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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 16 February 2007

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Performance of Singapore economy in 2006



Overall Performance
The Singapore economy expanded by 6.6% in 4Q06, after a 7.0% growth in 3Q06.
The growth momentum (on an annualised quarter-on-quarter basis) doubled to 7.9% in 4Q06, from 3.9% in the previous quarter.
This brought full-year real GDP growth to 7.9%, higher than the 6.6% growth in 2005.

Sources of Growth
Total demand expanded by 4.5% in 4Q06, lower than the 10% gain in 3Q06. This was due to a moderation in both external and domestic demand. For the whole year, total demand grew by 9.5%, similar to the 9.6% in 2005.
Sectoral Performance
Apart from wholesale and retail trade, all sectors experienced positive growth momentum in 4Q06.
For 2006 as a whole, all sectors registered growth, led by manufacturing, wholesale & retail trade and financial services.

THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR grew at a more modest pace of 7.7% in 4Q06, after a 9.5% expansion in 3Q06.
This was due mainly to a fall in the output of the electronics and chemicals clusters, and slower growth in the precision engineering cluster.
Growth in the transport engineering cluster eased but remained strong. Meanwhile, the biomedical manufacturing cluster accelerated from a growth of 4.7% in 3Q06 to 27% in 4Q06.
For the whole year, the manufacturing sector grew by 12%, up from 9.5% in 2005, supported by stronger performances in the transport engineering, biomedical manufacturing and precision engineering clusters.

THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR continued to expand by 4.7%, following 5.8% in 3Q06.
Growth momentum on a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis remained strong at 12%. Certified payments grew by a mild 0.7%, down from 9.8% in 3Q06. Contracts awarded shrank 8.0% in 4Q06 after a spike in growth in the previous quarter. For the year, the sector grew by 2.7%, up from 0.7% in 2005.

THE WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE SECTOR expanded 6.9% in 4Q06, but its growth momentum was down by 3.5%.
The wholesale segment moderated, with growth of non-oil re-exports halved from 13% in 3Q06 to 6.3% in 4Q06. Performance of the retail segment improved further as retail sales went up 7.9% in 4Q06, compared to 5.2% in the previous quarter.
Over 2006, the wholesale and retail sector expanded strongly by 10%, up from 9.6% in 2005.

THE TRANSPORT AND STORAGE SECTOR grew 4.0% in 4Q06, similar to that in the previous quarter.
Within the sector, the air transport segment turned in better performance while the water transport segment moderated. Slower growth was seen in both sea cargo and air cargo handled. Meanwhile, growth in air passengers handled and container throughput improved compared to 3Q06.
Overall, the transport and storage sector expanded 4.3% in 2006, similar to the 4.2% in 2005.

THE HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS SECTOR continued to strengthen in 4Q06 with a 6.1% gain following a 4.4% growth in 3Q06.
Visitor arrivals rose 8.4% compared with 4.5% in the previous quarter. This helped to raise the average occupancy rate of hotels to 88% in 4Q06, compared to 85% a year earlier. Hotel room revenues went up 12% after a 28% increase in 3Q06.
For the year as a whole, the sector grew by 5.1%, up from 4.3% in 2005, on the back of a record 9.7 million visitor arrivals.

THE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR registered a better performance in 4Q06 with a growth of 6.0%, following a 3.6% gain in 3Q06.
The number of broadband subscribers continued to register double-digit growth in the quarter. International telephone call duration and the number of mobile phone subscribers grew at a faster pace compared to the previous quarter.
The sector expanded by 4.6% during the year, compared to 5.5% in 2005.

THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR expanded by 11% in 4Q06, after growing by 7.4% a quarter earlier.
The expansion was broad-based across most segments. In particular, the stock trading segment enjoyed a sharp increase in activity during the quarter. Fund management, Asian currency units, and forex segments also registered strong growth in 4Q06.
The strong performance in the final quarter brought the sector¨s full-year growth to 9.2%, higher than the 7.6% gain in 2005.

THE BUSINESS SERVICES SECTOR rose by 5.4% in 4Q06, following a 5.1% gain in the previous quarter.
The expansion in the sector was driven by activities in the consultancy, architectural & engineering and business representative offices as well as real estate segment.
For the year as a whole, the business services sector grew by 5.8%, similar to the 5.9% growth achieved in 2005.

Source: News Release 15 Feb 2007

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