Singapore’s economy expanded at a slower-than-expected annualised rate of 14.6 per cent in the first quarter from the fourth in a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis.
In a statement, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said that GDP grew by 6.7 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2008, up from the 5.4 per cent increase in the preceding quarter.
Manufacturing expanded 12.4 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier. Across all sectors, construction saw the largest growth of 14.7 per cent. The financial services sector grew 13.4 per cent.
MTI added that the economy is expected to grow by 4.0 to 6.0 per cent in 2008, but the government cut its forecast for growth of Singapore’s key exports as external demand is expected to remain ‘soft’ throughout 2008.
MTI and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has also raised the inflation target to a range of 5%-6% from a prior target of 4.5%-5.5%. The statement said that oil and food prices have risen more rapidly and are expected to remain elevated over the near term.
Singapore’s inflation grew in April, extending to a new 26-year high as food and energy costs soared.
In a separate statement, the Department of Statistics said that consumer price index rose 7.5 per cent from a year earlier after rising 6.7 per cent in March. This was due largely to higher costs of food, transport & communication and housing. April’s rise was the fastest since 1982.
The inflation was led by the housing component of the index, which rose 11.8 per cent from a year earlier due to higher electricity tariffs and rents.
Compared with a year earlier, the economy expanded 6.7 per cent in the first quarter, falling short of the advance estimate for 7.2 per cent growth. The economy expanded by 5.4 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. -CNA/vm
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 23 May 2008