Singapore to See Slow Growth and High Inflation in 2013

Manila Bulletin, November 2, 2012 | Go to article overview

Singapore to See Slow Growth and High Inflation in 2013


SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore is likely to see another year of lackluster economic growth and elevated inflation in 2013 as exports remain weak and rising rents and car prices continue to push up the cost of living, its central bank said on Tuesday.

But the job market will remain tight and ''resident wage growth could rise from 2-3 percent in 2012 to above 3 percent in 2013 even if overall economic growth remains sluggish,'' the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in its half-yearly macroeconomic review.

Singapore's gross domestic product growth ''is likely to be positive though below-trend next year,'' while ''CPI-All items inflation could rise to 4.5 percent temporarily in Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 from 4.2 percent in Q3'' before moderating to around 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of next year, MAS said.

Wealthy Singapore, a major Asian business and financial centre, has been making it harder for firms to recruit low-cost workers from abroad following a backlash from citizens concerned about overcrowding on trains and buses as well as increased competition for jobs, schools and housing.

During parliamentary elections last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's long-ruling People's Action Party (PAP) saw its share of the popular vote fall to a record low of 60 percent and two ministers were voted out of office.

Singapore authorities expect GDP growth this year to come in between 1.5 and 2.5 percent, down from 4.9 percent last year and below what they believe is the economy's trend growth of 3-5 percent.

Inflation, meanwhile, is likely to slightly exceed the government's most recent forecast of 4.0 to 4.5 percent for 2012, which is already much higher than the 2.5 to 3.5 percent outlook it gave at the start of the year.

Measures to control the number of cars in the city-state via certificates of entitlement (COEs) that motorists need before buying a new vehicle have been one of the main contributors to inflation.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in a report last week, estimated the government's shift away from its once liberal foreign labour policy will shave about 1. …

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