Economic Trends/Outlook in Singapore

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Economic Overview

Singapore's economy was particularly affected by the international financial crisis, because of its very extreme financialization, and its large degree of openness, and thus its dependence on international trade. While GDP growth was above 7.5% from 2004 to 2007, it dropped sharply in 2009 (-1.3%). However, boosted by the regional economic recovery which fuelled a sharp increase in exports, as well as by the resumed vigor of domestic demand, Singapore’s growth reached an exceptional degree of 15% of the GDP in 2010. This growth should probably slow down in 2011 and reach a more sustainable level.

The strong recovery context allowed the government to put an end to the exceptional tax measures adopted in order to combat the crisis. The present priorities are to channel this strong growth, contain the hike in real estate prices and fight against inflation pressures. Mid-term objectives of promoting innovation and research and productivity gains are again pursued. IN order to maintain its competitive position despite the growth of salaries, the government seeks especially to promote activities with high added value (such as biotechnology, R&D and pharmaceutical products) in the manufacturing and service sectors.

The level of per capita wealth in Singapore is amongst the highest in the region. After a long period of full employment, unemployment has appeared, especially due to structural economic chances (outsourcing of low-skilled work) and worsened during the crisis. However, it decreased in 2010 and now remains at around 2% of the active population.

Main Indicators 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP (billions USD) 183.33 222.70e 253.74e 266.16e 278.77e
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -0.8 14.5e 5.2e 4.4e 4.3e
GDP per Capita (USD) 36,112e 43,117e 48,286e 49,783e 51,250e
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -1.4 3.5e 1.8e 2.3e 2.5e
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 105.0 97.2e 93.7e 91.3e 88.5e
Inflation Rate (%) 0.6 2.8e 3.3e 3.0e 2.3e
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 3.0 2.2e 2.2e 2.2e 2.2e
Current Account (billions USD) 33.84e 42.86e 46.22e 49.47e -
Current Account (in % of GDP) 19.1e 22.0e 22.4e 22.7e -

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Sectors of Industry

Singapore's economy is highly industrialized. The biggest sector is the manufacturing sector, followed by the wholesale and retail sector, business services, transport and communication and financial services. The electronics and petrochemical industries are dominant. The services sector contributes almost three quarters of the GDP and employs three quarters of the active population. The industrial sector represents a quarter of the GDP. The primary sector is almost nonexistent (except for the cultivation of orchids, vegetables and fish for aquariums). Singapore does not have any mineral resources.

Singapore is a regional trading hub. The Port of Singapore is amongst the world's biggest and is the second traffic center for container transshipment, behind Hong Kong.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 1.1 22.6 76.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 0.1 26.3 74.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) -4.4 -1.0 3.8

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

For more detailed background on Industries in Singapore, click here.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2011 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the Country Risk Analysis Provided By Ducroire.


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