Singapore economy is expected to experience the sharpest slow down in the region, as its GDP growth fell from 3.1 percent last year to 1.9 percent in 2019. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in its report said that the export outlook is weakening on the back of escalating tariffs from the US-China trade war.
The report said Singapore’s GDP is likely to face the repercussions of the trade war because it is heavily reliant on exports. Amid the trade tensions, Southeast Asia’s growth is also anticipated to move at a slow pace from 5.3 percent in 2018 to 4.8 percent this year.
Ms Sian Fenner, ICAEW economic adviser and Oxford Economics lead Asia economist told Strait Times, “With export volumes already on the downside since the start of the year, any further increase in trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies will likely see a much more prominent slowdown in regional growth.”
In the first quarter of 2019, Singapore’s economy saw a growth of 1.2 percent. The pace of growth is the lowest in the last decade.
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC said that it is cautious about investing there, factoring in the current political situation. GIC being among the world’s biggest investors is trying to improve its investment returns by exploring options in economies like Vietnam, where manufacturing is shifting as a result of the trade war.
GIC invested in Vietnam’s Vingroup and Brazilian gym chain Smartfit last year. Although businesses in Singapore are highly cautious of the environment, the ‘outlook for construction out the residential sector’ is quite positive, Fenner said.