Singapore’s economy speeds up in Q1: government

SINGAPORE, April 10, 2008 (AFP) – Singapore’s economy grew an annual 7.2 percent in the first quarter, faster than the 5.4 percent expansion recorded in the previous three months, the government said Thursday.

But economists said the growth is likely to taper off in coming months amid a widely-expected US-led global slowdown.

Last quarter’s performance was also better than economists’ average growth forecast of 6.4 percent expansion in Southeast Asia’s most advanced economy.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis, real gross domestic product for the first quarter of this year expanded by 16.9 percent after dropping 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter last year, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the city-state’s de facto central bank, said in a separate statement it will tighten monetary policy in an attempt to rein in inflation which accelerated to 6.6 percent in January-February.

Growth in the first quarter was powered by the manufacturing sector which expanded an annual 13.2 percent, picking up sharply from the 0.2 percent recorded in the previous quarter, the trade ministry said.

“This was largely due to a surge in