SINGAPORE (Mar 26): The bigger the crisis, the higher the expectations of a government-led bailout.
Already, market watchers say the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to dwarf the effects on Singapore’s economy from the 2008 global financial crisis.
But Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat is tempering expectations ahead of the unveiling of a second stimulus package aimed at helping Singapore weather the coronavirus outbreak.
Dubbed the “Resilience Budget”, detail of the supplementary budget will be announced by Heng in a Ministerial Statement in Parliament at 3.30pm on March 26.
“Various analysts and business leaders have been guessing about the size of the Budget, and its reach,” Heng noted in a Facebook post this morning.
Market watchers believe the upcoming package is expected to surpass the $20.5 billion stimulus package unveiled in 2009 to help the city state tide through the global financial meltdown, with some economists estimating a bailout package of between $14 billion and $33 billion.
See: Economists eye targeted measures in second stimulus package, but say this may not be the last
“It is important not to have excessive expectations or merely focus on the headline numbers. What is more important is that all of us do our part and make the best use of whatever we have,” Heng said.
The Resilience Budget announcement will come amid the biggest contraction in Singapore’s economy in a decade.
For 1Q2020, gross domestic product fell 2.2% year-on-year, faring worse than the median forecast of a 1.4% decline in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
On an annualised quarter-on-quarter basis, 1Q GDP fell 10.6% from the previous three months, missing the median forecast of an 8.2% decline.
The contraction is likely to deepen in 2Q, with the government is now expecting a sharp full-year contraction in the economy of 1%-4%.
“Our resilience as a country, as a society, is being put to the test as we face our biggest challenge in more than a decade,” Heng said. “This time around, we face not just an economic crisis, but also a global pandemic.”
“The road ahead will not be easy, but with the Resilience Budget — we will help save jobs and support companies, with more for those who have been hardest hit. Households will also receive additional help to tide through this difficult period,” he added.