A woman wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 walks the promenade in Marina Bay in Singapore on May 4, 2020.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images
SINGAPORE – Singapore’s economy contracted less than expected in 2020 as activity continued to pick up in the fourth quarter following the easing of Covid restrictions, estimates by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed on Monday.
The Southeast Asian economy contracted 5.8% year-on-year in 2020, the ministry said. That is better than the official forecast for an annual decline of between 6% and 6.5%.
In the final quarter of last year, Singapore’s economy contracted 3.8% year-over-year – an improvement from the revised 5.6% year-over-year decline in the third quarter, the ministry said.
Seasonally adjusted, the gross domestic product or GDP of Singapore increased by 2.1% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter – after 9.5% in the last three months.
Singapore’s trade-dependent economy was hit by a slump in activity last year as countries around the world put lockdown measures in place to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Domestically, Singapore introduced “circuit breaker” measures in early April and lifted them in early June – although some measures still exist, such as the mandatory wearing of masks in public places. This enabled most of the economic activities in the city-state to resume.
According to official estimates, the various sectors developed as follows in the fourth quarter:
- The goods manufacturing industry grew by 3.3% compared to the previous year, with the manufacturing industry increasing by 9.5% compared to the previous year.
- The construction sector posted a decline for the fourth straight quarter, but the 28.5% year-over-year decline was better than the previous quarter.
- The service industry continued to shrink for the fourth quarter in a row, recording a decline of 6.8% year-on-year.
The forecast for the fourth quarter is largely based on data from October and November. The Department of Commerce and Industry will publish an update of the data in February.