Singapore second-quarter recession deeper than initial estimates

A view of Singapore skyline, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Singapore on July 14, 2020.
PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE - Singapore's recession was deeper than first thought in the second quarter due to coronavirus lockdown measures, and the government said the trade-reliant economy's path to recovery remained uncertain due to the pandemic.

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 13.2 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, revised government data showed on Tuesday, versus the 12.6 per cent drop seen in advance estimates.

The economy fell 42.9 per cent from the previous three months on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis, compared with the government's initial estimate of a 41.2 per cent contraction.

The data matched analyst expectations.

The government said it now expects full-year GDP to contract between 5 per cent and 7 per cent versus its previous forecast for a 4 per cent to 7 per cent decline. The country is still facing the biggest downturn in its history.

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"There continues to be significant uncertainty over how the COVID-19 situation will evolve in the coming quarters, and correspondingly, the trajectory of the economic recovery in both the global and domestic economies," Gabriel Lim, permanent secretary for trade and industry, told a briefing.

"The outlook for the Singapore economy has weakened slightly since May."

Singapore's economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country was under a lockdown for most of the second quarter to curb the spread of the virus.

The GDP slump marked the second consecutive quarter of contraction for the global finance hub - having declined 0.3 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter and 3.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter - meeting the definition for a technical recession.

The central bank eased its monetary policy in March, while the government has pumped in nearly S$100 billion ($72 billion) worth of stimulus to blunt the impact of the pandemic.

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