|Singapore factory activity slumps, growth weak
Singapore's economy grew in the fourth quarter, avoiding a technical recession despite disappointing growth figures for 2012, government data show.
Gross domestic product edged up a mere 1.1 percent year-on-year in the three months to December from zero growth in the previous quarter, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said, AFP reports.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the trade-dependent economy expanded by a seasonally adjusted annualized 1.8 percent, reversing a revised 6.3 percent contraction in the third quarter. The figures are based on estimates.
Analysts had feared the economy had likely slipped into a technical recession – two successive quarters of contraction – after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a new year's Day speech that GDP gained 1.2 percent for the full year.
This was below the government's target for the economy to expand 1.5-2.5 percent.
“Overall growth of just over 1 percent is low by historical standards but it's still growth,'' said Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB Research.
The manufacturing sector shrank by an annualized 10.8 percent quarter-on-quarter as the European debt crisis and the sluggish US economy weakened global demand. Manufacturing contracted by 0.2 percent in 2012.
Construction also contracted 8.9 percent quarter-on-quarter but grew 8.8 percent on year. The services sector expanded 1.2 percent overall in 2012.