Friday June 23 2017
Singapore Inflation Rate At Near 3-Year High Of 1.6%
Statistics Singapore l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Singapore rose 1.4 percent year-on-year in May of 2017, compared to a 0.4 percent rise in the prior month and in line with market consensus. It was the highest inflation rate since June 2014, driven by a surge in cost of housing and a faster increase in prices of food.

Year-on-year, upward prices pressure came from: clothing & footwear (1.9 percent from 0.5 percent in April), household durables & services (0.7 percent from 0.8 percent, largely due to a  1.8 percent increase in household services & supplies); health care (2.4 percent from 3.0 percent, mainly driven by a 3.4 percent rise in medical & dental treatment); transport (3.8 percent from 4.7 percent, mainly due to a 6.1 percent rise in private road transport); communication (1.0 percent from 0.8 percent) and education (3.2 percent from 3.2 percent, due to a 3.2 percent rise in tuition & other fees and a 0.1 percent increase in school textbooks & related study guides). Also, cost of housing & utilities went up 0.1 percent, rebounding from a 4.6 percent drop in the prior month. In contrast, cost fell for: recreation & culture (-0.2 percent from 0.3 percent, largely due to a 0.3 percent drop in recreation & entertainment and a -0.1 percent decline in holiday expenses) and miscellaneous goods & services (-0.1 percent from 0.1 percent, driven by a 1.8 percent fall in personal care).

Prices of food rose 1.5 percent, faster than a 1.3 percent rise in  the previous three months. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for bread & cereals (1.1 percent); meat (0.5 percent), fish & seafood (2.9 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (0.7 percent); fruits (3.5 percent), vegetables (0.5 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (4.0 percent) and other food (1.2 percent). In contrast, cos declined for: oils & fats (-1.9 percent) andnon-alcoholic beverages (-0.3 percent). Among food servicing services, prices increased for all categories: restaurant foods (1.3 percent), fast food (0.5 percent), hawker food including food courts (1.7 percent) and catered food (1.7 percent).

Core consumer prices which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, went up 1.6 percent, following a 1.7 percent gain in the prior month and matching expectations.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices rose 0.3 percent, after falling 0.3 percent in April.




Tuesday June 13 2017
Singapore Jobless Rate Revised Down To 2.2% In Q1
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.2 percent in the March quarter of 2017, the same as in the prior quarter but slightly lower compared to preliminary estimates of 2.3 percent. The jobless rate remained at its highest level since the fourth quarter 2010, as more people entered the labour force while total employment contracted the most since the second quarter 2009.

In the three months to March, the jobless rate was unchanged from the previous quarter for residents (3.2 percent) and citizens (3.5 percent).

Total employment fell by 6,800, following an increase of 2,300  in the fourth quarter and marking the highest quarterly contraction since the June quarter 2009. The decline occured in manufacturing (-4,300) and construction (-12,500), mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders. In contrast, services sector saw employment rose by 9,900.  

Some 4,000 workers were laid off, lower than 5,440 workers in the December quarter and the same period the prior year (4,710). Redundancies declined in manufacturing (890 from 1,990 in the third quarter and marking the lowest figure since the second quarter of 2015 (870) and services (2,440 from 2,840). In contrast, construction reported more redundancies (660 from 580). Services (61 percent) formed the bulk of all layoffs, mainly in wholesale trade (13 percent), financial services (12 percent), and professional services (12 percent). 

The rate of re-entry among residents made redundant was 64.4 percent, compared to 64.7 in the previous quarter. 

The number of job vacancies (seasonally adjusted) among private sector establishments with at least 25 employees and the public sector declined slightly in March 2017. However, vacancies among small private sector establishments employing less than 25 employees went up. That brought total vacancies for the whole economy rose (45,300 from 44,500 in Q3. As a result, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons improved slightly, after seven straight quarters of decline.

The seasonally adjusted recruitment rate declined to 2.1 percent in the first quarter 2017 following an uptick in the prior three months.  The recruitment rate has been on a general downtrend since the third quarter 2014. Meanwhile, resignation rate held steady at 1.8 percent since the beginning of 2016.




Wednesday June 07 2017
Singapore Enjoys Recovery In Global Trade
Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Despite losing momentum in the first quarter, Singapore’s economy is expected to pick up the stream this year alongside improving global trade. While trade-related sectors and services grew strongly, the expansion of domestic-oriented sectors was relatively weaker, with a contraction in private construction and subdued consumer spending.

Singapore's GDP advanced 2.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, following 2.9 percent increase in the previous period. The growth was mainly bolstered by the manufacturing sector, namely the electronics and precision engineering clusters, which expanded on the back of robust demand for semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. However, growth in domestic-oriented sectors has been largely muted, reflecting a sluggish construction activity and weak retail sales. On the positive note, financial services improved on the back of soaring global financial markets.

Singapore's exports are one of the main sources of revenue for the economy. After falling by 5.2 percent in 2016, sales already advanced 15.2 percent in the first four months of the year boosted by electronics, oil, and chemicals. Imports also went up 15 percent, following 4.9 percent drop in the previous year, driven by electrical and office machinery, petroleum, chemicals, plastics, and telecommunications equipment. 

Also, manufacturing PMI remained in the expansionary territory for the seventh consecutive month in May, after contracting for almost 2 years. Strong global demand for electronics, in particular, semiconductors has boosted factory production. 

Singapore's consumer prices returned to growth this year, after being in negative territory in the previous 2 years. Higher prices of oil-related items, such as electricity and petrol, were the main drivers of the increase. The inflation was recorded at 0.4 percent in April, and expected to rise to 0.5-1.5 percent from -0.5 percent last year.

Labor market conditions worsened this year, with the unemployment rate rising to 2.3 percent in the first quarter. It was the highest jobless rate since 2009, mainly due to jobs losses in manufacturing (-4,400) and construction (-12,900) as the number of foreigners holding work permits for less-skilled jobs declined.

Property market showed signs of recovery, after three years of price decreases. New home sales more than doubled in April from the previous year and reached the highest level in nearly four years in March. The boost came after the government eased some property cooling measures in March, which were in an effect since 2009. Still, housing prices fell 0.4 percent in the first quarter, marking the fourteenth consecutive period of decline and the longest losing streak since the series started in 1975. 



Thursday May 25 2017
Singapore GDP Growth Revised Up To 2.7% In Q1
Statistics Singapore l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Singaporean economy expanded 2.7 percent year-on-year in the March quarter of 2017, slower than 2.9 percent in the prior quarter but stronger than preliminary estimates of a 2.5 percent growth. While services sector rose at a faster pace and manufacturing increased further, construction fell less than in the prior quarter, final figures showed.

Year-on-year, the manufacturing sector grew by 8.0 percent, compared to a 11.5 percent growth in the December quarter 2016 and above initial estimates of 6.6 percent. Electronics and precision engineering clusters drove the expansion, namely semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The services producing industries advanced 1.6 percent, compared to a 1.0 percent rise in the prior quarter and slightly higher than preliminary figures of 1.5 percent. Contributions came from wholesale and retail trade, transportation and storage, information & communications, finance and insurance, business services and other services.

In contrast, the construction sector contracted by 1.4 percent, slowing from a 2.8 percent decline in the fourth quarter and compared to earlier figures of a 1.1 percent fall, due to continued weakness in private sector construction works. 

For 2017, the government maintained its GDP growth forecast between1 to 3 percent but said the economy will likely grow faster than a 2 percent expansion in 2016, barring any downside risks. Growth in the electronics and precision engineering clusters is expected to be sustained for the rest of the year on the back of the strong recovery in global demand for semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Also, the transportation & storage is likely to benefit from the projected improvement in global trade flows while the information & communications and education, health & social services sectors are estimated to remain resilient.

In 2016, the economy advanced 2 percent, slightly stronger than a 1.9 percent growth in the preceding year.

On a quarterly basis, the GDP shrank an annualised 1.3 percent in the first quarter 2017, following a 12.3 percent growth in the previous three months and less than preliminary estimates of a 1.9  percent drop. It was the fastest contraction since the June quarter 2015, mainly due to a decline in manufacturing (-1.5 percent from 39.8 percent in Q4) and services (-2.1 percent from 8.4 percent). 




Tuesday May 23 2017
Singapore Inflation Rate At 4-Month Low of 0.4%
Statistics of Singapore l Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Singapore rose 0.4 percent year-on-year in April of 2017, compared to a 0.7 percent rise in March and below market expectations of 0.7 percent gain. It was the lowest inflation rate since December 2016, mainly driven by lower cost of housing. In contrast, prices accelerated for food and transport. On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices fell 0.3 percent, compared to a flat reading in March.

Year-on-year, prices rose for:  clothing & footwear (0.5 percent from -0.2 percent in the prior month), household durables & services (0.8 percent from 1.6 percent, largely due to a  1.9 percent increase in household services & supplies); health care (3.0 percent from 2.8 percent, mainly driven by a 3.6 percent rise in medical & dental treatment and a 0.8 percent gain in medical products, appliances & equipment); transport (4.7 percent from 4.5 percent, mainly due to a 7.0 percent rise in private road transport and a 1.4 percent rise in other travel & transport); recreation & culture (0.3 percent from 0.3 percent, largely due to a 0.2 percent increase in newspapers, book & stationery and a 1.0 percent growth in holiday expenses); education (3.2 percent from 3.6 percent, due to a 3.2 percent rise in tuition & other fees and a 0.1 percent increase in school textbooks & related study guides) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.1 percent from 0.2 percent. In contrast, cost of housing & utilities  fell 4.6 percent, faster than a -3.2 percent drop in March, largely due to a 6.7 percent drop in accommodation).
 
Prices of food rose 1.3 percent in April, the same as in the previous two months. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for bread & cereals (0.3 percent); fish & seafood (3.5 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (1.1 percent); fruits (2.1 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (0.9 percent); other food (1.7 percent), and meat (0.5 percent ).
 
In contrast, prices fell for oils & fats (-1.9 percent), vegetables (-0.1 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.6 percent). Among food servicing services, prices increased for all categories: restaurant foods (1.2 percent), fast food (0.9 percent), hawker food including food courts (1.7 percent) and catered food (1.7 percent).
 
Core consumer prices, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, went up 1.7 percent year-on-year, compared to a 1.2 percent rise in the prior month and above market expectations of 1.3 percent rise. It was the highest figure since October 2014. 
 
On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices decreased 0.3 percent, compared to a flat reading in March.


Friday April 28 2017
Singapore Jobless Rate Highest In Over 7 Years
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up to 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017 from 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter 2016, preliminary estimates showed. It was the highest jobless rate since the December quarter 2009.

In the three months to March, the jobless rate was unchanged compared to the prior quarter for residents (3.2 percent) and citizens (3.5 percent). 

Some 4,800 workers were laid off, lower than the fourth quarter (5,440), but similar to a year ago (4,710). Redundancies declined in manufacturing, but continued to increase in construction and services. 

Total employment fell 8,500, compared to the seasonal high in the prior quarter (2,300). It was the biggest quarterly contraction in nearly 14 years. The decline occurred in manufacturing (-4,400) and construction (-12,900), mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders. At the same time, services employment continued to grow (8,700), though growth was slower than the first quarter of 2016 (13,200). 


Monday April 24 2017
Singapore Inflation Rate Steady At 0.7% In March
Statistics Singapore | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Singapore rose 0.7 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, the same as in February and in line with markets expectations. The inflation rate remained at its highest level since August 2014, mainly driven by an increase in cost food and transport while cost of housing continued to fall.

Year-on-year, upward prices pressure came from: household durables & services (1.6 percent from 1.5 percent in the prior month, largely due to a  2.7 percent increase in household services & supplies); health care (2.8 percent from 2.6 percent, mainly driven by a 3.3 percent rise in medical & dental treatment and a 1.1 percent gain in medical products, appliances & equipment); transport (4.5 percent from 4.2 percent, mainly due to a 6.9 percent rise in private road transport and a 0.1 percent rise in other travel & transport); recreation & culture (0.3 percent from 0.5 percent, largely due to a 0.2 percent increase in newspapers, book & stationery and a 0.9 percent growth in holiday expenses); education (3.6 percent from 3.6 percent, due to a 3.7 percent rise in tuition & other fees and a 0.1 percent increase in school textbooks & related study guides) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.2 percent from -0.6 percent. In contrast, cost declined for: clothing & footwear (-0.9 percent from-0.2 percent); housing & utilities (-3.2 percent from -3.1 percent, largely due to a 4.0 percent drop in accommodation) and communication (-0.4 percent from  0.7 percent).

Prices of food rose 1.3 percent in March, the same as in February. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for bread & cereals (0.7 percent); fish & seafood (2.3 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (0.5 percent); fruits (3.0 percent); vegetables (0.2 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (1.0 percent); non-alcoholic beverages (0.1 percent) and other food (0.7 percent). In contrast, prices fell for meat (-0.1 percent ) and oils & fats (-3.0 percent). Among food servicing services, prices increased for all categories: restaurant foods (1.2 percent), fast food (2.2 percent), hawker food including food courts (1.7 percent) and catered food (2.5 percent).

Core consumer prices, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, went up 1.2 percent year-on-year, unchanged from the prior month.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices remained unchanged in March, the same as in a month earlier.


Thursday April 13 2017
Singapore GDP Grows More Than Expected In Q1
Statistics of Singapore | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Singaporean economy advanced 2.5 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2017, lower than 2.9 percent growth in the previous period but above market expectations of a 2.4 percent expansion. It was the highest first quarter growth since 2014, mainly boosted by manufacturing, advance estimates showed.

Year-on-year, the manufacturing sector expanded by 6.6 percent, following a 11.5 percent growth in the previous three months, driven by the electronics and precision enginering clusters. The services producing industries advanced 1.5 percent, compared to a 1 percent growth in the December quarter, largely due to the wholesale and retail trade and transportation and storage sectors.

In contrast, the construction sector contracted by 1.1 percent, extending the 2.8 percent decrease in the fourth quarter, due to a sharper decline in private sector construction activities.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualized basis, the economy contracted by 1.9 percent, following a 12.3 percent expansion in the December quarter and in line with market expectations. It was the strongest contraction since the third quarter of 2012, mainly due to a decrease in manufacturing (-6.6 percent from 39.8 percent in Q4) and services (-2.2 percent from 8.4 percent) while construction continued to rise (5.4 percent from 0.8 percent).


Thursday March 23 2017
Singapore Inflation Rate at 30-Month High of 0.7%
Statistics Singapore l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Singapore rose 0.7 percent year-on-year in February of 2017, compared to a 0.6 percent increase in January and in line with markets expectations. It was the highest inflation rate since August 2014, driven by a faster increase in cost of transport while prices of food rose further and cost of housing & utilities fell slightly less than in the prior month.

Year-on-year, upward prices pressure came from: household durables & services (1.5 percent from 2.1 percent in the prior month, largely due to a  2.9 percent increase in household services & supplies), health care (2.6 percent from 2.5 percent, mainly driven by a 3.5 percent rise in medical & dental treatment), transport (4.2 percent from 2.8 percent, mainly due to a 7.1 percent rise in private road transport), communication (0.7 percent from 0.4 percent) and recreation & culture (0.5 percent from 0.5 percent, largely due to a 6.1 percent increase in newspapers, book & stationery and a 0.3 percent growth in holiday expenses) and education (3.6 percent from 3.5 percent, due to a 3.7 percent rise in tuition & other fees and a 0.1 percent increase in school textbooks & related study guides). In contrast, cost declined for: clothing & footwear (-0.2 percent from-1.5 percent), housing & utilities (-3.1 percent from -3.2 percent, largely due to a 4.0 percent drop in accommodation) and miscellaneous goods & services (compared to a flat reading in a month earlier, due to a 2.0 percent drop in personal care).

Prices of food rose 1.3 percent in February, following a 1.9 percent gain in January. Among food, cost of food excluding food servicing services increased by 1.0 percent, compared to a 2.0 percent rise in a month earlier while food servicing services rose 1.5 percent, following a 1.8 percent gain in a month earlier. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for bread & cereals (1.2 percent), meat (0.2 percent); fish & seafood (0.4 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (0.9 percent), fruits (2.6 percent), vegetables (2.7 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (1.7 percent) and other food (0.2 percent). In contrast, prices fell for oils & fats (-2.8 percent) and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.4 percent). Among food servicing services, prices increased for all categories: restaurant foods (0.9 percent), fast food (2.1 percent), hawker food including food courts (1.8 percent) and catered food (2.5 percent).

Core inflation, which excludes costs of accommodation and private road transport, went up 1.2 percent year-on-year, following a 1.5 percent gain in the prior month.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices remained unchanged, after gaining 0.2 percent in a month earlier.


Wednesday March 15 2017
Singapore Jobless Rate Confirmed At 6-Year High In Q4
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 from 2.1 percent in the previous two quarters and in line with preliminary estimates. It was the highest jobless rate since the December quarter 2010, as more people entered the labour force while layoff went up the most since the June quarter 2009.

In the three months to December, the jobless rate for residents were up to 3.2 percent (from 2.9 percent in the third quarter) and the rate for citizens also increased to 3.5 percent (from 3.0 percent). 

Some 5,440 workers were laid off, up from 4,220 workers in the September quarter and was the highest since Q2 2009 (5,980).

The rate of re-entry among residents made redundant rose for the second straight quarter. About 52 percent of residents made redundant in the third quarter of 2016 secured employment by December 2016, up from 49 percent from the previous quarter.

Job vacancies decreased to 44,500 (from 53,800 in the September quarter) and was also lower compared to the same period a year earlier (50,600). 

Reflecting seasonal hiring for year-end festivities, total employment grew in the fourth quarter of 2016 (2,300), compared to a contraction in the prior quarter (-2,700), but growth was lower than the fourth quarter 2015 (16,100). 

For full 2016, the annual average unemployment rate increased to 2.1 percent from 1.9 percent in 2015. It was the highest annual jobless rate since 2010. Unemployment among resident went up to 3.0 percent (from 2.8 percent in 2015) while those among citizens went up to 3.1 percent (from 2.9 percent). The increase was broad based across most age and education groups.

Total employment in 2016 increased by 8,600, the lowest growth since 2003 (-11,700). Employment in services sectors such as community, social & personal services rose (20,200), followed by accommodation & food services (6,000), administrative & support services (4,200) and transportation & storage (4,100). In contrast, a decline was seen in manufacturing (-15,500) and construction (-11,500).

In 2016, redundancies rose to 19,170, mainly due to business restructuring and reorganisation, high costs and
downturn in industry. The bulk of redundancies were in professional services (14 percent), fabricated metal products (12 percent) and financial services (12 percent). Redundancies have trended up since 2010.

The annual average rate of re-entry among residents made redundant fell for the second consecutive year to 48 percent, the lowest since the comparable series started in 2010 (53 percent). The decline was observed across all age, education and occupational groups.