Singapore to see deflation and slower growth rate than prior forecasts in 2016: MAS survey

Median of estimate in the MAS survey of 24 private economists showed the GDP growth rate to drop to 1.9% for 2016 from 2.2% predicted in the previous poll.

The Lion City nation will see much slower growth rates this year than forecast earlier and the inflation rate is likely to fall below the zero mark, according to an economists' survey released on 16 March.

Median of estimate in the survey taken part by some 24 private economists showed Singapore's GDP growth rate to drop to 1.9% for 2016 from 2.2% predicted in the previous poll.

The private survey conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) figure comes to the lower end of the range of 2-4% estimated by the government for this year.

They predict 1.6% growth rate for the first quarter ending 31 March and 2.1%, 2% and 2.1% for the next three quarters.

The poll showed the headline inflation rate for this year to drop to -0.2% down from 0.5% estimated in the previous survey, mainly helped by lower global energy prices.

The MAS core inflation - seen as a better gauge of out-of-pocket expenses for households - to come in at 0.8% compared to the prior forecast of 1%.

The survey respondents, however, expect the island economy to expand at a faster rate of 2.5% in 2017.

Singapore's economy is projected to grow at a slow pace of 1.0 to 3.0 per cent in 2016,

Singapore Trade and Industry Minister S. Iswaran said earlier last month that the growth will dim to 1-3% this year.

"Last year, our economy grew at its slowest pace since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. The sluggish economic environment is likely to persist this year," ISwaran said at a gathering of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI).