SINGAPORE (June 14): Economists raised their forecasts for Singapore's growth this year, compared to three months ago, as they upgraded their views on manufacturing and bank lending, a central bank survey showed on Wednesday.

The median forecast of 21 economists surveyed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was for gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 2.5% in 2017, up from the 2.3% estimated in the previous survey, published in March.

That would mark a pick-up from 2.0% growth in 2016, and would be at the upper end of the government's forecast range.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said in May that full-year 2017 GDP growth is likely to come in higher than 2.0% "barring the materialisation of downside risks", but kept its official GDP growth forecast unchanged at a range of 1-3%.

Economists now expect the manufacturing sector to expand 5.0% in 2017, up from 4.5% seen in the March survey.

They also upgraded their view on bank loans, which are seen increasing 6.2% in 2017. The previous median forecast was 3.2% growth.

Non-oil domestic exports are expected to grow 5.6% in 2017, down from the previous median forecast of 6.1%. Other forecasts that were trimmed include construction, now expected to grow 0.2% compared to 0.3% previously.

The survey's median forecast for year-on-year GDP growth in the second quarter was 2.7%, up from the previous median of 2.5%.

Singapore's GDP expanded 2.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, but contracted 1.3% from the previous three months on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis.

The central bank's core inflation gauge was expected to rise 1.5% for the whole of 2017, unchanged from the previous survey.

According to the latest MAS survey, economists' median forecast for all-items CPI inflation in 2017 was trimmed to 0.9% from 1.0%.

Economists estimated that the Singapore dollar will trade at 1.4100 against the U.S. dollar by end-2017. It was trading near 1.3820 on Wednesday.

Singapore's advance estimate of second quarter GDP is due to be released in the first half of July.