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Singapore Economy Slightly Contracts In 2013’s First Quarter

The economy of Singapore has contracted by 0.6 percent in the first three months of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the quarterly report released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

Quarter-on-quarter, meanwhile, the economy has crunched by 1.4 percent compared to the last quarter of 2012.

Year-on-year, the manufacturing sector has suffered a 6.5 percent contraction, in contrast with the 7 percent rise in the construction sector. The service industries, on the other hand, registered a slight improvement at 1.2 percent.

Quarter-on-quarter, meanwhile, the manufacturing industry declined by 11.3 percent, while the construction center continued with a 15.1-percent boost. Service industries continued their modest improvement at 1.8 percent.

According to the MTI, the growth in the services industry was buoyed by developments in the sectors of finance, insurance, and business services. The improvement in these sectors, it said, “is more than offset the decline in the wholesale and retail trade sector.”

In a separate report, retail sales in the country in February fell by 2.7 percent year-on-year after vehicle sales plunged 39.7 percent. All other sales increased 10 percent from the previous year’s figures. The Singapore Department of Statistics, in its February 2012 Retail Sales Index, noted that the on-year growth for various industries in the city-state are as follows: food and beverage (55.9%), supermarkets (24.6%), apparel and footwear (23.5%), department stores (19.2%), medical goods and toiletries (12.9%), and provision and sundry shops (12.8%). Modest growth was observed in the telecoms apparatus and computers sector (5.9%), watches and jewellery (9.4%), and recreational goods (0.1%). The three sectors that declined were optical goods and books (-9%), furniture and household equipment (-5%), and petrol service stations (-4.6%).

Despite the crunch, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) predicted a modest overall growth for the national economy this 2013 on account of the recovery of external demand.