Singapore’s GDP Grew by 1.3 in the First Quarter of 2019 compared to 1.9 % growth in the fourth quarter of last year- The decline was not unexpected given the GDP 2018 was 3.2% versus GDP 2017 of 3.7%. China, Malaysia, EU, USA,HK and Taiwan were the main trading partners.
The overall trend will continue to be very challenging given all our major trading partners economy are also very fragile notably China,Malaysia, USA and the EU.
Non-oil domestic exports decreased by 11.7% year-on- year in March 2019 contrasting to a 4.8% increase in February. In January the decline was 10.1%. The decline is the worst since the second quarter of 2009 during the financial crisis.
Manufacturing sector continue to contract especially in the electronics and precision industry.
The trade war between the United States and China in particular continue to pile further pressure on already weak Chinese economy. China announce its Q1 2019 GDP at 6.4% which is in line with the government expectations though many analyst think the real GDP number could be much in the range of 4.8% to 5.2% due to the accuracy of data collection in such a large economy. The positive sign is the trade war and tariffs which were imposed by borne countries will probably end by end May/ early June this year when President Trump and President Xi will meet at the summit between the 2 Presidents.
Trade talks / war with EU will probably follow. Notwithstanding this IMF in April downgrade for the third time since last October the world’s GDP to 3.3% the lowest since 2009.
As for Singapore a pool of analyst are estimating the 2019 GDP to be 2.5%.
In our view we could be looking at a much challenging lower end if any of the recovery ( mild) of our major trading partners do not lift up by the third quarter then Singapore would be in a technical recession by the end of the year.