Singapore economy to remain weak in 2009: central bank

SINGAPORE, Oct 28, 2008 (AFP) - Singapore's economy, which is already in a technical recession, will remain weak in 2009 on projections the global economic outlook will deteriorate further, the central bank said Tuesday.

As a financial crisis evolves to impact economic activity worldwide, the city-state is likely to be hammered given its heavy exposure to external demand, the Monetary Authority (MAS) said in its Macro Economic Review.

"Looking ahead, the outlook for the global economy has deteriorated amidst heightened risk aversion and deleveraging in the financial sector," MAS said.

As a small and open trading economy, Singapore is vulnerable to any downturn in its major export markets such as the United States, Europe, China, India and Japan.

"The risks to external demand conditions continue to be on the downside, and a more severe global slowdown cannot be discounted," the MAS warned.

"Taking all these factors into account GDP growth is expected to be around 3.0 percent in 2008, and the economy will continue to grow below its potential rate into 2009," the MAS said.

Prospects for a recovery late next year hinge on the performance of key global economies, it said.

Singapore this month cut its economic growth forecast for 2008 to 3.0 percent from between 4.0 and 5.0 percent after the economy slipped into a technical recession, described as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 6.3 percent in the third quarter after contracting 5.7 percent in the previous quarter, according to preliminary government data.

The MAS said Singapore's financial sector will suffer from a direct impact, while weakening consumer sentiment will affect retail trade and the property market.

Other segments of the econonomy like manufacturing and tourism will suffer from falling external demand, it said.


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