Singapore economy expected to contract 6-6.5% this year, and rebound 4-6% in 2021

Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said the country's GDP growth is expected to contract 6 to 6.5 per cent in 2020, narrowing from an estimate of contracting 5 to 7 per cent previously. Economic growth is expected to expand 4 to 6 per cent in 2021. 

In a statement on Monday, November 23, MTI said the Singapore economy expanded by 9.2 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis in the third quarter. This is a turnaround from the 13.2 per cent contraction in the second quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, the economy contracted by 5.8 per cent, moderating from the 13.3 per cent contraction recorded in the previous quarter.

The improved performance came on the back of the phased resumption of activities in the third quarter following a circuit breaker period implemented from April 7 to June 1. It was also attributed to the rebound in activity in major economies during the quarter as they emerged from their lockdowns.

Singapore's GDP is expected to contract 6 to 6.5 per cent in 2020. Photo: Connected to India
Singapore's GDP is expected to contract 6 to 6.5 per cent in 2020. Photo: Connected to India

However, MTI noted that the global economic situation has remained subdued. Domestically, weak external demand conditions and ongoing global travel restrictions are expected to continue to weigh on trade-related services sectors like wholesale trade and tourism-related sectors like air transport and accommodation. 

As for 2021, the major advanced and developing economies are expected to recover from the massive economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 and see a rebound in their GDP from the low base this year.

However, the path to recovery is expected to be slow and uneven across economies, with many economies not likely to return to pre-COVID levels until end-2021. 

The recovery of the Singapore economy in the year ahead is expected to be gradual, MTI said. It will depend to a large extent on how the global economy performs and whether Singapore is able to continue to keep the domestic COVID-19 situation under control.