January 2022
AIIB ASEAN ASEAN (R) ASEAN-ISIS Asia Beijing Big Tech CH: Hong Kong Country (R): Indonesia Country (R): Malaysia Country (R): Myanmar Country (R): Singapore Country: ASEAN Country: Australia Country: Cambodia Country: China Country: Germany Country: India Country: Indonesia Country: Japan Country: Laos Country: Malaysia Country: Myanmar Country: North Korea Country: Philippines Country: Qatar Country: Russia Country: Singapore Country: South Korea Country: Taiwan Country: Thailand Country: UK Country: United States Country: US Country: USA Country: Vietnam covid-19 DE: 5G DE: Data privacy DE: Data security DE: e-Payments DE: Facebook Elections: Indonesia 2019 Elections: Thailand 2019 ESG: Climate Change ESG: Diversity ESG: Energy ESG: Green Finance ESG: Green Growth ESG: Haze ESG: Human Rights ESG: Modern Slavery ESG: Peatland ESG: Riau ESG: Smallholders ESG: Sustainability ESG: Sustainable/Green Infrastructure European Union Event: SDSWR Events: AAF Fukushima Global Citizens Singapore Google Indonesia: Jokowi Institute: ERIA Institute: SIIA JP: Abenomics Leaders: Kim Jong Un Leaders: Lee Hsien Loong Megatrends: Populism MM: Aung San Suu Kyi MM: NLD MM: Rakhine State MY: Anwar Ibrahim MY: GE14 MY: Mahathir Mohamad MY: Najib Razak New Horizons New Zealand Nicholas Fang Oh Ei Sun Region: Latin America Region: Middle East Reports Security: South China Sea Security: Terrorism SG: Lee Kuan Yew SG: SG Secure SG: Smart Nation SG: Society Simon Tay Sustainable infrastructure Topic (R): Belt and Road Topic (R): Business Topic (R): Digitisation Topic (R): Economy Topic (R): Green Finance Topic (R): Haze Topic (R): Infrastructure Topic (R): Palm Oil Topic (R): Peatland Topic (R): Smallholders Topic (R): Sustainability Topic: Anti-Globalisation Topic: Belt and Road Topic: Business Topic: Coronavirus Topic: COVID-19 Topic: Deforestation Topic: Development Topic: Digital Economy Topic: Digitisation Topic: E-Commerce Topic: Economics Topic: Economy Topic: Elections Topic: Environment Topic: ESG Topic: Finance Topic: Global Citizens Topic: Globalisation Topic: Human Trafficking Topic: Indo-Pacific Topic: Infrastructure Topic: Investment Topic: Labour Topic: Nuclear Topic: Palm Oil Topic: Race Topic: Regional Integration Topic: Religion Topic: Security Topic: Singapore-Malaysia Relations Topic: Small States Topic: Trade Trade: AEC Trade: CPTPP Trade: FTA Trade: Multilateralism Trade: RCEP Trade: TPP Trade: War Trends (Digital): Cybersecurity UK: Brexit United States US: Obama US: Trump US: Trump WEF youth

Staying Competitive: Singapore’s Economy in a Turbulent World

23 Aug Staying Competitive: Singapore’s Economy in a Turbulent World

In the Chinese portion of his National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that the Singapore economy is slowing due to weaker global demand and the US-China trade war. The SIIA held an evening talk on Monday 19 August, the day after the rally, with Dr. Chua Hak Bin, Senior Economist, Maybank Kim Eng and Mr. Manu Bhaskaran, Council Member, SIIA, looking at  “Singapore’s Economy in a Turbulent World”. The session was moderated by Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, SIIA. Here’s some highlights from the discussion.

More photos from the event are available on our Facebook page.


Near-Term Outlook

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) cut the full-year growth forecast for Singapore to between 0% and 1%, down from the previous forecast of 1.5% to 2.5%. There is a high chance of Singapore facing a technical recession this year, or two straight quarters of quarter-on-quarter contraction, especially if the US-China trade war persists. Unfortunately, the chances of a deal are looking more and more remote. While some sectors in certain ASEAN economies have benefited from the trade war, Singapore has generally not benefited from trade diversion.

Singapore’s manufacturing sector is faring poorly, with the pinch also hitting trade-related services and sectors such as air cargo. However, at the moment the current downturn is not as bad as in 2008, during the global financial crisis.


Long-Term Challenges

 While the current economic headwinds that Singapore is facing are due to trade and the US-China tensions, much of PM Lee’s rally speech was forward looking, addressing education, skills, and the retirement age – as well as the issue of climate change. Singapore stands to be a disproportionate loser from climate change compared to other countries, for instance due to rising sea levels. But there are other global trends that Singapore must watch, including the uncertain international order as US President Donald Trump challenges institutions such as the WTO, and the protectionist sentiment taking root in many economies.


It is crucial for Singapore to adapt to meet these long-term challenges. In some areas Singapore has already done well, such as embracing digital disruption and adopting fintech. But there are other long-standing problems that Singapore has yet to address, such as the issue of retirement adequacy, rising housing prices, birth rates, and productivity numbers. Additionally, while Singapore has tried to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, it is not clear that this push is resulting in actual tangible outcomes. If Singapore is to remain successful and stable in the years ahead, there will be a need for bold policymaking in the days ahead, and both top-down and bottom-up action in Singapore.