Economists cut Singapore growth forecasts, raise inflation – survey

By Thomson Reuters Aug 31, 2022 | 11:02 PM

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Economists have cut growth forecasts and upped inflation expectations for Singapore, according to a central bank survey, published on Thursday, with a global slowdown seen as the biggest risk to the trade-sensitive city state.

The median forecast of 21 economists surveyed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is for Singapore’s economy to grow 3.5% this year, down from a forecast of 3.8% in June’s survey.

The median inflation forecast is for broad consumer prices to rise 5.7% over 2022, up from 5% predicted in June.

The MAS sent out the survey early in August, when the government also downgraded growth forecasts and as central banks around the world stepped up efforts to contain inflation by raising interest rates.

Almost three quarters of survey respondents saw an external growth slowdown among trading partners as the top downside risk to the economy, while 61.5% rated a better than expected recovery in China as the most likely source of an upside surprise.

Weak Chinese data in recent weeks will not be encouraging for that view, however, nor would disappointing Singapore manufacturing figures published last week.

On the inflation front, the most recent data from July had Singapore’s consumer prices rising at their fastest pace in 13 years and the finance minister this month said he did not expect it to peak until the fourth quarter of this year.

Singapore unexpectedly tightened monetary policy twice this year, in January and July.

A majority of economists expect year-on-year corporate profits to fall in the September quarter, the survey showed, although most also think property prices will rise and corporate bond spreads will stay stable.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Martin Petty)