Singapore Q1 GDP tops forecasts on higher manufacturing

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SINGAPORE — Singapore’s economy expanded more than initially estimated in the first quarter, helped by stronger-than-expected manufacturing, official data showed on Tuesday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.3% year-on-year in the first quarter, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said, higher than the 0.2% growth seen in the government’s advance estimate.

Analysts had expected a 0.9% increase, according to a Reuters poll.

Considering the larger-than-usual degree of uncertainty over the course of the pandemic globally as well as the domestic situation, MTI said it would maintain its GDP growth forecast for 2021 at 4% to 6% for now. The outlook will be reviewed in August.

The government had last month said it expected growth to exceed the upper end of the forecast range, recovering from the recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, its worst on record.

“The pace of recovery of the various sectors of the economy this year is likely to be more uneven than earlier expected,” the MTI said.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy expanded by 3.1% in the first quarter.

The city-state is often seen as a bellwether for global growth as international trade dwarfs its domestic economy.

The central bank maintained its accommodative monetary policy at its last meeting in April.

Singapore this month re-imposed some restrictions on social gatherings, the toughest since exiting a lockdown last year, to combat a recent spike in local COVID-19 infections. (Reporting by Chen Lin and Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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