SINGAPORE (Dec 11): The Singapore economy is expected to grow 0.7% y-o-y in 2019, according to the MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters for December.

This is higher than the 0.6% y-o-y growth predicted in the previous survey in September.

To recap, the Singapore economy expanded 0.5% in 3Q19 compared with the same period last year, higher than the 0.3% projected by respondents in the previous survey.

In the current survey, year-on-year growth in 4Q19 is expected to come in at 1.0%.

Further escalation of trade tensions, in particular between the US and China, again topped the list of downside risks identified by survey respondents.

A sharper-than-expected slowdown in China’s economic growth also continued to be a concern for respondents, with 43.8% citing this risk compared with 50% in the previous survey.

In the manufacturing sector, the 22 economists polled by the Monetary Authority of Singapore expect an annual contraction of 1.4%. This is smaller than their previous prediction of a 2.4% contraction. They also expect a 3% contraction in wholesale and retail trade for the year.

In contrast, the finance and insurance sector and the private consumption sectors are expected to lead growth at 4.1% each.

For 2020, the private-sector economists are looking at a possible GDP growth rate of 1.5%, down from their 1.6% estimate in September.

Meanwhile, headline inflation – the measure of total inflation in the economy – is expected to come in at 0.6% for 2019, the survey showed. This is lower than the 0.7% estimated in September.

Core inflation – which excludes private road transport and accommodation costs – is projected at 1.1%, down from the 1.2% anticipated previously.