Thursday March 14 2019
Singapore Q4 Jobless Rate Confirmed Highest in 1-1/2 Years
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 2.2 percent in the December quarter 2018 from 2.1 percent in the previous period and in line with the preliminary estimate, final data showed. It was the highest jobless rate since the second quarter 2017 on the back of continued expansion in domestic economy. Considering full 2018, the unemployment rate inched lower to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent in 2017.

In the three months to December, the jobless rate inched higher for both residents (3.0 percent from 2.9 percent) and citizens (3.1 percent from 3.0 percent). 

Total employment (excluding foreign domestic workers/ (FDW) rose by 14,700, slightly lower than in the previous quarter (16,700), but still higher than the same quarter a year ago (10,700). Job losses were observed in manufacturing (-2,000, the bulk from petroleum, chemical & pharmaceutical products (-1,200)), after an increase in Q3 (3,500); and construction (-400) amid weakness in public sector construction activities. Meantime, job gains were recorded in services (17,000 excluding FDW) supported by hiring for festive season, namely food & beverage services (3,700) and retail trade (3,200). 

Some 2,510 workers were laid off, down from 2,860 workers in Q3 and from 3,680 a year earlier. The increase in services was more than offset by lower layoffs in manufacturing. Retrenchments in construction remained similar. 

The rate of re-entry among retrenched residents rose to 64 percent in Q4 from 62 percent in Q3. The rise was observed for most age, education and occupational groups, except for residents aged 50 & over, as well as those with diploma & professional qualifications.

The number of job vacancies continued its uptrend since 2017, rising to 62,300 in Q4 from 58,800 in Q3. As the increase in unemployed persons was relatively smaller, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons rose to 1.10 in Q4 from from 1.05 in Q3, and was broadly similar to the ratio in Q2 (1.08).

For full 2018, the annual average unemployment rate edged down to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent in 2017, which was the highest annual figure since 2010. Unemployment fell for both resident (2.9 percent from 3.1 percent in 2017) and citizens (3.0 percent from 3.3 percent). 

Total employment  grew 38,300; the highest since 2014 (122,100), rebounding from a 10,700 decline in 2017. Local employment growth (27,400) was more than double that of foreigners (10,900). Local employment growth was also the highest since 2014 (96,000), while the foreign employment increase occurred after two consecutive years of dereases. The services sector added some 47,800 workers, led by community, social & personal services (10,700, around half from health & social services), information & communications (8,400) and transportation & storage (7,700). In contrast, total employment continued to fall in manufacturing (-2,400) and construction (-7,100), but the contraction eased. If marine shipyard was excluded, total employment in manufacturing would have increased by 1,100 instead.

Total retrenchments continued to decline in 2018 to 10,730, the lowest since 2011. Taking into account the size of the workforce, the incidence of retrenchment had been on a downtrend, and the 2018 rate (5.1 retrenched per 1,000 employees) was the lowest in the past decade.
The annual re-entry rate into employment among retrenched residents dipped to 63 percent in 2018 from 65 percent in 2017. Re-entry rates in the current three years have been lower than preceding years. This partly reflects the increasing share of those older, PMETs, and degree holders who tended to have below-average re-entry rates. 




Monday February 25 2019
Singapore Inflation Rate Below Estimates in January
Statistics Singapore l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate inched lower to 0.4 percent in January of 2019 from 0.5 percent in December and below market expectations of 0.6 percent, as prices slowed significantly for electricity and gas. Meantime, food inflation remained at its lowest in five months.

Year-on-year, cost fell for housing & utilities (-0.5 percent vs 0.1 percent in December), amid a drop in prices of accommodation (-1.9 percent, the same pace as December) and a slowdown in those of electricity & gas (6.5 percent vs 14.6 percent), reflecting a downward revision in electricity tariffs due to lower oil prices in the preceding months, as well as the effect of the phased nationwide launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) on electricity prices. In addition, prices fell for transport (-1.8 percent vs -2.6 percent), namely private road transport (-3.4 percent vs -3.7 percent); and communications (-2.9 percent vs -2.7 percent).

Meantime, cost slowed for: clothing & footwear (2.5 percent vs 2.6 percent); household durables & services (0.7 percent vs 0.8 percent); and recreation & culture (0.9 percent vs 1.7 percent). Also, inflation was steady for education (at 3.2 percent); miscellaneous goods & services (at 1.4 percent) and food & non-alcoholic beverages (at 1.4 percent), which stood at its lowest level in five months, as cost increases for both non-cooked food items and prepared meals remained almost the same. On the other hand, prices rose further for healthcare (1.7 percent vs 1.6 percent).

Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, edged down to 1.7 percent in January from 1.9 percent in December, missing market expectations of 1.9 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices declined 0.3 percent in January, compared to a 0.1 percent rise in December and marking the first monthly fall in three months.

In a joint release, the Singapore's central bank and trade ministry revised down 2019 inflation forecast to between 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent from an earlier estimate of 1 percent to 2 percent, reflecting a sharp decline in global oil prices.




Friday February 15 2019
Singapore GDP Annual Growth Rate Below Expectations
Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com

The economy of Singapore grew an annual 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 (vs preliminary 2.2 percent), following an upwardly revised 2.4 percent expansion in the previous three-month period and missing market expectations of 2.1 percent, final data showed. It was the weakest growth rate since the third quarter of 2016 as services expansion slowed and construction output continued to fall.

Slower growth was mainly explained by services-producing industries (+1.8 percent vs +2.7 percent), as wholesale & retail trade contracted 0.6 percent after growing 1.8 percent in the previous quarter. Also, growth in transportation & storage cooled to 0.5 percent from 1.9 percent in Q3, while accommodation & food services expanded 2.9 percent after a 4.0 percent jump. 

In contrast, goods-producing industries expanded 3.8 percent after growing 2.3 percent in the previous three months, with manufacturing expanding 5.1 percent after climbing 3.5 percent. Meantime, construction contracted 1.0 percent after shrinking 2.3 percent. 

On a seasonally-adjusted annualized basis economy of Singapore grew 1.4 percent in the three months to December 2018 (vs preliminary 1.6 percent), matching a downwardly revised percent growth in the previous period and missing market consensus of 1.6 percent.

For the whole of 2018, the Singapore economy grew by 3.2 percent, a moderation from the 3.9 percent growth for 2017. In particular, the manufacturing sector rose 7.2 percent compared to 10.4 percent in 2017, amid weaker demand for semiconductors which account for 62 percent of sector production.

For 2019, the MTI maintained the GDP growth forecast at “1.5 to 3.5 percent”, with growth expected to come in slightly below the mid-point of the forecast range. 




Thursday January 31 2019
Singapore Q4 Jobless Rate Highest in 1-1/2 Years
Ministry of Manpower l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up to 2.2 percent in the December quarter of 2018 from 2.1 percent in the previous period, a preliminary estimate showed. It was the highest jobless rate since the second quarter 2017 on the back of continued expansion in domestic economy. For 2018 the whole year, unemployment rate inched lower to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter, the jobless rate inched higher for both residents (3.0 percent vs 2.9 percent in Q3) and citizens (3.1 percent vs 3.0 percent).

Total employment increased by 15,600, slightly lower than the preceding quarter (16,700). Employment in services (excluding foreign domestic workers/FDW) grew in the fourth quarter (17,500), higher than that in the previous quarter (13,800), supported by hiring for the year-end holidays and festive season. Construction employment was unchanged amid weakness in public sector construction. Manufacturing employment reverted to a decline (-2,000) from the increase in third quarter 2018 (3,500).

Some 2,800 workers were laid off, similar to the third quarter (2,860), while lower than the same period a year ago (3,68). Manufacturing retrenched fewer workers, offsetting the increase in retrenchments within services. Retrenchments in construction remained similar.

For 2018 the whole year, unemployment rate inched lower to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent a year earlier. The jobless rate declined for both resident (2.9 percent vs 3.1 percent in 2017) and citizens (3.0 percent vs 3.3 percent). This reflected the general downtrend of the unemployment rates since March 2017 highs. Total employment  (excluding FDW) grew by 39,300. The increase was driven by services which added 48,300 workers. On the other hand, sustained employment contractions were seen in construction (-6,700) for the third consecutive year and for the fifth consecutive year in manufacturing (-2,400). Still, the extent of the declines moderated. Compared with 2017, the number of layoffs was significantly lower than in 2017 (11,020 vs 14,720), as the economy continued to expand. Retrenchments declined across the three broad sectors over the year. Services continued to form the bulk of retrenchments (65 percent), followed by manufacturing (24 percent) and construction (11 percent).


Wednesday January 23 2019
Singapore December Inflation Rate Above Expectations
Statistics Singapore | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate increased to 0.5 percent in December from a seven-month low of 0.3 percent in the previous month and slightly above market consensus of 0.4 percent.

Main upward pressure came from: housing & utilities (0.1 percent vs flat reading in November), with fuel & utilities prices rising 13.7 percent vs 14.2 percent; clothing & footwear (2.6 percent vs 0.8 percent); household durables & services (0.8 percent vs 0.7 percent); and recreation & culture (1.7 percent vs 0.9 percent).
 
At the same time, food inflation stood at 1.4 percent, unchanged from previous month. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost rose for: bread & cereals (2.4 percent vs 1.6 percent); fish & seafood (1.9 percent vs 2.4 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (2.2 percent vs 2.0 percent); oils & fats (4.0 percent vs 4.3 percent); fruits (2.2 percent vs 3.2 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (1.4 percent vs -1.4 percent); and non-alcoholic beverages (0.6 percent vs -0.3 percent). On the other hand, prices fell for both vegetables (-0.1 percent vs flat reading) and meat (-0.7 percent vs -0.5 percent). Among food servicing services, the biggest price increase was recorded for restaurant food (1.6 percent vs 1.8 percent), followed by hawker food including food courts (unchanged at 1.5 percent) and catered food (unchanged at 0.9 percent) while a decline was seen in cost of fast food (-0.4 percent vs 0.1 percent)
 
Inflation was also steady for healthcare (at 1.6 percent) education (at 3.2 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (at 1.4 percent), while prices dropped for transport (-2.6 percent vs -2.8 percent), mainly due to private road transport (-3.7 percent vs -3.6 percent); and communication (-2.7 percent vs -3.0 percent).
 
Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, picked up to 1.9 percent in December from 1.7 percent in November, beating market expectations of 1.7 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in December, after a 0.2 percent rise in November.


Wednesday January 02 2019
Singapore Q4 GDP Growth Weakest in Over 2 Years
Statistics Singapore | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The economy of Singapore grew an annual 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, following an upwardly revised 2.3 percent expansion in the previous three-month period and missing market expectations of 2.7 percent, a preliminary estimate showed. It was the weakest growth rate since the third quarter of 2016 as services expansion slowed and construction output continued to fall.

Services producing industries increased 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter (vs 2.6 percent in Q3), mainly supported by finance & insurance, business services and information & communications sectors. At the same time, construction output shrank 2.2 percent, following a 2.5 percent contraction in the previous period, primarily due to weakness in public sector construction activities. On the other hand, manufacturing production grew 5.5 percent in the three months to December, faster than the 3.7 percent increase in the previous period, largely driven by robust output expansions in the biomedical manufacturing and electronics clusters, which more than offset the output decline in the precision engineering cluster.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy expanded 1.6 percent, following an upwardly revised 3.5 percent growth in the September quarter and also missing market consensus of 2.9 percent. Output growth eased for both services producing industries (3.7 percent vs 5.3 percent in Q3) and construction (1.1 percent vs 3.3 percent), while manufacturing slumped 8.7 percent, reversing a 3.1 percent growth in the third quarter.

For 2018 as a whole, the economy grew 3.3 percent, compared to a 3.6 percent expansion in 2017.


Wednesday December 26 2018
Singapore Inflation Rate at 7-Month Low of 0.3% in November
Statistics Singapore l Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate slowed to a 7-month low of 0.3 percent in November 2018 from 0.7 percent in the previous month and below market consensus of 0.6 percent. Food inflation remained at its lowest in five months, while cost of transport fell further.

In November, food inflation came in at 1.4 percent, unchanged from the previous month and remaining at its lowest since May. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost continued to rise for: bread & cereals (1.6 percent vs 1.8 percent in October); fish & seafood (2.4 percent vs 2.6 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (2 percent vs 1.8 percent); oils & fats (4.3 percent vs 2.7 percent); fruits (3.2 percent vs 2.8 percent), while was flat for vegetables (vs -1.6 percent in October), and declined for meat (-0.5 percent vs -0.4 percent); and sugar, preserves & confectionery (-1.4 percent vs 1.6 percent). Among food servicing services, inflation was stable for restaurant food (at 1.8 percent); hawker food including food courts (at 1.5 percent); and catered (at 0.9 percent), while eased for fast food (0.1 percent vs 0.2 percent).

At the same time, cost eased for housing & utilities (a flat reading vs -0.2 percent in October), driven by accommodation (-2.1 percent vs -2.5 percent) and fuel & utilities (14.2 percent vs 15.1 percent); clothing & footwear (0.8 percent vs 1.2 percent in October); household durables & services (0.7 percent vs 0.9 percent); healthcare (1.6 percent vs 1.8 percent); and recreation & culture (0.9 percent vs 1.0 percent). Also, cost fell further for transport (-2.8 percent vs -0.5 percent), mainly due to private road transport (-3.6 percent vs -0.6 percent); and communication (-3 percent vs -1.2 percent). In contrast, inflation was steady for education (at 3.2 percent), and increased markedly for miscellaneous goods & services (1.4 percent vs 1.1 percent), largely due to personal care (0.8 percent vs 0.3 percent) and alcoholic drinks & tobacco (5.8 percent vs 6.1 percent). 

Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, fell to 1.7 percent in November 2018 from 1.9 percent in October and lower than market expectations of 1.9 percent. It was the lowest figure since June.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices went up 0.2 percent, after a 0.3 percent fall in October and marking the highest reading in three months.



Thursday December 13 2018
Singapore Q3 Jobless Rate Confirmed at 2.1%
Ministry of Manpower l Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched higher to 2.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018 from a two-year low of 2 percent in the previous quarter and in line with the preliminary estimate. It was the highest jobless rate since the last quarter of 2017, reflecting a continued inflow of job seekers into the labor market.

In the three months to September, the jobless rate held steady for both residents (at 2.9 percent) and citizens (3.0 percent).
Total employment increased by 16,700, more than double the increase in the previous quarter (6,500), and was the highest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2014 (38,300). Services was the main driver of total employment growth (13,800 excluding foreign domestic workers /FDW), led by higher-skilled sectors such as professional services (3,400), information & communications (3,100), community, social & personal services (2,500) and financial & insurance services (2,500, mostly in financial services). Employment also rose in manufacturing (3,500), after sustained declines since the fourth quarter of 2014. Within manufacturing, employment increases were mainly seen in electronics (1,600), transport equipment (1,500) and petroleum, chemical & pharmaceutical products (1,300). Although employment in construction continued to contract in the third quarter of 2018 (-300), the decline has eased considerably from the preceding quarters.Cumulatively for the first three quarters of 2018, total employment (excluding FDW) grew by 23,600, a contrast to the contraction of 21,400 in 2017. 
Some 2,860 workers were laid off, lower than that in the second quarter (3,030) and a year ago (3,400). The decline was observed in construction, while manufacturing and services posted broadly similar levels of retrenchments. Business restructuring and reorganisation remained the top reason for retrenchment, accounting for 60 percent of total retrenchments. On the other hand, retrenchments due to recession and poor business declined. 
Meanwhile, the six-month re-entry rate among retrenched residents fell to 62 percent from 64 percent in the June quarter, and relatively similar to the first quarter (61 percent). The decline was due to those previously employed in clerical and production & related jobs.
The tightening of the labour market may have started to ease. Even though there continues to be more vacancies than job seekers for the third consecutive quarter, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped to 1.05 in the third quarter from 1.10 in the previous period. This was due to an increase in the overall number of unemployed, and a slight decline in total vacancies for the whole economy. 
The seasonally adjusted recruitment and resignation rates eased from a quarter ago. However, hiring activity remained higher than the same period a year ago. Recruitment rates were higher across most industries, with larger increases observed in real estate services, cleaning & landscaping, construction and higher-skilled industries such as financial services and professional services. Resignation rate declined over the year, led by food & beverage services and administrative & support services.


Friday November 23 2018
Singapore Inflation Rate Unchanged in October
Statistics Singapore | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Singapore's annual inflation rate came in at 0.7 percent in October 2018, unchanged from the previous month and slightly below market consensus of 0.8 percent. Food prices rose at a slower pace while cost of housing and transport continued to fall.

Food inflation eased to 1.4 percent in October from 1.6 percent a month earlier. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased less for bread & cereals (1.8 percent vs 2.9 percent in September) and fruits (2.8 percent vs 3.3 percent); and declined for both vegetables (-1.6 percent vs -1.1 percent) and meat (-0.4 percent vs -0.3 percent). By contrast, prices increased further for oils & fats (2.7 percent vs 0.7 percent), and milk, cheese & eggs (1.8 percent vs 1.5 percent). Among food servicing services, inflation eased for restaurant food (1.8 percent vs 2.0 percent) and hawker food including food courts (1.5 percent vs 1.6 percent).

Also, inflation slowed for clothing & footwear (1.2 percent vs 1.8 percent); healthcare (1.8 percent vs 2 percent); and recreation & culture (1.0 percent vs 1.2 percent); and was steady for miscellaneous goods & services (at 1.1 percent). In addition, prices continued to fall for housing & utilities (-0.2 percent vs -0.5 percent), transport (-0.5 percent vs -0.1 percent) and communication (-1.2 percent vs -1.6 percent). Meanwhile, prices went up faster for education (3.2 percent vs 2.9 percent) and household durables & services (0.9 percent vs 0.8 percent).

Annual core inflation, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, edged up to 1.9 percent in October 2018 from 1.8 percent in September and matching expectations.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in October, after a flat reading in September.


Thursday November 22 2018
Singapore GDP Expands Below Expectations
Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com

The economy of Singapore grew an annual 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2018, below market expectations of a 2.4 percent expansion; the 2.6 preliminary estimate, and the 4.2 percent print for the previous quarter, final data showed.

It was the slowest growth rate in eight quarters. Moderate growth was mainly explained by manufacturing, which expanded 3.5 percent (vs original 4.5 percent) after a 10.7 percent expansion in the previous quarter, with growth observed in all clusters. Meantime, services grew at a 2.4 percent pace (vs original 2.9 percent and vs 2.8 percent in Q2). In contrast, construction extended its contraction, shrinking 2.3 percent (vs original -3.1 percent) after falling 4.2 percent in Q2.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced today that the Singapore economy is expected to grow by “3.0 to 3.5 per cent” in 2018, narrowing from "2.5 to 3.5 per cent", and by “1.5 to 3.5 per cent” in 2019, as the pace of economic expansion across most of the major advanced and regional economies is expected to ease from 2018’s levels, in part due to the impact of the ongoing trade conflicts between the US and its key trading partners.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualized basis, the economy expanded a seasonally-adjusted annualized 3.0 percent quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter of 2018, well above the 1.0 percent final growth for the previous quarter but missing expectations of a 4.2 percent increase and well below the preliminary 4.7 percent print. It was the fastest expansion in four quarters.