Bangkok, Jan 4 (efe-epa).- Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 5.8 percent during 2020, its worst contraction since independence from Malaysia in 1965, weighed down by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the fourth straight quarter of decline of the GDP of the city-state, whose economy is in recession.
The last time this happened was during the tech bubble burst in 2001.
Until now, the worst recession in Singapore dated back to 1998, when its GDP contracted by 2.2 percent following the Asian financial crisis.
However, the 5.8 percent decline is lower than the forecast of between 6 and 6.5 percent by the Singaporean Ministry of Trade and Industry for this year, according to preliminary data released by the ministry on Monday.
During the last quarter of 2020 between October and December, Singapore’s economy contracted by 3.8 percent as compared to the same period in 2019.
It, however, improved by 2.1 percent from the third quarter of the year following the progressive easing of measures imposed to combat the pandemic.
Services and construction sectors are the worst affected, with year-on-year declines of 12.6 percent and 33.7 percent respectively.
Meanwhile, manufacturing registered an increase of 7.1 percent “supported primarily by output expansions in the electronics, biomedical manufacturing and precision engineering clusters,” according to the ministry’s statement.
Singapore began its Covid-19 vaccination campaign with health workers on Dec.30.
Starting February, it will be the turn of people over 70 to be vaccinated while the younger population will receive the vaccine later.
A week ago, the city-state entered the final phase of easing its coronavirus restrictions to regain normalcy during the year.
The phase increases the limit on social and family gatherings from five to eight, among others.
The government has indicated that it expected economic growth of between 4 and 6 percent during 2021.
“After our most severe downturn since independence, we look forward to a rebound in 2021, although the recovery will be uneven, and activity is likely to remain below pre-COVID-19 levels for some time,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a New Year message last week. EFE-EPA