Singapore’s annual economic growth slipped to the lowest in nearly a decade in the first quarter as manufacturing contracted in the wake of a protracted US-China trade war, prompting a downgrade to the Southeast Asian country’s full-year growth forecast.
Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1.2 percent year-on-year in the three months ending March 31, final official data showed on Tuesday, down slightly from the 1.3 percent seen in the government’s advance estimate and the fourth quarter’s revised 1.3 percent pace.
The result, which was below the 1.5 percent growth forecast in a Reuters news agency poll, marked the slowest annual expansion for any quarter since April-June 2009, when GDP shrank 1.7 percent from a year earlier, government data shows.
As broad economic momentum cooled, policymakers downgraded their 2019 growth forecast to 1.5-2.5 percent from 1.5-3.5 percent previously.
“Uncertainty from the trade tensions [between the United States and China] have already affected the sectors Singapore has relied on in the last two years,” Jeff Ng, head of Asia research at Continuum Economics, told Reuters.
“The outlook is quite cloudy at the moment.”
Singapore, like many of its trade-reliant counterparts in the region, has been hit hard by the trade war which has disrupted global supply chains in a blow to business investment and corporate profits.