Singapore’s economy shrinks at slower pace as virus curbs eased

SINGAPORE (AFP) – Singapore’s coronavirus-hit economy shrank at a slower pace in the third quarter as restrictions were eased, official data showed yesterday, but the trade-reliant city-state still faces a long road to recovery.

The financial hub plunged into its first recession since the 2008 global financial crisis in the second quarter when the government closed businesses as part of drastic measures to contain infections.

One of the world’s most open economies, Singapore is seen as a bellwether for the health of global trade, and its economy’s dramatic deterioration rang alarm bells.

“The worst is over for Singapore, but the path to recovery is still a bit bumpy,” Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB Private Banking, told AFP. In July-September, gross domestic product shrank 7.0 per cent year-on-year, according to preliminary data released by the Trade Ministry.

While a heavy fall, it was better than the record 13.3 per cent drop registered in April-June, with many businesses having re-opened as Singapore’s outbreak slows.

Compared with the previous quarter, the economy grew 7.9 per cent, rebounding from a 13.2 per cent drop, the ministry said.