluster.

In contrast, the construction sector has demonstrated encouraging growth, with a year-on-year increase of 6.6% in Q2. This upward trend extends the 6.9% growth observed in Q1 2023, with expansion recorded in both public and private sector construction output.

The service sector has also witnessed a welcome recovery. The wholesale & retail trade and transportation & storage sectors grew by a collective 2.6% year-on-year in Q2 2023, bouncing back from the 0.7% contraction in the previous quarter.

Growth in the transportation & storage sector was driven by water and air transport segments, while the wholesale trade sector saw growth fueled by the machinery, equipment & supplies, and fuels & chemicals segments.

Meanwhile, the information & communications, finance & insurance, and professional services sectors posted a year-on-year growth of 1.5%, albeit with the finance & insurance sector experiencing contraction due to weak performances in insurance and banking segments.

The remaining group of service sectors – accommodation & food services, real estate, administrative & support services, and other services sectors – reported a strong 6.1% year-on-year growth in Q2 2023.

In particular, the accommodation sector saw robust growth, in tandem with the marked recovery in international visitor arrivals.

Detailed GDP estimates for Q2 2023, including performance by sectors, sources of growth, inflation, employment, and productivity, are expected to be released in the Economic Survey of Singapore in August 2023.

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