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Singapore GDP dives 41.2%

Christian Fernsby |
Singapore’s trade-reliant economy plunged into recession in the second quarter with a record contraction, signaling a rough first half globally and an equally challenging outlook as the coronavirus crisis exacts a heavy toll on business and demand.

Topics: SINGAPORE   

Gross domestic product (GDP) dived by a record 41.2% in the three months ended March, on a quarter-on-quarter annualised basis, preliminary data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed on Tuesday.

That was worse than economists’ expectations for a 37.4% decline in the quarter when Singapore was under a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.

The first in Asia to report second-quarter GDP data, the grim numbers for the wealthy city-state - a bellwether for the global economy - underscore the sweeping worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and point to an arduous road ahead. Many major economies are already facing their steepest downturn in decades.

In June, the International Monetary Fund warned of a steep contraction in global economic activity as the health crisis shut businesses, depressed consumption and paralysed trade. It forecast 2020 world output to shrink by 4.9%, compared with a 3.0% contraction predicted in April.

The once-in-a-century pandemic has so far infected over 13 million people worldwide and killed more than 571,000. Singapore has reported 46,283 coronavirus cases with 26 deaths as of Monday.

The sectoral impact was broadbased with the services and construction sector hardest hit.

Construction plummeted 95.6% on a quarter-on-quarter basis, grinding to a near halt as the city-state quarantined tens of thousands of migrant labourers in dormitories ravaged by the virus.

On a year-on year basis, GDP dived 12.6% versus economists forecast for a 10.5% contraction.

The manufacturing sector grew 2.5% from a year ago, mainly due to a surge in output in biomedical sector, though that was still lower than the 8.2% rise in the first quarter.

The GDP slump marked the second consecutive quarter of contractions for the global finance hub - having declined a revised 0.3% year-on-year in the first quarter and 3.3% quarter-on-quarter - meeting the definition for a technical recession.

The government expects full-year GDP to contract in the range of -7% to -4%, the biggest downturn in its history.

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