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Singapore Falls Into Recession, Lower 2009 Outlook Print E-mail

MarketWatch – 21 November 2008 

Singapore became the third major Asia-Pacific economy to fall into recession after data released Friday showed the economy had contracted for two straight quarters. 

Gross domestic product growth contracted 0.6% in the third quarter from a year earlier, or 6.8% from the previous quarter, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement Friday.  

The contraction, which followed a revised 5.3% fall in the second quarter from the first, means Singapore technically follows Japan and Hong Kong into recession.  

Third-quarter data released Monday in Japan and last Friday in Hong Kong showed both economies had shrunk for two straight quarters.  

"These tiny trade-dependant city states [Hong Kong and Singapore] are very much plugged into global trade and they do tend to fluctuate in sympathy with global tends," said David Cohen, director of Asian economic forecasting at Action Economics in Singapore.

Singapore Employment Growth Slows in Q3 Print E-mail

Reuters – 31 October 2008

Employment growth in Singapore slowed in the third quarter, with the job market expected to deteriorate further as the global financial crisis takes its toll on an economy already in recession.

Singapore added 57,800 jobs in the third quarter, lower than the 71,400 created in the April-June period, preliminary data from the manpower ministry showed on Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 2.2 pct in the September quarter after seasonal adjustments, but analysts warned of tough times ahead.

"It's still early days yet. The worse of the financial crisis only began at the tail end of the third quarter," said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB.

"While (jobless rate) is encouraging, the outlook is far less clear and people are going to have difficulties finding jobs," he said, adding the unemployment rate was expected to rise to 2.6 pct in the fourth quarter.



Aviva 9 Months Sales Up 12 Percent Print E-mail

Reuters – 28 October 2008

British life insurer Aviva Plc beat analysts' expectations with a 12 percent rise in nine-month sales, and provided reassurance over its capital strength, sending its shares sharply higher.

Aviva, owner of the Norwich Union brand, said it had life and pensions sales of 25.673 billion pounds ($40 billion) in the nine months to Sept. 30, up from 22.935 billion pounds in the same period last year.

Analysts had expected sales of 24.859 billion pounds, according to the average of 13 forecasts collected by the company. Individual forecasts ranged from a low of 23.959 billion pounds to a high of 25.488 billion.

Aviva also said its capital position was "strong," with a surplus of 1.3 billion pounds at Oct. 24, down from 1.9 billion on Sept. 30, a decline partly due to the 22 percent fall in British stock markets.

The company estimated its capital cushion would drop by another 400 million pounds in the event of stock markets falling another 20 percent.

Singapore Economy to Remain Weak in 2009: MAS Print E-mail

AFP - 28 October 2008 

Singapore's economy, which is already in a technical recession, will remain weak in 2009 on projections the global economic outlook will deteriorate further, the central bank said Tuesday.

As a financial crisis evolves to impact economic activity worldwide, the city-state is likely to be hammered given its heavy exposure to external demand, the Monetary Authority (MAS) said in its Macro Economic Review.

"Looking ahead, the outlook for the global economy has deteriorated amidst heightened risk aversion and deleveraging in the financial sector," MAS said.

As a small and open trading economy, Singapore is vulnerable to any downturn in its major export markets such as the United States, Europe, China, India and Japan.

"The risks to external demand conditions continue to be on the downside, and a more severe global slowdown cannot be discounted," the MAS warned.

Singapore Economic Outlook Uncertain: PM Print E-mail

ST – 20 October 2008 

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday Singapore had fallen into recession and that the economic outlook over the next 12 months was uncertain.

'The current global financial turmoil has clouded Singapore's economic outlook. Our economy has gone into recession,' Mr Lee said at the opening of a research and development facility.

'We must expect slower growth and greater uncertainty at least over the next year.'

Singapore last week eased monetary policy for the first time in five years after advance data showed its trade-reliant economy contracted for a second consecutive quarter in the July-September period.  

The city-state's economy shrank an annualised, seasonally adjusted 6.3 per cent in the third quarter, after declining 5.7 per cent in the preceding quarter.

The Southeast Asian nation last sank into a recession - defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contractions - in 2002 in a global downturn after the Sept 11, 2001 attack.

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