SINGAPORE: Singapore escaped recession by the narrowest of margins in the fourth quarter of 2002, the government estimated yesterday, and the central bank defied pressure to loosen monetary policy despite a sluggish outlook.
Gross domestic product (GDP) – the broadest measure of the economy – grew an annualised 0.1% in the quarter, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in an estimate based on October and November data.
Faltering demand for the branded high-tech exports that are the staple of Singapore’s manufacturers had stoked fears the trade-dependent economy would shrink for a second straight quarter – meeting the technical definition of recession.
The economy contracted 9.9% in the 3rd quarter after Singapore pulled out of its worst recession since 1964 in the 2nd quarter.
“The only reason we are marginally in the clear is that they gave an estimate for December manufacturing which was stronger than expected,” said Song Seng Wun, economist with G.K. Goh.
Services-producing industries grew 2.2% in the fourth quarter, manufacturing expanded 6.7% and construction fell 10%, the ministry said.
The economy expanded 2.6% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, generating full-year growth of 2.2% for 2002. – Reuters
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