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Country Forecast Singapore March 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Singapore March 2018 Updater

  • March 2018
  • ID: 5355252
  • Format: PDF
  • 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 after 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. The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect the transition in leadership to result in any government and party instability.
  • Relations with neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia will remain broadly constructive, as will ties with China, Singapore's largest trading partner. The city state will also take a conciliatory stance towards the "America First" policies of the US president, Donald Trump.
  • The government will continue to make efforts to diversify the economy. This 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 embark on a tightening cycle in 2018 amid steady economic prospects and modestly stronger inflation. This will mean a gradual appreciation of the Singapore dollar against a trade-weighted basket of currencies.
  • We expect real GDP growth to remain relatively robust, averaging 3% a year in 2018-19 and 2.8% a year in 2021-22, with a slight dip to 2.5% in 2020, when the US economy undergoes a technical recession.
  • Consumer prices will continue to rise modestly, increasing from an average of 0.6% in 2017 to an average of 1.2% in 2018-22 Most of the upward pressure on prices will come from a modest strengthening in global commodities prices.
  • The current-account surplus will remain large throughout 2018-22, averaging 18.5% 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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