ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Monkey business: Slowing growth casts a pall over Lunar New Year celebrations

Almost 2 in 5 Singaporeans expect the economy to decline.

Singaporeans are wary about the country’s growth prospects in 2016, according to United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) annual Lunar New Year Survey.

Although most Singaporeans have a higher overall budget for this year’s celebrations, the survey showed that 36% of respondents expect the economy to decline this year, while 44% expect the country’s economic situation to remain similar to 2015. Meanwhile, only one in five respondents said that they thought the economy would get better this year.

Overall, Singapore consumers intend to spend an average of $2,805 each to usher in the Year of the Monkey, 20% more than last year’s budget of $2,345.

The increase can be attributed to more respondents planning to travel, with nearly two in five or 39% of respondents planning to go away during the festive period as compared with 32% per cent last year. 

On average, Singaporeans will give each parent $389, nearly double that of 2015’s average of $209. Parents-in-law will each receive an average of $232 this year, 33 per cent more than what they received last year.

“Although overall spending has increased, partly due to real median monthly income having risen in 2015, it appears Singaporeans are cautious about what the playful Year of the Monkey may hold. Nevertheless, family is priority when it comes to giving red packets and even those travelling overseas for a holiday plan to do so with family time in mind,” said UOB economist Francis Tan.

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