There was a slight easing in the growth of Singapore's gross domestic product for the first quarter of the year. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the Singapore economy grew by 2.7% year-on-year, slowing a little from the 2.9% growth in the previous quarter.
On a quarterly basis seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy contracted by 1.3% after posting a rebound of 12.3% last quarter.
The growth this quarter was due to the still robust manufacturing sector, which registered an 8% expansion. It moderated from an 11.5% growth recorded in the last quarter of 2016. Strong electronics and precision engineering clusters kept the sector in shape on the back of healthy global demand for semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
A slow growth was seen in the wholesale & retail trade sector, which ended the quarter with 0.5% growth, slightly higher than the 0.4% growth in the previous quarter. The sector was supported by motor vehicle sales.
The transport & storage sector also reported gains in the quarter at 4.2%. However, the growth was less compared to its previous expansion of 5.4%. The steady improvement in the sector is due to the pick up in sea cargo handled and container throughput.
Also expansionary are business services and finance & insurance sectors, which reported gains of 2.1% and 0.9%. Finance sector grew modestly on the back of strong performance of the financial intermediation segment. The business services sector was boosted by professional services.
It was a different story for the accommodation & food services sector, which contracted by 1.9%, worsening its 0.2% dip last quarter. This is due to the weakness of the food services segment and lower sales volume of restaurants.
The construction sector also contracted by 1.4%, extending its 2.8% slump. The sector is continually badgered by the weakness in private sector construction works.
The MTI expects the whole year GDP to be maintained at 1-3%. Whilst Singapore's performance was resilient in the quarter, MTI warns of downside risks in the global economy.