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Country Forecast Singapore December 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Singapore December 2017 Updater

  • December 2017
  • ID: 359037
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • The People's Action Party (PAP) will continue to dominate the political scene in 2018-22. The party's focus on improving the quality of life of Singapore's citizens as well as the country's transport and other infrastructure will ensure that it retains strong levels of public support.
  • The prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, plans to stand down before the next general election, which is due in 2021. The front-runners include Chan Chun Sing, Ong Ye Kung and Heng Swee Keat, all presently serving as ministers. We do not expect the transition to result in any political instability.
  • Relations with neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia will remain broadly constructive, as will ties with China, Singapore's largest trade partner. The city state will also take a conciliatory posture towards the "America First" policies of the US president, Donald Trump.
  • The government will continue to make efforts to diversify the economy. These efforts will include the upskilling of workers as well as sectoral roadmaps to focus on promoting development in specific sectors.
  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore (the central bank) is expected to retain a loose monetary policy stance in 2018-19 before looking to tighten policy from early 2019. It would do this by targeting a slow appreciation of the Singapore dollar against a trade-weighted basket of currencies.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects real GDP growth to cool to 2.4 % in 2018 as the expected slowdown in China dampens export expansion. This deceleration will prove temporary, with economic growth forecast to rise to 2.6% a year on average in 2019-22.
  • Consumer prices will continue to rise modestly, increasing from an estimated 0.6% in 2017 to an average of 1.3% in 2018-22 Most of the upward pressure on prices will come from a modest strengthening in commodities prices.
  • The current-account surplus will remain large throughout 2018-22, averaging 17% of GDP. The surplus on the merchandise trade balance will easily offset deficits on the services and primary income accounts. The income deficit will reflect the ongoing repatriation of profits from the many foreign firms based in Singapore. At the same time, remittance outflows from the sizeable foreign labour force will keep the secondary income account in the red.

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