Virus worsens Singapore economic pain, GDP shrinks by 2.2pc

Business | 26 Mar 2020 10:48 am

The Singapore economy contracted by 2.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter and the  economy looks headed for its first full-year recession in about two decades amid mounting border controls and lockdowns around the world from the escalating coronavirus pandemic, after the Ministry of Trade and Industry forecast a sharp contraction this year.

This compares with the 1 percent expansion logged in the same period of last year, and reverses the 1 percent growth in the preceding quarter. 

On a seasonally adjusted annualised basis, Singapore's gross domestic product shrank by 10.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter, a sharp pullback from the 0.6 per cent growth in the previous quarter, according to advance estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

The grim data prompted MTI to further downgrade Singapore's GDP growth forecast for 2020 to between -4 per cent and -1 per cent.

It had already downgraded last month its full-year GDP foecast  to minus 0.5 percent to 1.5 per cent on account of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Since then, the COVID-19 outbreak has escalated, and led to a significant deterioration in the economic situation both externally and domestically," said MTI.

"The wider forecast range is to account for heightened uncertainties in the global economy, given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the public health measures taken in many countries to contain the outbreak," it said in a press release.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat is set to announce a supplementary Budgets in Parliament on Thursday and detail additional support measures to help workers, businesses and households cope. This will be on top of a S$4 billion package rolled out last month.-Straits Times/Channel News Asia

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