8 per cent growth in services as ll segments expand

PHOTO: 8 per cent growth in services as ll segments expand

Singapore's services sector continued its strong growth in the July to September quarter this year, with firms reporting an 8 per cent rise in takings over the same period last year.

This was up from a 7.9 per cent rise in the second quarter over the same period last year. Economists expect the sector to continue its expansion momentum.

"Our sense is that services growth will likely remain healthy," said Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin.

Trade-related services, such as wholesale trade, transport and storage, are improving with global growth, he noted.

"Services is also generating a large proportion of new jobs. Hiring intentions are improving, particularly financial and business services," Dr Chua added.

All segments of the sector took in higher receipts in the third quarter over a year earlier, said the Statistics Department Wednesday.

The heartiest expansion was in the business services and financial and insurance services segments, which both grew at double-digit rates of 12.2 per cent and 11.6 per cent respectively.

They were followed by recreation and personal services, which grew 8.4 per cent; education services, which expanded 6.9 per cent; and real estate, rental and leasing services, which improved 6.1 per cent.

Health and social services and information and communications services each grew about 5 per cent, according to the Statistics Department's data.

Bringing up the rear was transport and storage services, with growth of 3.8 per cent.

While the overall services sector was larger in the July to September quarter compared to a year ago, the pace of its expansion this year has slowed somewhat.

Compared with the April to June quarter, the services sector was almost flat in the third quarter. It grew just 0.7 per cent, the Statistics Department said.

In comparison, the sector had expanded 2.3 per cent in the second quarter over the first quarter.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, "performance was mixed" in the July to September quarter, the Statistics Department said.

Education services was the stand-out performer in the third quarter over the previous quarter, growing a robust 15.2 per cent. This was after the segment shrank 16.1 per cent in the second quarter over the first three months of the year.

Recreation and personal services also logged credible growth of 4.6 per cent in the third quarter from the second quarter, Statistics Department figures showed.

Other segments that grew quarter-on-quarter were business services, transport and storage, and health and social services. Each grew between 0.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent in the quarter.

But three other services segments shrank in the third quarter from the second quarter. Financial and insurance services saw their takings fall 2.9 per cent, while information and communications services took in 0.9 per cent less in receipts.

Real estate, rental and leasing services also contracted 0.6 per cent in the period.


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