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Asian recovery hopes boosted by Singapore growth

Singapore's economy grew 0.8 percent in the three months to September from a year ago, official estimates showed Monday, boosting recovery hopes in other Asian economies hit by the global slowdown.

It was the trade-dependent economy's first year-on-year expansion in five quarters and was based on July and August numbers. The estimate is expected to be revised when the full September numbers are available next month.

"It's a good sign for the rest of Asia," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist with financial services The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
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 firm SJS SJS Stevens Johnson Syndrome (medical)
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 Markets Hong Kong Hong Kong (hŏng kŏng), Mandarin Xianggang, special administrative region of China, formerly a British crown colony (2005 est. pop. 6,899,000), land area 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km), adjacent to Guangdong prov. . "The recovery in the global economy has had a meaningful impact on regional growth."

Singapore was the first Asian economy to go into recession as a result of the financial crisis that began in the US housing sector -- but also among the earliest beneficiaries of improved demand in industrial countries this year.

"A clear but modest recovery is underway globally, at least for the next three or four quarters," the ministry of trade and industry said in a statement.

While gross domestic product (GDP GDP (guanosine diphosphate): see guanine. ) will fall in 2009, the government amended its full-year forecast to a contraction of 2.0 to 2.5 percent, well below the previous estimate of negative 4.0 to 6.0 percent growth.

"One-off factors such as restocking activities and fiscal stimulus measures will continue to support growth in the near term," the ministry said.

On a seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted

Mathematically adjusted by moderating a macroeconomic indicator (e.g., oil prices/imports) so that relative comparisons can be drawn from month to month all year.
 quarterly basis, GDP surged 14.9 percent following a 22 percent expansion in the second quarter to June, the ministry said.

It was the second successive quarter-on-quarter growth period.

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 industries, which are the key pillars of Singapore's industrial sector.

Manufacturing, which accounts for almost a quarter of Singapore's GDP, grew 8.3 percent in third quarter from a year ago and expanded 34.9 percent on a quarterly basis.

The services industry shrank 2.4 percent on the year but expanded 9.5 percent on a quarterly basis. The construction sector surged 12.4 percent year-on-year but fell 0.6 percent from the previous three months, the ministry said.

"Growth was driven by the continued expansion of biomedical and electronics manufacturing output, and improvements in the trade-related and tourism sectors of the economy on the back of a gradual stabilisation in global economic conditions," it said.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore The Monetary Authority of Singapore (Abbreviation: MAS; Chinese: 新加坡金融管理局; Malay: Penguasa Kewangan Singapura) is Singapore's central bank.  (MAS), the country's central bank, said in a separate statement Monday it was maintaining the policy of "zero percent appreciation" for the Singapore dollar in light of the modest recovery.

The MAS carries out its monetary policy through the Singapore dollar, which is weighted against a basket of currencies of major trading partners within an undisclosed trading band known as the nominal effective exchange rate (NEER).

"MAS will therefore maintain the current policy stance of a zero percent appreciation of the NEER policy path," it said.

Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB-GK Research, said Singapore was "firmly out of recession" with GDP expanding in the third quarter.

He has narrowed his 2009 growth forecast for the city-state to a contraction of 2.0 percent from minus 3.0 percent previously.

The third-quarter data boosted local share prices, with the benchmark Straits Times Index The Straits Times Index (STI) is a market value-weighted stock market index based on the stocks of 50 representative companies listed on the Singapore Exchange.

Launched in the wake of a major sectoral re-classification of listed companies by the Singapore Exchange, which
 up 0.54 percent at 2,666.87 in mid-afternoon trade.

Singapore's economy sank into recession in the second quarter of 2008 as the global financial crisis unfolded, hurting demand for exports to its major markets including the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , Japan and the European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the

European Community

Its worst previous recession since gaining independence in 1965 was in 2001 when GDP contracted 2.4 percent.
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Publication:AFP Asian Edition
Date:Oct 12, 2009
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