Singapore GDP to grow 5.8% this year, MAS survey

Victor Kang11 Mar 2021

The estimates of 24 economists polled by MAS showed that Singapore’s GDP is anticipated to increase 5.8% this year, up from the 5.5% forecast in the previous survey in December.

With the manufacturing and finance sectors expected to post firmer improvements this year, economists upgraded their forecast for Singapore’s 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) growth, reported Channel News Asia citing the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The estimates of 24 economists polled by MAS showed that Singapore’s GDP is anticipated to increase 5.8% this year, up from the 5.5% forecast in the previous survey in December.

The economists also expect the labour market to improve, expecting overall employment rate to stand at 2.9% by end-2021, down from the previous forecast of 3%.

Despite the government rolling out nearly $100 billion in stimulus, the Singapore economy registered its worst-ever recession in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contraction moderated in Q4 2020 as the government eased more coronavirus-related curbs. However, economists expect recovery to be slow and uneven.

Economists also believe the economy will remain wobbly in the first quarter of 2021, contracting 1.1% year-on-year and with the construction sector remaining as the biggest laggard.

But as the year progresses, the economists expect the construction sector to recover, growing 22.5% for 2021, down from their earlier estimate of nearly 29%.

Their outlook for the wholesale and retail trade dimmed, with growth at 4.5% instead of 5% previously. The accommodation and private consumption sector are expected to post an 11% growth, down from 15% in the survey three months ago.

Private consumption is also forecasted to rise 7.9%, down from 8.5% previously.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector is expected to remain a bright spot, with growth at 4.7%, up from earlier estimates of 4.5% growth.

The finance and insurance sector is also forecasted to grow 5.8%, an improvement from the earlier forecast of 5.1% growth.

Non-oil domestic exports is seen expanding 6.9% this year, an upgrade from the previous estimate of 4%.

The economists pointed to an escalation of the COVID-19 situation as the top downside risk to growth. It is followed by geopolitical tensions as well as an earlier-than-expected pullback in macroeconomic policy support globally.

On the upside risks, the economists cited the pandemic’s containment due to faster vaccine deployment globally, the manufacturing sector’s stronger-than-expected performance, better global growth and the possibility of borders reopening for international travel.

Looking ahead, economists expect the Singapore economy to expand 3.8% next year.

Sent out on 15 February to private sector economists, the MAS survey’s findings do not reflect the views or forecast of the central bank, said MAS.

Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email:


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