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Performance of Singapore Economy in 1st Qtr 2005



The Singapore economy slowed to 2.5% in 1Q05, from 6.5% in 4Q04. The growth momentum, on an annualised quarter-on-quarter basis declined significantly by 5.5%, after a 7.9% rise in 4Q04.
Sources of Growth

Total demand rose by a smaller 7.3% in 1Q05, compared to the increase of 13.2% in the last quarter of 2004. This slowdown was due to a contraction of domestic demand by 3.6%, compared to an increase of 4.7% in 4Q04 as well as a moderation of growth of external demand from 16.0% to 11.3%.
The contraction of domestic demand was a result of a moderation of private consumption expenditure and declining private sector investment spending. Meanwhile, the moderation of growth of external demand was mainly a reflection of a slowdown in merchandise exports.
Sectoral Performance
In the first quarter of 2005, other than the construction sector, all other major economic sectors registered positive growth. However, the pace of growth had slowed across most sectors (see Annex).

THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR grew by 3.1% in the 1Q05, decelerating from a 14.1% growth registered in 4Q04. This slowdown was mainly due to the contraction in the biomedical manufacturing cluster by 18.8% in 1Q05. The chemicals and transport engineering clusters also registered slower rates of growth of 6.2% and 21.6% respectively.
However, these were offset by a 10.8% increase in the electronics cluster. Growth in the electronics cluster was driven by a strong showing within the infocomms & consumer electronics, data storage and semiconductor segments.

THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR continued to contract in 1Q05 but by a smaller 7.3%, compared to the contraction of 8.4% in 4Q04. Held up by robust growth of civil engineering works, public sector certified payments edged up 1.6% in 1Q05, after contracting by 11.9% in 4Q04.
On the other hand, private sector construction works declined 6.2%, owing to slower activities in the residential and industrial segments. Due to the exceptional gains in the industrial segment, total contracts awarded surged 27.0%, following a 13.7% gain in the last quarter of 2004.

THE WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE SECTOR moderated to 6.7% in 1Q05, significantly lower than the gain of 10.7% registered in 4Q04. Entrepot trade slowed, with non-oil re-exports growing by a slower 10.3%.
Domestic trade also eased off, with retail sales growing by 6.2% in 1Q05, compared to 7.9% in 4Q04, as sales of motor vehicles slowed. However, supported by improved sales of the other retail segments, retail sales excluding motor vehicles rose from 3.0% in the last quarter of 2004 to 5.2% in 1Q05.

THE HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS SECTOR grew by a smaller 2.7% in 1Q05, compared to 4.6% in 4Q04. Growth of the sector was boosted by an increase in total hotel room revenue as well as a smaller increase in food and beverage revenue.
Total hotel room revenue in 1Q05 is estimated to have grown by 8.5% to reach about $261 million while the average room rate was $128, an increase of 4.3% over the corresponding period in 2004.
The average occupancy rate of gazetted hotels was 80 per cent, a 3.8 percentage-point increase over the first quarter of 2004. At the same time, food and beverage revenue from all cess-paying establishments is estimated to have reached $443 million in 1Q05, an increase of 8.2% compared to the same period in 2004.

Source: Ministry of Trade & Industry Press Release 17 May 2005



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19 May 2005