Singapore central bank to make policy statement on April 12

Singapore central bank to make policy statement on April 12

SINGAPORE - Singapore's central bank said it will issue its half-yearly monetary policy statement on April 12, with all 11 forecasters polled by Reuters expecting it to maintain the current appreciation path for the Singapore dollar.

Expectations for policy to be held steady were based on the need for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to prioritise the containing of inflation over trying to boost an economy that is barely growing.

The statement will be released at 8 a.m. (0000 GMT) on April 12, the calendar on the MAS website shows.

Advance gross domestic product estimates for the first quarter will be issued at the same time, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

The MAS policy statement will come just a week after the Bank of Japan unleashed the world's most intense burst of monetary stimulus on Thursday, promising to inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy in the hopes of ending two decades of stagnation.

A spokeswoman for the MAS said earlier on Friday it would not comment on the Bank of Japan's stimulus right now as its policy statement would be coming out soon.

The Reuters poll on MAS policy was issued on April 3, before the Japanese announcement.

Inflation in Singapore is likely to ease to 3.8 per cent this year from last year's 4.6 per cent, the MAS's latest survey of economists showed.

The survey also showed GDP likely growing 2.8 per cent this year after the 1.3 per cent expansion in 2012, helped by a recovery in manufacturing and financial services. The economists expected most of the growth in the second half of the year, with an expansion of just 0.8 per cent seen for the first quarter.

Singapore, a small trade-dependent island and global financial centre, manages monetary policy by letting its dollar rise or fall against the currencies of its main trading partners within an undisclosed trading band.

The MAS can adjust the slope of the trading band to show whether it favours allowing the Singapore dollar to appreciate at a faster or slower pace. It can force a rise or fall in the value of the currency by adjusting the midpoint of the band.

In its last policy statement in October, the MAS defied expectations of an easing by keeping the Singapore dollar on its"modest and gradual appreciation" path with "no change to the slope and width of the policy band as well as the level at which it is centred".

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