Singapore’s economy shrank a record 5.8 percent in a pandemic-hit 2020, preliminary data showed on Monday, although most industries saw some improvement in the fourth quarter of the year as COVID-19 restrictions were eased.
This is Singapore’s first annual contraction since 2001, and its worst recession since independence.
Singapore has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic amid movement restrictions and border closures, with construction, aviation, and tourism among the most affected.
The Government had estimated that Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) would contract between 6 percent and 6.5 percent in 2020.
GDP shrank 3.8 percent on a year-on-year basis in the last three months of the year, an improvement from the 5.6 percent drop in the third quarter, advance estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) showed on Monday (Jan 4).
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, Singapore’s GDP grew by 2.1 percent in the final quarter of 2020, following the 9.5 percent expansion between July and September.
Singapore entered a “circuit breaker” period in April to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, shutting down non-essential businesses.
It exited the circuit breaker period in June, gradually reopening the economy, and is now in Phase 3. It has also started a vaccination program, beginning with healthcare workers.
The Government has spent about S$100 billion on virus-related relief to support households and businesses. It expects Singapore to return to growth this year but has cautioned that the recovery would be gradual.
Source: Channel News Asia.
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