Singapore ministry sees 1.5pc growth, economists see 3.3pc rise

SINGAPORE's export-reliant economy ends 2018 on a slower note with GDP only rising 1.6 per cent in the three months through December, reports Bloomberg.

But otherwise, the economy grew 3.3 per cent year-on-year in 2018, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

The advance estimate from the Ministry of Trade and Industry ran against the Bloomberg News survey of economists who expected 3.6 per cent expansion.

Moreover, authorities have indicated the economy could cool even further in 2019, projecting a range of 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent for GDP growth.

The manufacturing "contraction appears to have been the main culprit here", said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy in Singapore for Mizuho Bank.

"The broader question on 2019 is the most pertinent one here - and the elephant in the room after China's PMI manufacturing slumped to three-year lows," said Mr Varathan.

"Downside risks remain significant in our view, but perhaps not cast in stone given the headline risks associated with politics and policy," he said.

The services industry, which makes up about two thirds of the economy, expanded an annualised 3.7 per cent in the fourth quarter from the prior three months; manufacturing contracted 8.7 per cent; construction gained 1.1 per cent