Singapore raises 2006 growth targets to 7.5-8.0 percent

SINGAPORE, Nov 20, 2006 (AFP) – Singapore raised its 2006 growth forecasts on Monday to 7.5-8.0 percent, a target analysts said is achievable after a better-than-expected third-quarter performance.

Figures released by the MTI in its latest economic report showed third quarter growth was powered by the key manufacturing sector which surged 10.6 percent on the year.

Manufacturing accounts for a third of GDP and is a key growth engine as the bulk of the output is exported to major economies including the United States.

Wholesale and retail trade also grew 10.6 percent while financial services expanded 8.4 percent, and the construction sector grew for the second straight quarter with a 2.3 percent increment.

“Economic growth was led by the manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade sector on the back of strong external demand,” the MTI said in its report.

The revised growth targets means Singapore is likely to be the second fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia after Vietnam, whose government estimates an 8.2 percent growth rate this year.

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 is projected to grow 7.5-8.0 percent, up