Friday August 23 2019
Singapore Inflation Rate Slows to 6-Month Low of 0.4% in July
Statistics Singapore l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate fell to 0.4 percent in July 2019 from 0.6 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 0.55 percent. That was the lowest inflation rate since January, amid a steeper fall in cost of housing & utilities while food inflation was steady for the third straight month.

Cost of housing & utilities dropped 1.5 percent year-on-year in July, nearly twice of a 0.8 percent fall in a month earlier, with prices of accommodation falling for the third straight month (-0.9 percent vs -1.1 percent) in the wake of the phased nationwide launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) on electricity prices. Also, prices declined faster for both clothing & footwear (-2.1 percent vs -0.6 percent), and communications (-2.2 percent vs -1.7 percent). At the same time, cost slowed for recreation & culture (1.3 percent vs 1.8 percent), mainly due to holiday expenses (2.5 percent vs 3.3 percent); education (2.4 percent vs 2.5 percent), miscellaneous goods & services (0.3 percent vs 0.4 percent), and household durables & services (0.9 percent vs 1.1 percent). 

Meanwhile, prices of food increased by 1.4 percent in July, the same pace as in the previous two months. Within food excluding food servicing services, prices rose further for bread & cereals (1 percent vs 0.9 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (0.6 percen vs 0.1 percent); vegetables (3.5 percent vs 3.8 percent); non-alcoholic beverages (1.7 percent vs 2 percent), while rebounded for fruits (0.3 percent vs -0.1 percent). In contrast, prices fell for meat (-0.5 percent vs -0.4 percent); fish & seafood (-0.1 percent vs 1.4 percent); oils & fats (-0.8 percent vs -0.1 percent); and sugar, preserves & confectionery (-0.2 percent vs -0.8 percent). Among food servicing services, inflation was unchanged for both restaurant food  (at 1.9 percent) and fast food (at 1.5 percent). Meanwhile, prices of catered food slowed (4.4 percent vs 4.9 percent), while those of hawker food went up a bit higher (1.6 percent vs 1.5 percent).

Conversely, inflation quickened for transport (0.9 percent vs 0.6 percent in June), namely private road transport (0.3 percent vs 0.2 percent), public road transport (2.5 percent vs 2.4 percent), and other travel & transport (1.9 percent vs 0.1 percent). Also, cost of health care went up faster (1.3 percent vs 1.1 percent), mostly driven by medical & dental treatment (2 percent vs 1.9 percent).

Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, fell to 0.8 percent in July, the lowest since April 2016, from 1.2 percent in June.

Meantime, against the backdrop of slower GDP growth, uncertainties in the global economy, as well as the continuing restraining effects of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s policy tightening in 2018, the central bank and trade ministry now expect 2019 core inflation to come in within the lower half of the 1–2 percent forecast range, while 2019 inflation to average between 0.5-1.5 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices dropped by 0.4 percent in July, faster than a 0.2 percent fall in June. 




Tuesday August 13 2019
Singapore Q2 GDP Growth Confirmed at A Decade Low
Statistics Singapore l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The economy of Singapore advanced an annual 0.1 percent in the second quarter 2019, unrevised from a preliminary figure and slowing sharply from a 1.1 percent expansion in the previous period, final data showed. It was the lowest growth rate since a 2.1 percent contraction reported in the second quarter 2009 as manufacturing output and wholesale & retail trade declined sharply.

The manufacturing sector declined by 3.1 percent year-on-year in the June quarter, much sharper than a 0.3 percent contraction in the previous quarter, as output fell in the electronics, transport engineering and precision engineering clusters. In addition, wholesale & retail trade sector fell 3.2 percent, larger than a 2.5 percent decline in the previous quarter. The wholesale trade contraction was mostly visible in the machinery, equipment & supplies sub-segment while retail trade was dragged down by motor vehicular and non-motor vehicular sales.

In addition, output growth slowed noticeably for the accommodation & food services (0.9 percent vs 2 percent), information & communication (4.1 percent vs 5.2 percent), business services (0.5 percent vs 1.7 percent), and other services industries (2.1 percent vs 2.6 percent). Meanwhile, construction output expanded 2.9 percent, little-changed from a 2.8 percent gain in the first quarter. On the other hand, transportation & storage activity picked up (2.2 percent vs 0.7 percent), supported primarily by the air transport and water transport segments, which expanded on the back of an increase in air passengers handled at Changi Airport and total sea cargo volume handled at Singapore’s ports respectively. Also, finance & insurance sector grew much stronger (5.2 percent vs 3.2 percent), largely due to expansion in the fund management, foreign exchange trading, and others segments.   

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy shrank 3.3 percent, compared to the preliminary figure of a 3.4 percent contraction and reversing from a 3.8 percent growth in the first quarter. It was the steepest quarterly contraction since the 4.1 percent fall in the third quarter 2012 as output declined in manufacturing (-3.4 percent vs -5.4 percent), construction (-5.5 percent vs 13.7 percent), wholesale & retail trade (-7.9 percent vs 3.1 percent), business services (-3.9 percent vs 1.3 percent), and other services (-8 percent vs 15.3 percent). In addition, output growth slowed for information & communications (0.5 percent vs 2.8 percent). Conversely, finance & insurance activity grew much faster (7.6 percent vs 4.9 percent), while there was a rebound in both the output of transportation & storage (6.5 percent vs -2.1 percent), and accommodation & food services (2.3 percent vs -5.3 percent).

Meantime, amid escalations in global trade tensions and a struggling manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) revised lower 2019 GDP growth forecasts to be in a range of zero to 1 percent from an earlier projection of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent, with growth expected to come in at around the mid-point of the forecast range. The government also slashed its projection for 2019 non-oil domestic exports (NODX) to be in a range of -9 to -8 percent, down from the range of -2 to 0 percent on the back of trade's continued dismal performance.





Friday July 26 2019
Singapore Q2 Jobless Rate Steady at 2.2% for the 3rd Quarter
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.2 percent in the June quarter 2019, unchanged from the previous two periods, a preliminary estimate showed. It remained the highest jobless rate since the second quarter 2017, amid rising global uncertainties and ongoing trade dispute.

In the second quarter, the jobless rate edged up for both was residents (3.1 percent vs 3 percent in Q1) and citizens (3.3 percent vs 3.2 percent), continuing the uptrend since the September quarter last year.

Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers/FDW) increased by 4,000, far lower than the prior quarter (10,700), and less than the second quarter 2018 (6,500). Employment growth was seen in sectors such as information & communications, professional services, community, social & personal services and financial Services, although the increases were mostly offset by a decline in employment in retail trade. As a result, employment growth in services slowed. Meanwhile, employment in construction picked up. In contrast, employment in manufacturing continued to contract for the third consecutive quarter, as output declined.

Some 2,300 workers were laid off, down from the preceding quarter (3,230) and from he June quarter a year ago (3,030). This suggested that most employers are not laying off existing workers, but exercising greater caution in hiring even when they have unfilled vacancies. Over the quarter, declines were observed across all three broad sectors (manufacturing, construction and services).




Tuesday July 23 2019
Singapore Inflation Rate Slows to 3-Month Low of 0.6% in June
Statistics Singapore l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate fell to 0.6 percent in June 2019 from a two-year high of 0.9 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 0.7 percent. That was the lowest inflation rate since March, amid a marked slowdown in transport prices and a further fall in cost of housing & utilities.

Cost of transport rose by 0.6 percent in June, much softer than a 1.6 percent gain a month earlier, namely private road transport (0.2 percent vs 1.5 percent in May), public road transport (2.4 percent vs 2.5 percent), and other travel & transport (0.1 percent vs 0.6 percent). Also, prices slowed for recreation & culture (1.8 percent vs 2.3 percent), mainly due to holiday expenses (3.3 percent vs 4.3 percent); and recreation & entertainment (0.6 percent vs 0.8 percent); health care (1.1 percent vs 1.4 percent), mostly driven by a steeper fall in medical products, appliances & equipment (-1.7 percent vs -0.4 percent); and education (2.5 percent vs 2.6 percent). In addition, cost of housing & utilities dropped further (-0.8 percent vs -0.7 percent), with prices of accommodation falling for the second straight month (-1.1 percent vs -1 percent) in the wake of the phased nationwide launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) on electricity prices. At the same time, cost continued to fall for both clothing & footwear (-0.6 percent vs -0.9 percent), and communications (-1.7 percent vs -1.1 percent). In contrast, inflation was unchanged for household durables & services (at 1.1 percent), while cost of miscellaneous goods & services picked up (0.4 percent vs 0.3 percent). 

Meantime, prices of food increased by 1.4 percent year-on-year in June, the same pace as in May. Among food excluding food servicing services, inflation was unchanged for milk, cheese & eggs (at 0.1 percent), with cost rising faster for bread & cereals (0.9 percent vs 0.7 percent); vegetables (3.8 percent vs 3.1 percent); and non-alcoholic beverages (2 percent vs 1.8 percent). Meanwhile, prices of fish & seafood advanced at a softer rate (1.4 percent vs 1.7 percent) while cost declined for meat (-0.4 percent vs -0.3 percent); oils & fats (-0.1 percent vs 1.7 percent); fruits (-0.1 percent vs 1.8 percent); and sugar, preserves & confectionery (-0.8 percent vs 0.8 percent). Among food servicing services, inflation was unchanged for fast food (at 1.5 percent), catered food (at 4.9 percent) and hawker food (at 1.5 percent), while restaurant food prices increased faster (1.9 percent vs 1.7 percent). 
Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, edged down to 1.2 percent in June, the lowest since March 2017, from 1.3 percent in May.
For 2019, the country's central bank and trade ministry expect inflation to be in a range of 0.5-1.5 percent while core inflation is projected to come in near the mid-point of the 1-2 percent forecast range.
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices dropped by 0.2 percent in June, reversing from a 0.7 percent rise in May.   


Friday July 12 2019
Singapore Q2 GDP Growth Weakest in 10 Years
Statistics Singapore | Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com

The economy of Singapore advanced 0.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2019, slowing from a downwardly revised 1.1 percent expansion in the previous period and well below market forecasts of a 1.1 percent rise, an advance estimate showed. It was the weakest growth rate since the second quarter of 2009, when the economy contracted 1.2 percent, as the manufacturing sector shrank further and construction output eased.

The manufacturing sector contracted 3.8 percent, after shrinking 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2019, as a decline in output of electronics and precision engineering clusters, more than offset output expansions in the rest of the manufacturing clusters. Additionally, construction output growth slowed to 2.2 percent from 2.7 percent in the prior period.

On the other hand, the services sector expanded 1.2 percent, the same pace as in the first quarter, boosted by the finance & insurance and information & communications sectors. 

On a quarterly basis, the gross domestic product shrank 3.4 percent, after growing 3.8 percent in the previous period and missing market expectations of a 0.1 percent expansion. It was the sharpest contraction since the third quarter of 2012, as the services sector (-1.5 percent from 4.4 percent in Q1) and construction output (-7.6 percent from 13.3 percent) shrank. Meantime, the manufacturing sector contracted 6 percent, less than a 6.4 percent decline in the prior period.  On an annual basis, the economy advanced 0.1 percent, the weakest growth rate since the second quarter of 2009, slowing from a downwardly revised 1.1 percent expansion in the first quarter of the year and well below market forecasts of a 1.1 percent rise.


Monday June 24 2019
Singapore Inflation Rate Hits 2 Year-High in May
Statistics Singaporel Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate edged up unexpectedly to a two year-high of 0.9 percent in May 2019 from 0.7 percent in the previous month and above market expectations of 0.7 percent. Both prices of food and transport rose faster, with cost of housing declining less.

Prices of food increased by 1.4 percent year-on-year in May, accelerating from a 1.3 percent gain in April. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost rose faster for fish & seafood (1.7 percent vs 1.1 percent); fruits (1.8 percent vs 1.4 percent); vegetables (3.1 percent vs 2.5 percent); and non-alcoholic beverages (1.8 percent vs 1.1 percent), with prices rebounding for milk, cheese & eggs (0.1 percentr vs -0.2 percent); oils & fats (1.7 percent vs -0.2 percent); and sugar, preserves & confectionery (0.8 percent vs -1.2 percent). Meantime, prices of bread & cereals went up at a slower rate (0.7 percent vs 2 percent), while those of meat declined (-0.3 percent vs a flat reading in April). Among food servicing services, prices increased faster for both restaurant food (1.7 percent vs 1.6 percent), and hawker food (1.5 percent vs 1.3 percent) while inflation was unchanged for both fast food (at 1.5 percent), and catered food (at 4.9 percent).

In addition, cost of transport rose 1.6 percent, compared to a 1.4 percent advance in a month earlier, in particular private road transport (1.5 percent vs 1.1 percent), amid higher car prices and a steeper rise in petrol prices. Also, cost increased faster for both recreation & culture (2.3 percent vs 2.1 percent), mainly due to holiday expenses (4.3 percent vs 4.1 percent); and health care (1.4 percent vs 1.2 percent), namely medical & dentral treatment (1.9 percent vs 1.8 percent); while inflation was unchanged for education (at 2.6 percent). In addition, cost of housing & utilities dropped at a softer rate (-0.7 percent vs -1 percent), with cost of accommodation falling less (-1 percent vs  1.4 percent) in the wake of the phased nationwide launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) on electricity prices. Meantime, inflation slowed for household durables & services (1.1 percent vs 1.4 percent), while cost of miscellaneous goods & services were flat for the second straight month in May. At the same time, cost fell further for both clothing & footwear (-1.3 percent vs -1.3), and communications (-0.5 percent vs -0.5 percent). 

Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, stood at 1.3 percent in May, unchanged from the prior month's one year-low.

For 2019, the country's central bank and trade ministry expect inflation to be in a range of 0.5-1.5 percent while core inflation is projected to come in near the mid-point of the 1-2 percent forecast range.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices rose 0.7 percent in May, the first monthly increase in three months, after a 0.3 percent decline in April.   


Thursday June 13 2019
Singapore Q1 Jobless Rate Confirmed at 1-1/2 Year-High
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 2.2 percent in the first quarter 2019, unchanged from the previous period's 1-1/2 year-high and in line with the preliminary estimate. Amid a slowdown in the economy, lay-offs rose while job vacancies fell for the first time in two years.

In the three months to March, the jobless rate for residents was steady (at 3.0 percent), while that for citizens edged up to 3.2 percent from 3.1 percent in Q4.

Total employment (excluding foreign domestic workers/ (FDW) rose by 10,700, lower than in Q4 (14,700) following the end of festive season hiring, but significantly higher  than the same quarter a year ago (400). Services was the main driver of total employment growth (13,600 excluding FDW), supported by gains in community, social & personal services (5,800, nearly half from public administration & education), professional services (2,800), administrative & support services (2,200), financial services (1,600), information & communications (1,200) and transportation & storage (1,200). Meanwhile, construction posted its first employment gain in three years, reflecting an increase in both public and privatesector construction activities.

Some 3.230 workers were laid off, up from 2,510 workers in Q4 and from 2,320 a year earlier. The increase  was driven by manufacturing (1,040 from 380 in Q4), and affected mainly production &
related workers from electronics. Consequently, electronics formed 18 percent of retrenchments in the first quarter of 2019, followed by services industries such as wholesale trade (16 percent) and transportation & storage (10 percent). While restructuring and reorganisation remained the main reason cited by establishments for retrenchments, there was a rise in the share of retrenchments from the previous quarter due to high costs and downturn in the industry.

The six-month reentry rate among retrenched residents rose for the second consecutive quarter to 66 percent from 64 percent in Q4. The increase was observed for most age, education and occupational groups, except for residents aged below 30, clerical, sales & service workers, as well as the post-secondary (non-tertiary) educated. 

After seven preceding quarters of increases, the demand for labour eased, with fewer seasonally-adjusted job vacancies in the March quarter (57,100), compared to 62,300 in Q4. There continued to be more vacancies than job seekers, although the seasonally-adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped slightly to 1.08 in Q1 from 1.10 in Q4.


Thursday May 23 2019
Singapore Inflation Rate at Near 2-Year High of 0.8%
Statistics Singapore l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate higher to 0.8 percent in April 2019 from 0.6 percent in the previous month and in line with market consensus. This was the highest inflation rate since May 2017, mainly due to a rebound in private road transport costs while food prices slowed.

Prices rebounded for transport (1.4 percent vs -0.3 percent in March), namely private road transport (1.1 percent vs -0.9 percent), mainly reflecting higher car prices and a stronger rise in petrol prices. Additionally, cost went up faster for household durables & services (1.4 percent vs 0.4 percent) and recreation & culture (2.1 percent vs 1.3 percent), led by holiday expenses (4.1 percent vs 2.8 percent).

On the other hand, food inflation eased to 1.3 percent in April, below 1.6 percent in the preceding month and reaching the lowest level since May last year. Among food excluding food servicing services, prices slowed for fruits (1.4 percent vs 3.5 percent) and fish & seafood (1.1 percent vs 1.9 percent) while fell for milk, cheese & eggs (-0.2 percent vs 0.8 percent), oils & fats (-0.2 percent vs 1.1 percent), sugar, preserves & confectionery (-1.2 percent vs 0.6 percent). Meanwhile, cost rose faster for vegetables (2.5 percent vs 0.3 percent in March), bread & cereals (2.0 percent vs 1.5 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent vs 0.7 percent) while prices of meat were flat (vs -1.1 percent). Among food servicing services, prices increased faster for fast food (1.5 percent vs 1.3 percent), restaurant food (1.6 percent vs 1.5 percent), and catered food (4.9 percent vs 4.1 percent). 

Also, inflation slowed for education (2.6 percent vs 2.7 percent) and health care (1.2 percent vs 1.5 percent).

Meanwhile, cost of housing & utilities declined 1.0 percent in April, more than a 0.3 percent fall in March, as electricity and gas fees fell 0.8 percent, reversing from a 3.9 percent increase in the prior month. This was mainly due to lower electricity tariffs and the dampening effect of the phased nationwide launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) on electricity prices, MAS and MTI said in a joint statement.

In addition, prices declined for clothing & footwear (-1.3 percent vs 0.1 percent) and communications (-0.5 percent vs -1.0 percent). At the same time, cost of miscellaneous goods & services were flat in April, after a 0.3 percent drop in March.

Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, edged down to 1.3 percent in April from 1.4 percent in March, and matching market consensus. It was the lowest reading since April last year.

For 2019, the country's central bank and trade ministry expect inflation to be in a range of 0.5-1.5 percent while core inflation is projected to come in near the mid-point of the 1-2 percent forecast range.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices declined 0.3 percent in March, following a 0.1 percent fall in March. It was the second straight monthly decline in prices. 
 



Tuesday May 21 2019
Singapore Annual GDP Growth Slowest since 2009
Statistics Singapore | Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com

The economy of Singapore grew an annual 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, following a 1.3 percent expansion in the previous three-month period and missing market expectations of 1.5 percent, final data showed. It was the weakest growth rate since Q2 2009, when GDP shrank 1.7 percent.

Slower growth was mainly explained by manufacturing activity, which contracted 0.5 percent after expanding 4.6 percent (vs preliminary 5.1 percent) in the previous quarter. It marks the sector's first decline in three years. Output declines in the precision engineering and electronics clusters due to weak global semiconductor and related equipment demand more than offset output expansions in the biomedical manufacturing, transport engineering and general manufacturing clusters.

Also, wholesale and retail trade shrank significantly by 1.8 percent, after a 0.8 percent decrease in the previous quarter. In contrast, the construction sector bounced back 2.9 percent (vs preliminary 1.4 percent) following a 1.2 percent contraction (vs preliminary 1.0 percent) in the previous three months and marked the first positive figure after 10 consecutive quarters of decline, supported by an improvement in both public sector and private sector construction works.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy grew 3.8 percent in the three months to March 2019, rebounding from a 0.8 percent contraction in the previous period and beating market consensus of 2.3 percent, final data showed. Growth was led by construction, up 14.0 percent from 5.3 percent in the previous three months and by services which rose at a faster 5.5 percent from 0.4 percent in the prior quarter, driven by wholesale and retail trade (5.9 percent vs -5.0 percent in Q4 2018) and information & communication (8.3 percent vs 7.2 percent).

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) slashed the upper end of its annual growth forecast and announced that it now expects Singapore's economy to grow "1.5% to 2.5%" in 2019 from the previous projection of "1.5% to 3.5%", after "taking into account the performance of the economy in the first quarter, as well as the weaker external demand outlook". In particular, global growth outlook for 2019 remains "clouded by uncertainties and downside risks", including trade tensions between the US and China, subdued growth in China and the delay in Brexit until October 31th 2019.

The base year for the GDP data was changed to 2015 from 2010 to better reflect changes in the economy. As such, GDP growth for 2018 was revised down to 3.1% from 3.2%.


Friday April 26 2019
Singapore Q1 Jobless Rate Stays at 1-1/2-Year High
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.2 percent in the March quarter 2019, unchanged from the previous period, a preliminary estimate showed. It remained the highest jobless rate since the second quarter 2017, amid signs of external economic headwinds and uncertainties this year.

In the first quarter, the jobless rate was steady for residents (at 3.0 percent), while inched higher for citizens (3.2 percent vs 3.1 percent in Q4).

Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers/FDW) increased by 12,000, lower than the prior quarter (14,700) because of seasonal factors, but significantly higher than the first quarter 2018 (400). Employment growth mainly seen in services sectors such as community, social & personal services, administrative & support services, professional services, financial services, and transportation & storage. At the same time, amid improvement in private sector building activities, construction registered its first increase in employment, though only slight, after eleven straight quarters of decline. Meanwhile, employment in manufacturing continued to shed workers.

Some 2,500 workers were laid off, similar to the prior quarter (2,510), but slightly above the multi-quarter low in 1Q 2018 (2,320). Trends were mixed across industries. Retrenchments  remained unchanged over the quarter in construction, while  increased in manufacturing and declined in services.