Singapore: After the peak

5 min

Latest data point to slower economic activity in February. SGD-denominated non-oil domestic exports (NODX) contracted by -5.9% y/y (after +12.9% in January) on the back of lower electronic exports and lower exports to China and the EU. Industrial production growth decelerated to +8.9% y/y (after +16.9% in January) driven by a slower performance in electronics and chemicals. Core inflation edged up to 1.7% (from 1.4% in January). Going forward, we believe that the trade slump in February was temporary and partially driven by seasonal effects (Chinese New Year). Yet, it is unlikely that the export-driven economy will experience growth similar to last year (+8.8% for NODX; +3.6% for real GDP) in 2018. First, demand from China should continue to grow but a slower pace than last year (China’s GDP growth is forecast at +6.5% in 2018, down from +6.9% in 2017). Second, rising protectionist measures from the U.S. could hamper global trade growth. Against this background, we pencil in economic growth of +2.9% in 2018 in Singapore.