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ECONOMY | Tim Charlton, Singapore
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Why Singapore consumers are tightening their purse strings

Consumer spending declined for two quarters in a row.

Bloomberg reported that after two years of below-par growth, economists and even the government are becoming more positive on the outlook. While it's not boom time yet, the consensus is that 2017 growth will come in higher than last year’s 2 percent. A large part of that is down to exports: Singapore, like other trade-reliant nations in Asia, is benefiting from a recovery in global growth, which is translating into rising sales of electronic goods.

But good news is masking pain on the ground. Consumer spending -- which makes up a third of the economy -- has contracted for two straight quarters, unemployment is rising, wage growth is slowing and household debt is increasing.

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