Singapore's GDP ease to 1.3% for Q1

Growth in the first quarter came from the services and construction sectors.

The Singapore economy grew by 1.3% from a year ago for the first quarter of 2019, advance estimates revealed on Friday, helped by support from the services and construction sectors.

The growth for the first quarter was however, moderated from the fourth quarter’s 1.9% gain, data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, Gross Domestic Product rose by 2.0%, accelerating from the 1.4% growth in the previous quarter.

For the first quarter, the services producing industries helped support economic growth with a 2.1% increase compared to a year ago, rising slightly from the 1.8% growth in the fourth quarter. The information and communications and business services segments supported the growth for the quarter.

The construction sector grew by 1.4% from a year ago, marking a turnaround from the 1.0% decline in the previous quarter. The performance was the first quarter of growth after ten straight quarters of decline. The MTI said the recovery of the sector was supported by an ‘improvement in private sector construction activities’.

The manufacturing sector, meanwhile, shrank by 1.9% for the quarter, which was a reversal from the 5.1% growth in the previous quarter. The decline is due partly to a high base effect from a year ago as the first quarter of last year had expanded by 10.1%. For the first quarter, the sector was weighed down by output declines in the precision engineering and electronics clusters.

The first quarter final estimates for the country’s economic growth will be released in May.

In a separate statement on Friday, the country's central bank left its monetary policy unchanged as it observes of a slower economy that is likely to expand at a moderate pace in the coming quarters. Despite some pickup in labour costs, inflationary pressures are mild and should remain contained, it said.

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