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Singapore Sees Sharper Economic Slump as Virus Spreads Globally

Stock Markets Apr 22, 2020 10:00PM ET
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© Bloomberg. A pedestrian crosses Orchard Road during a partial lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in Singapore, on Monday, April 20, 2020. The number of daily coronavirus cases in Singapore topped 1,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, as an outbreak among migrant workers living in shared dormitories continued to surge. Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg
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(Bloomberg) -- Singapore is bracing for a sharper economic contraction this year than an earlier forecast of as much as a 4% slump, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread globally and disrupts supply chains.

The city-state is “very likely” to see a sharper fall in GDP, the city-state’s trade and industry minister Chan Chun Sing said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin. “We are really concerned that worldwide, this is going to lead to a more serious problem than many had anticipated just a month ago”.

The minister refrained from giving a new official forecast for GDP, but noted that connectivity among the major economies has been unsettled, hurting the short-term capacities and long term capabilities of countries. The country’s gross domestic product contracted an annualized 10.6% in the first quarter -- most in a decade -- with the government in March forecasting a contraction of 1%-4% for the year.

Singapore on Tuesday extended its “circuit-breaker” measures for a further four weeks until June 1 in a bid to “decisively” bring down coronavirus cases within the community. Chan said he hopes to ‘progressively open’ the economy in a month’s time and said the country is planning ‘much more testing’ for the entire population.

Initially seen as a global model for how to contain the pandemic, Singapore now has the most cases in Southeast Asia -- more than 10,000 -- as Covid-19 spreads quickly in densely packed dormitories housing foreign laborers.

READ: How Singapore Flipped From Virus Hero to Cautionary Tale

The government has committed more than S$60 billion ($42 billion) in fiscal support and the Monetary Authority of Singapore has undertaken unprecedented easing steps to cushion the blow for businesses and households.

Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C). economists warned that Singapore will witness a deeper recession because of the extended circuit breaker, with the economy now seen contracting 8.5% for the year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Singapore Sees Sharper Economic Slump as Virus Spreads Globally

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