In Focus
ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

4 drivers that can boost Singapore's growth to 2.4%

On the external front, exports continue to recover.

Singapore started the year on a positive momentum which could lead to a full-year gross domestic product growth of 2.4%, up from 2% last year.

According to a study by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW ), this could be driven by a number of things. One is the continuous momentum in Singapore exports.

However, ICAEW said caution should remain given the uncertain global backdrop.

"Expect the recovery in external trade to be unstable. The heavily export-dependent Singapore would be subject to significant knock-on effects, in the case of increased protectionism, even if it were not the direct target of increased tariff," ICAEW explained.

Another possible driver is the recovery in business investment. Prospects of further rate hikes in the US and therefore domestic interest rates, could snuff out any recovery in business investment before it gathers traction. However, investment is likely to be a lesser drag on growth this year, as government spending picks up.

"Fiscal spending is forecast to be mildly stimulatory following the announcement that a number of infrastructure projects will be brought forward," it added.

Meanwhile, the recent easing in housing restrictions would definitely have its part in the economic growth forecast. It should be noted, however, that it will take some time to unwind the large oversupply in the market.

Not to be left out is the combination of negative wealth effects, associated with falling house prices and a weaker labour market. ICAEW said the city-state has to be careful with this, as it has its toll already on household spending whilst unemployment continues to rise.

"We do expect employment conditions to improve in 2017 as the drag from sharp retrenchment in financial services and oil & gas-related sectors begins to ease. However, growth in private consumption is still forecast to remain relatively subdued, with slower wage growth and higher inflation weighing on real earnings," ICAEW concluded.

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