SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will aim to strike a delicate balance in Monday’s budget: preaching fiscal prudence while doling out more social spending ahead of elections that could come as early as this year.

While not expected to be as headline-grabbing as last year -- when Heng flagged a hike in the goods-and-services tax -- the 2019 budget will cover a range of familiar policy priorities. Infrastructure spending, more healthcare support for a rapidly ageing population, and help for firms transitioning in a digital economy were top-of-mind for Heng in a Jan 22 interview.

The global backdrop calls for more caution. Weaker demand and US-China trade tensions saw Singapore’s export-reliant economy grow at a slower pace than expected in the fourth quarter, data showed Friday.

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