Singapore Poised To Beat 2005 Growth Targets

Singapore's economy grew 6.0% in the third quarter, at the top end of forecasts and putting the city-state in a strong position to beat its 2005 official growth target of 3.5-4.5%, analysts said Oct. 11. The preliminary estimate issued by the ministry of trade and industry for gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the September quarter was an improvement on the revised 5.4% year-on-year gain in the three months to June. Since the start of the year, the trade-dependent economy has been gaining strength on improving export orders, having clocked GDP growth of 2.7% in the first quarter. Compared to the previous three months, GDP grew 3.2% in the September quarter.

Growth was driven by a 10% expansion in the key manufacturing sector, compared to the 6.3% growth in the June quarter. Manufacturing expansion was "driven by an upsurge in biomedical" output, according to the ministry. Officials have said that biomedical research and production will be a priority area for Singapore in the long-term and will be backed by billions of dollars in investment and training for scientific professionals.

The forward-looking Purchasing Managers' Index for the manufacturing sector, which accounts for almost a quarter of annual GDP amounting to 180 billion Singapore dollars (US$107 billion) in 2004, rose for the fifth straight month with a jump of 0.9 point to 53.1 in September. A reading above 50 points means manufacturing is in an expansion mode.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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