Slower growth for S'pore 'realistic'

Slower growth for S'pore 'realistic'

SINGAPORE - Private economists say Singapore's economy has the potential to expand faster than the Government's latest target of 2 per cent to 3 per cent growth in the coming years.

But they say the goal, outlined by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday, is probably realistic given Singapore's policy choices and the uncertain global economy.

The country is also making a transition to an advanced economy, they added.

Speaking at the People's Action Party's biennial conference, Mr Lee said that the Government is no longer aiming for the "ridiculously high" growth of previous years.

A good pace would be 3 per cent to 4 per cent growth, he said.

As the workforce grows slower, even growth of 2 per cent to 3 per cent would be "considered good growth", Mr Lee added.

DBS economist Irvin Seah said yesterday that Singapore has the potential to grow faster, but it has implemented policies such as tightening the supply of foreign labour.

This will restrict growth.

"Thus, over the medium- term horizon, we can expect a growth pace of 2 to 3 per cent," said Mr Seah.

The uncertain economies of the United States and Europe could also affect Singapore's growth, said OCBC economist Selena Ling.

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