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Economy

Singapore GDP shows strong manufacturing, weak construction for 2017

Economy grows 3.1% in fourth quarter

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's economy marked steady expansion in 2017, but the speed of growth was varied by industry. Strong manufacturing output was balanced by weak construction activity, according to the government's fourth-quarter gross domestic product report on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said the city-state's estimated real GDP growth rate for the full year was at a three-year high of 3.5%, and that the rate for the October-December quarter was 3.1%, slower than the 5.4% expansion in the third quarter.

The manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 20% of Singapore's economy, expanded 10.5% last year, up from 3.6% in 2016, marking the sharpest growth in seven years.

For the fourth quarter, manufacturing grew 6.2% on a year-on-year basis, marking an expansion for the seventh consecutive quarter.

The growth was "supported primarily by robust output expansions in the electronics and precision engineering clusters," the ministry said. With the global economy picking up and the launch of new mobile and electronics devices, Singapore's manufacturers saw an increase in demand.

Meanwhile, the construction sector, which has long contributed to the country's economy, fell 8.1% in 2017, the first decline since 2004. The growth rate for the sector in 2016 was 0.2%.

The construction sector has posted a contraction for six consecutive quarters, with a decline of 8.5% in the October-December quarter.

"The contraction was largely due to the weakness in private sector construction activities," the ministry noted. Residential construction apparently suffered from the government's measures to ease excessive price increases of condominiums.

The services-sector industries, such as finance and wholesale, grew 2.5% in 2017, up from 1.0% growth in 2016.

The ministry said it will announce a detailed economic report for the latest quarter in February.

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