Singapore witnesses seven-year high in business investment commitments

The commitments for investments in fixed assets such as facilities, machinery and other types of equipment surged to S$15.2 billion

The business investments which have been implemented in Singapore has taken a jump by 40 percent last year. This is a seven-year high and is way more than what was expected as few key sectors had bet on rising demand, as per a government agency.

The commitments for investments in the fixed assets like facilities, machinery and other types of equipment increased to S$15.2 billion ($11.3 billion) in 2019. This was above what the forecast range of S$8-10 billion, as per the Economic Development Board (EDB) data.

Numbers reflect Singapore's strong fundamentals, companies' confidence

The numbers reflect Singapore's strong fundamentals, companies' confidence in the city-state and its strategic position in a fast-growing Asia, EDB Chairman Beh Swan Gin said at a briefing.

He attributed the growth to companies in the semiconductor and chemical sectors committing to make investments in preparation for an eventual upturn that they are expecting in the coming years.

Singapore city
Singapore city Reuters

Some chipmakers have started expecting a recovery from the industry downturn, helped by a pick up in the smartphone market.

The rapid growth of the digital sector in Singapore also helped as companies such as Sea Ltd and ride-hailing firm Grab expanded, and traditional businesses grew their technology teams. A separate measure that tracks business spending on the likes of wages and rents climbed to S$9 billion, up 45% from a year earlier.

Singapore's economy expanded slowest in a decade last year

Singapore's economy expanded at its slowest pace in a decade last year, with the export-oriented nation hit hard by the trade war between the United States and China. Still, months of anti-government protests in rival Asian finance hub Hong Kong have increased Singapore's relative allure.

Tycoons have switched money, business conferences have moved, and some wealth managers have scrapped plans to open offices in the Chinese-ruled city in favour of the Southeast Asian nation, Reuters has reported.

Beh said the rise in numbers "was not a consequence" of what is happening in Hong Kong. He added there had been some movement of functions and individuals to Singapore from Hong Kong. "It is not a wholesale move, but some marginal moves," he said. Singapore, which is trying to establish itself as a global hub for the tech industry, estimates the investments will create some 32,814 jobs, of which around half are "digital jobs".

(With agency inputs)