Economy of Singapore
Skyline of Singapore's Downtown Core
|Currency||Singapore dollar (SGD/S$)|
|1 April – 31 March|
|WTO, APEC, CPTPP, IOR-ARC, RCEP, ASEAN and others|
GDP per capita
GDP by sector
|1.101% (2021 est.)|
Population below poverty line
|45.9 medium (2017)[a]|
Labour force by occupation
|2nd (very easy, 2020)|
|Exports||US$626 billion (2020)|
Main export partners
|Imports||US$533 billion (2019)|
Main import partners
|$60.99 billion (2017 est.)|
Gross external debt
|$566.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[b]|
|S$738.811 billion (Q1 2015)|
|111.1% of GDP (2017 est.)[c]|
|Revenues||S$69.45 billion (2017 est.)|
|Expenses||S$75.07 billion (2017 est.)|
|$462.304 billion (31 December 2020 est.)|
|Part of a series on the|
|Economy of Singapore|
|Economic history of Singapore|
The economy of Singapore is a highly-developed free-market economy. Singapore's economy has been ranked by the World Economic Forum as the most open in the world, the 3rd-least corrupt by Transparency International, the most pro-business by the World Bank and the highest degree of economic freedom in the world. Singapore has low tax-rates and the second-highest per-capita GDP in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is headquartered in Singapore. According to the International Monetary Fund, the country's per capita GDP (PPP) was at $101,458 (2020). The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) functions as its central bank and financial regulatory authority.
Alongside the business-friendly reputation, state-owned enterprises play a substantial role in Singapore's economy. The sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings holds majority stakes in several of the nation's largest companies, such as Singapore Airlines, SingTel, ST Engineering and MediaCorp. The Singaporean economy is a major foreign direct investment (FDI) outflow-financier in the world. Singapore has also benefited from the inward flow of FDI from global investors and institutions due to its highly attractive investment climate and a stable political environment in recent years.
Exports, particularly in electronics, chemicals and services, as well as Singapore's position as the regional Asia-Pacific hub for wealth management, provide the main source of revenue for the economy, which allows it to purchase natural resources and raw goods. Water is scarce in Singapore, therefore it is defined by analysts as a precious resource. The major capital market is the Singapore Exchange (SGX). Singapore's currency, the Singapore dollar, is thirteenth-most traded currency in the world by value and one of the strongest valued currencies in the Asia-Pacific.
Singapore has invested in agrotechnology parks for agricultural production to make up for its limited arable land. Human resources is another vital issue for the health of the Singaporean economy. The economy of Singapore has been ranked 2nd overall in the Scientific American Biotechnology ranking in 2014, with the featuring of Biopolis.
Singapore has been classified to rely on an extended concept of intermediary trade to entrepôt trade, by purchasing raw goods and refining them for re-export, such as in the wafer-fabrication industry and in oil refining. Singapore has a strategic port which makes it more competitive than many of its neighbours in carrying out such entrepôt activities. Singapore's trade to GDP ratio is among the highest in the world, averaging around 400% during 2008–11. The Port of Singapore is the second-busiest in the world by cargo tonnage. Singapore is scheduled to hold the 2021 World Economic Forum from 17–20 August.
Singapore is a high-income economy with one of the highest gross national income in the world. The country provides one of the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs and is ranked among the world’s most competitive economies.
In the decades after independence, Singapore rapidly developed from a low-income country to a high-income country. GDP growth in the city-state has been amongst the world’s highest, at an average of 7.7% since independence and topping 9.2% in the first 25 years. In the most recent World Bank's Human Capital Index, Singapore was ranked the best country in the world in human capital development. Singapore has also been ranked first on the Global Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum.
Singapore is considered a global financial hub by many leading financial analysts, economists and politicians, with Singapore banks offering world-class corporate bank account facilities. In the 2020 Global Financial Centers Index, Singapore was ranked as having the sixth most competitive financial center in the world, and fourth most competitive in Asia. These include multiple currencies, internet banking, telephone banking, checking accounts, savings accounts, debit and credit cards, fixed term deposits and wealth management services.
The country's three main banks, DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB), make up the top three spots as the largest banks in the region by total assets. DBS is also the largest bank by market capitalisation in the region.
Singapore has also attracted assets formerly held in Swiss banks for several reasons, including new taxes imposed on Swiss accounts and a weakening of Swiss bank secrecy. Credit Suisse, the second largest Swiss bank, moved its head of international private banking to Singapore in 2005. For this, the country has also been dubbed the "Switzerland of Asia".
Singapore has been aggressively developing its biotechnology industry. Hundred of millions of dollars were invested into the sector to build up infrastructure, fund research and development and to recruit top international scientists to Singapore. Leading drug makers, such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer and Merck & Co., have set up plants in Singapore. In 2006 GSK invested another S$300 million to build another plant to produce paediatric vaccines, its first such facility in Asia. Pharmaceuticals now account for more than 8% of the country's manufacturing production. In 2017, GSK officially established its Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Singapore.
Singapore is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. It was ranked 3rd in the world on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of 2021 with a score of 85 out of 100, and the most transparent in the Asia-Pacific for the past decade.
Singapore is the pricing centre and leading oil trading hub in Asia. The oil industry makes up 5% of Singapore's GDP, with Singapore being one of the top three export refining centres in the world. In 2007, it exported 68.1 million tonnes of oil. The oil industry has led to the promotion of the chemical industry as well as oil and gas equipment manufacturing.
Singapore has 70 per cent of the world market for both jack-up rigs and for the conversion of Floating Production Storage Offloading units. It has 20 per cent of the world market for ship repair, and in 2008 the marine and offshore industry employed almost 70,000 workers.
Statistics on income inequality are published by the Singapore Department of Statistics. The country does not have a national poverty line. Taking the World Bank's International Poverty Line (IPL)'s poverty threshold of $1.90 a day into account, the population of Singaporeans living below the poverty line is virtually non-existent.
While Singaporeans do not suffer from absolute poverty, the government provides social support through a variety of social assistance schemes for lower-income Singaporeans. The Ministry of Social and Family Development runs ComCare, a program which provides income support for low-income citizen households through various schemes for short-to-medium term assistance, long-term assistance, child support, and urgent financial needs. The Community Development Councils also run various local assistance schemes within their districts. The Ministry of Manpower runs a Silver Support Scheme which provides additional financial support for low-income elderly with no family support. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health also runs MediFund to assist families pay off the rest of their medical bills even after government subsidies and other health financing schemes has been used. In addition, the National Council of Social Service coordinates a range of 450 non-government voluntary welfare organisations to provide social services, while raising funds through The Community Chest of Singapore. Singaporeans of all socio-economic backgrounds are also required to contribute to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a mandatory saving and social security plan.
Today, low and middle-income Singaporeans receive more than 2.5 times the public subsidies that they did a decade earlier.
The Singapore government also owns 90 percent of the country's land, as well as housing in which 80 percent of the population lives.
Tourism plays an important role in the economy of Singapore. Singapore ranks among the most visited cities in the world, it was ranked 5th most visited city in the world, and 2nd in Asia-Pacific. The country attracted 18.5 million international tourists in 2018.
|Economy statistics: 1970 to 2010|
(1US$ to S$)
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore's central bank and financial regulatory authority. Its current chairman is Tharman Shanmugaratnam (May 2011–present). It administers the various statutes pertaining to money, banking, insurance, securities and the financial sector in general, as well as currency issuance. The MAS has been given powers to act as a banker to and financial agent of the Government. It has also been entrusted to promote monetary stability, and credit and exchange policies conducive to the growth of the economy.
Unlike many other central banks such as Federal Reserve System, European Central Bank or Bank of England, MAS does not regulate the monetary system via interest rates to influence the liquidity in the system. Instead, it chooses to do it via the foreign exchange mechanism, which it has been doing since 1981. In doing so it manages the Singapore dollar versus a number of currencies that they do not reveal publicly – a Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$ NEER). It carries this out by intervening in the SGD market as well as other operations in the money market. The MAS reviews its policy stance less frequently than most central banks, in a cycle that is around every 6 months. In some circumstances, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic MAS can change the date of its twice yearly meeting.
|22 February 2001||gradual modest appreciation rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band.|
|10 April 2001||gradual modest appreciation rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band.|
|12 July 2001||zero percent rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band.|
|10 October 2001||zero percent rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; width widened.|
|2 January 2002||zero percent rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; width narrowed.|
|14 October 2016||zero percent rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; no change to width and the level at which it is centred.|
|13 April 2017||zero percent rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; no change to width and the level at which it is centred.|
|13 October 2017||zero percent rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; no change to width and the level at which it is centred.|
|13 April 2018||slightly increase rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; no change to width and the level at which it is centred.|
|12 October 2018||slightly increase rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; no change to width and the level at which it is centred.|
|12 April 2019||unchanged rate of appreciation of SGD NEER band; no change to width and the level at which it is centred.|
|14 October 2019||slightly reduce rate of appreciation, with no change in width.|
|30 March 2020||zero percent per annum rate of appreciation, starting at the prevailing level with no change in width.|
|14 October 2020||There was no change in foreign exchange policy from the March decision. This was expected by all economists.|
Government spending in Singapore has risen since the start of the global financial crisis, from around 15% of GDP in 2008 to 17% in 2012. The government's total expenditure as a percentage of GDP ranks among the lowest internationally and allows for a competitive tax regime. Singapore is required under its constitution to keep a balanced budget over each term of government. Singapore government debt is issued for investment purposes, not to fund expenditure.
Personal income taxes in Singapore range from 0% to 22% for incomes above S$320,000. There are no capital gains or inheritance taxes in Singapore. Singapore's corporate tax rate is 17% with exemptions and incentives for smaller businesses. Singapore has a single-tier corporate income tax system, which means there is no double-taxation for shareholders.
Singapore introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) with an initial rate of 3% on 1 April 1994, increasing government's revenue by S$1.6 billion (US$1b, €800m) and establishing government finances. The taxable GST was increased to 4% in 2003, to 5% in 2004, and to 7% in 2007.
The Singapore government owns two investment companies, GIC Private Limited and Temasek Holdings, which manage Singapore's reserves. Both operate as commercial investment holding companies independently of the Singapore government, but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching serve as chairman and CEO of these corporations respectively. While GIC invests abroad, Temasek holds 31% of its portfolio in Singapore, holding majority stakes in several of the nation's largest companies, such as Singapore Airlines, SingTel, ST Engineering and MediaCorp. As of 2014, Temasek holds S$69 billion of assets in Singapore, accounting for 7% of the total capitalisation of Singapore-listed companies.
In April 2013, the country was recognised by financial consultants as an increasingly popular tax haven for the wealthy due to the low tax rate on personal income, a full tax exemption on income that is generated outside of Singapore and 69 double taxation treaties that can minimise both withholding tax and capital gains tax. Australian millionaire retailer Brett Blundy, with an estimated personal wealth worth AU$835 million, and multi-billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin are two examples of wealthy individuals who have settled in Singapore (Blundy in 2013 and Saverin in 2012). Additionally, Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart owns property in Singapore and American investor Jim Rogers moved to Singapore in 2007—Rogers has identified the 21st century as an era in which Asia will dominate and wishes for his two daughters to learn Mandarin as a key outcome of the relocation. Chinese Media TV celebrities Jet Li and Gong Li have also taken up naturalised Singapore citizenship. Furthermore, the founder of Shopee and Garena, Forrest Li, is a naturalised Singaporean citizen.
To dampen property speculation, the government imposed Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) starting in December 2011. It was subsequently raised in January 2013 and then again in July 2018. Currently for Singapore citizens buying their first property, there is no ABSD. For their second property onwards, they pay up to 15% ABSD. For foreigners the ABSD rate is 20% no matter if it is the first property. And for entities it is 25%. At the same time they raised the ABSD in 2018, the MAS tightened rules on housing loans, by limiting the loan tenure and reducing the Loan-to-Value ratio.
Mergers and acquisitions
16,156 mergers and acquisitions deals have been conducted in Singapore so far, which accumulated to a total value of 850. bil. USD. Since 1985 there has been a constant upward trend, disrupted only in 2002 and 2009. The most active year in terms of numbers (926) and value (78. bil. USD) has been 2017, so there is currently an all-time high. In general inbound and outbound deals in Singapore are nearly equally distributed.
Here is a list of the top 10 deals with Singaporean participation inbound or outbound:
|Date Announced||Acquiror Name||Acquiror Mid Industry||Acquiror Nation||Target Name||Target Mid Industry||Target Nation||Value of Transaction ($mil)|
|2 January 2008||Shining Prospect Pte Ltd||Other Financials||Singapore||Rio Tinto PLC||Metals & Mining||United Kingdom||14,284.17|
|7 September 2015||Petrol Complex Pte Ltd||Oil & Gas||Singapore||Essar Oil Ltd||Oil & Gas||India||12,907.25|
|14 July 2017||Nesta Investment Holdings Ltd||Other Financials||China||Global Logistic Properties Ltd||Non Residential||Singapore||11,553.58|
|12 October 2016||QHG Shares Pte Ltd||Other Financials||Singapore||Rosneft Oil Co||Oil & Gas||Russian Fed||10,776.55|
|12 October 2007||Government of Singapore Invest||Alternative Financial Investments||Singapore||UBS AG||Banks||Switzerland||9,760.42|
|26 March 2001||Singapore Telecommunications||Wireless||Singapore||Cable & Wireless Optus Lt||Telecommunications Services||Australia||8,491.12|
|12 January 2014||Investor Group||Other Financials||Singapore||IndCor Properties Inc||REITs||United States||8,100.00|
|30 March 2007||Investor Group||Other Financials||Singapore||Alinta Ltd||Oil & Gas||Australia||7,500.98|
|13 September 2012||TCC Assets Ltd||Other Financials||British Virgin||Fraser & Neave Ltd||Food and Beverage||Singapore||6,896.48|
|15 January 2008||Government of Singapore Invest||Alternative Financial Investments||Singapore||Citigroup Inc||Banks||United States||6,880.00|
To maintain its competitive position despite rising wages, the government seeks to promote higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. It also has opened, or is in the process of opening, the financial services, telecommunications, and power generation and retailing sectors up to foreign service providers and greater competition. The government has also attempted some measures including wage restraint measures and release of unused buildings in an effort to control rising commercial rents with the view to lowering the cost of doing business in Singapore when central business district office rents tripled in 2006.
In 2000, Singapore had a workforce of about 2.2 million. With limited access to natural resources, Singapore had been forced to invest in its people. The country has the largest proficiency of English language speakers in Asia, making it an attractive place for multinational corporations. Singapore has come a long way from where it once stood. In the 1970s according to Tilak Abeysinghe "2.4 percent of the labor force were degree holders" By 1990 the number rose to just 6.3%. In 2013 the number of labor force who hold degrees has amassed to 31%. The nations directive toward high skilled labor jobs, has promoted both growth and education to the region. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union federation which has a symbiotic relationship with the ruling party, comprises almost 99% of total organised labour. Government policy and pro-activity rather than labour legislation controls general labour and trade union matters.
The Employment Act offers little protection to white-collar workers due to an income threshold. The Industrial Arbitration Court handles labour-management disputes that cannot be resolved informally through the Ministry of Manpower. The Singapore Government has stressed the importance of co-operation between unions, management and government (tripartism), as well as the early resolution of disputes. There has been only one strike in the past 15 years.
Singapore has enjoyed virtually full employment for long periods of time. Amid an economic slump, the unemployment rate rose to 4.0% by the end of 2001, from 2.4% early in the year. Unemployment has since declined and as of 2012 the unemployment rate stands at 1.9%.
While the Singapore government has taken a stance against minimum wage and unemployment benefit schemes, in 2007 the government introduced a Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme to supplement wages of low-skilled workers. To support employers in hiring older Singaporean workers, Special Employment Credit (SEC) was introduced in 2011. It was first enhanced in 2012 to provide employers with support in hiring older Singaporean workers and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). It helped the employers to cope with costs associated with the increase in Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rates for older workers. The 5-year SEC scheme was further extended to additional 3 years, up to 2019 to encourage employers to voluntarily re-employ older workers aged 65 and above.
The Singapore Government and the NTUC have tried a range of programs to increase lagging productivity and boost the labour force participation rates of women and older workers. However, labour shortages persist in the service sector and in many low-skilled positions in the construction and electronics industries. Foreign workers help make up this shortfall. In 2000, there were about 600,000 foreign workers in Singapore, constituting 27% of the total work force. As a result, wages are relatively suppressed or do not rise for all workers. To have some controls, the government imposes a foreign worker levy payable by employers for low end workers like domestic help and construction workers. In 2012, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) reported that Singapore should continue to fine-tune the calibration of its inflow of foreigners as the country continues to face an ageing population and a shrinking workforce. Singapore Parliament accepted the recommendations by its Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) for the optimal ratio of the level of immigration and foreign manpower for both high and low skilled workers. The Government recognises that the current overall foreign workforce should complement the local resident workforce and not replace the Singaporean Core concept, and helps companies greatly as they raise productivity through business restructuring and workforce retraining; raise resident labour force participation rate.
To preserve its international standing and to further its economic prosperity in the twenty-first century, Singapore has taken measures to promote innovation, encourage entrepreneurship and re-train its workforce. The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) has the prime responsibility for setting, adjusting, and enforcing foreign-worker immigration-rules. Approximately 243,000 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) operate in Singapore.
Trade, investment and aid
This section needs to be updated.July 2013)(
Singapore's total trade in 2014 amounted to S$982 billion. Despite its small size, Singapore is currently the fifteenth-largest trading partner of the United States. In 2014, Singapore's imports totaled $464 billion, and exports totalled $519 billion. Malaysia was Singapore's main import source, as well as its largest export market, absorbing 18% of Singapore's exports, with the United States close behind. However, it is worth noting that there were efforts by some vegetable suppliers from Malaysia to try and smuggle food in if they do not meet food safety standards.
Malaysia is Singapore's biggest trading partner, with bilateral trade totalling roughly 91 billion US dollars in 2012, accounting for over a fifth of total trade within ASEAN. Singapore's trade with major trading partners such as Malaysia, China, Indonesia and South Korea increased in 2012, while trade with EU27, United States, Hong Kong and Japan decreased in 2012. Since 2009, the value of exports exceeds imports for Singapore's trade with China. In comparison, the value of imports exceeds exports for Singapore's trade with the US since 2006.
Re-exports accounted for 43% of Singapore's total sales to other countries in 2000. Singapore's principal exports are electronic components, refined petroleum, gold, computers, and packaged medications. Singapore's main imports are electronic components, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, gold, and computers.
Trade in Singapore has benefited from the extensive network of trade agreements Singapore has passed. According to Healy Consultants, Singapore has free trade access to the entirety of the ASEAN network, with import duty reduced when dealing with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) continues to attract investment funds on a large-scale for the country despite the city's relatively high-cost operating environment. The US leads in foreign investment, accounting for 40% of new commitments to the manufacturing sector in 2000. As of 1999, cumulative investment for manufacturing and services by American companies in Singapore reached approximately $20 billion (total assets). The bulk of US investment is in electronics manufacturing, oil refining and storage, and the chemical industry. More than 1,500 US firms operate in Singapore.
Singapore's largely corruption-free government, skilled workforce, and advanced and efficient infrastructure have attracted investments from more than 3,000 multinational corporations (MNCs) from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. MNCs account for more than two-thirds of manufacturing output and direct export sales, although certain services sectors remain dominated by government-linked corporations.
The government also has encouraged firms to invest outside Singapore, with the country's total direct investments abroad reaching $39 billion by the end of 1998. The People's Republic of China was the top destination, accounting for 14% of total overseas investments, followed by Malaysia (10%), Hong Kong (9%), Indonesia (8%) and US (4%). The rapidly growing economy of India, especially the high technology sector, is becoming an expanding source of foreign investment for Singapore. The United States provides no bilateral aid to Singapore, but the US appears keen to improve bilateral trade and signed the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. Singapore corporate tax is 17 per cent.
In 1819, Stamford Raffles, at the time Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen, established a trading post in Singapore. Much of the wealth accumulated early within the region was to be accredited to it hosting one of the major seaport hubs.
1869: On 17 November 1869, the Suez Canal opens, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. This allowed for an increase speed of travel time, which resulted in a rise in trade volume. The nation saw a $32 million rise just a year after its opening.
1950: The region saw social unrest which resulted in colonial powers deciding to relinquish some decision making. With spurs of race riots the colonial powers sought to empower and establish a formidable local government. With most of the unrest resulting from high unemployment, the local government was directed to solve this issue. The economic development board was the official name of the organization designed to create jobs.
1955: A Singapore local legislative Assembly with 25 out of 35 members elected was formed.
1965: Upon independence from Malaysia, Singapore faced a small domestic market, and high levels of unemployment and poverty. 70 percent of Singapore's households lived in badly overcrowded conditions, and a third of its people squatted in slums on the city fringes. Unemployment averaged 14 percent, GDP per capita was US$516, and half of the population was illiterate.
Industrialisation boom and change
Structural change and machinery propels the economy
1965–1973: Annual growth of real GDP was 12.7%.
1973–1979: Oil crises raised government awareness of economic issues. It slated the government to create a new forum of economic change. The government highlighted a focus in technology and education to be the new wave of economic gain. It managed to minimize inflation and provide workers with the proper machinery to sustain growth.
The Singapore government established the Economic Development Board to spearhead an investment drive, and make Singapore an attractive destination for foreign investment. FDI inflows increased greatly over the following decades, and by 2001 foreign companies accounted for 75% of manufactured output and 85% of manufactured exports. Meanwhile, Singapore's savings and investment rates rose among the highest levels in the world, while household consumption and wage shares of GDP fell among the lowest.
Growth in the service sector
As a result of this investment drive, Singapore's capital stock increased 33 times by 1992, and achieved a tenfold increase in the capital-labour ratio. Living standards steadily rose, with more families moving from a lower-income status to middle-income security with increased household incomes.
1987: Lee Kuan-Yew claimed that (based on the home ownership criterion) 80% of Singaporeans could now be considered to be members of the middle-class. Under Lee Singapore had both low inflation and unemployment. However, much unlike the economic policies of Greece and the rest of Europe, Singapore followed a policy of individualising the social safety net. This led to a higher than average savings rate and a very sustainable economy in the long run. Without a burdensome welfare state or its likeliness, Singapore has developed a very self-reliant and skilled workforce well versed for a global economy.
The 1990s posed a great question for Singapore, as to how they would reinvent their economy. The 1990s emergence of efficient manufacturing firms in southeast Asia challenge the nation with such a small labor force and land restrictions. Friedrich noted how " it would be "unlikely to expand beyond the current 25% share of the economy," when regarding manufacturing firms. Despite struggling in the manufacturing sector Singapore thrived in global finance, trading, and was an industrial hub for international trade.
Singapore's economic strategy produced real growth averaging 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. Since the nations independence in 1965 Singapore GDP has amassed an average of a 9.5% increase. The economy picked up in 1999 Under Goh Chok Tong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, after the regional financial crisis, with a growth rate of 5.4%, followed by 9.9% for 2000. However, the economic slowdown in the United States, Japan and the European Union, as well as the worldwide electronics slump, had reduced the estimated economic growth in 2001 to a negative 2.0%.
The economy expanded by 2.2% the following year, and by 1.1% in 2003 when Singapore was affected by the SARS outbreak. Subsequently, a major turnaround occurred in 2004 allowed it to make a significant recovery of 8.3% growth in Singapore, although the actual growth fell short of the target growth for the year more than half with only 2.5%. In 2005, economic growth was 6.4%; and in 2006, 7.9%.
It was apparent that Singapore would also struggle as a result of the global financial crisis given its status as a financial services hub. Some market commentators doubted the economy's ability to cope with the effects of the crisis. For example, Kit Wei Zheng at Citi argued that Singapore would experience "the most severe recession in Singapore’s history". In the end the economy grew in 2009 by 3.1% and in 2010, the nation saw a 15.2% growth rate.
During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, on 26 March 2020, Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry said it believed that the economy would contract by between 1% and 4% in 2020. This was after the economy shrank some 2.2% in the first quarter of 2020 from the same quarter in 2019. On 26 May, MTI said that it was revising down its expectation for the Singapore economy in 2020 to shrink by 4% to 7%. Economists had to downgrade their numbers from previously, and some suggested that the economic recovery could take some time. In response to the economic pressure, Moody's temporarily downgraded the Singapore banking sector that year from "stable" outlook to a "negative" outlook. It was estimated by the economist Chua Hak Bin, the lockdown "circuit breaker" beginning on 7 April could impact the economy to the tune of S$10 billion. With the lockdown imposed on construction workers, there were concerns that there could be delays in construction projects of up to six months.
In late 2020, it was announced that Singapore drew S$17.2 billion of investments that year, a 12-year high, despite the global economic situation surrounding the pandemic. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing also announced the country is "on the right path, slowly but surely", and that "there is still much work to be done" on the road to recovery, which have been caused by "irreversible shifts" to the global economic system outside of Singapore's control. Singapore's economy is also expected to grow 5.5% in 2021, and that the widespread rollout of vaccines could potentially execeed the growth even further.
State enterprise and investment
The public sector is used both as an investor and as a catalyst for economic development and innovation. The government of Singapore has two sovereign wealth funds, Temasek Holdings and GIC Private Limited, which are used to manage the country's reserves. Initially the state's role was oriented more toward managing industries for economic development, but in recent decades the objectives of Singapore's sovereign wealth funds have shifted to a commercial basis.
Government-linked corporations play a substantial role in Singapore's domestic economy. As of November 2011, the top six Singapore-listed GLCs accounted for about 17 percent of total capitalization of the Singapore Exchange (SGX). These fully and partially state-owned enterprises operate on a commercial basis and are granted no competitive advantage over privately owned enterprises. State ownership is prominent in strategic sectors of the economy, including telecommunications, media, public transportation, defence, port, airport operations as well as banking, shipping, airline, infrastructure and real estate.
|Year||Total trade||Imports||Exports||% Change|
|2014||$983||$464||$519||21.3% change from 2006 to 2014|
All figures in billions of Singapore dollars.
International trade agreements
|Australia||Comprehensive Strategic Partnership||CSP||6 May 2016||2015|
|New Zealand||Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership||ANZSCEP||18 August 2000||14 November 2000||1 January 2001|||
|European Free Trade Association||Agreement between the EFTA States and Singapore||EFTA-Singapore FTA||11 April 2002||26 June 2002||1 January 2003|||
|Japan||Japan–Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement||JSEPA||October 2001||13 January|||
|United States||United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement||USSFTA||19 November 2002||6 May 2003||1 January 2004|||
|Jordan||Singapore Jordan Free Trade Agreement||SJFTA||29 April 2004||16 May 2004|||
|Brunei||Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement||Trans-Pacific SEP||August 2005||1 January 2006|||
|Chile||18 July 2005|
|New Zealand||18 July 2005|
|India||India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement||India-Singapore CECA||November 2004||29 June 2005||1 August 2005|||
|Korea||Korea-Singapore Free Trade Agreement||KSFTA||28 November 2004||4 August 2005||End 2005|||
|Peru||Peru-Singapore Free Trade Agreement||PesFTA||September 2007||29 May 2008||Early 2009|
|Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement||Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA||2016||23 January 2018||Mid 2018|
Facts and figures
Percentage of economic growth: 1.7% (2016)
Industrial production growth rate: 1% (2016 est.)
Electricity – production by source:
fossil fuel: 95.3%
other: 3.9% (2014 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 47.5 TWh (2016)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2007)
Currency: 1 Singapore dollar (S$ or SGD) = 100 cents
Exchange rates: 
|Year||Singapore Dollars per US$1|
- Four Asian Tigers
- 5 C's of Singapore
- Dual economy
- Bamboo network
- International rankings of Singapore
- Singapore and the World Bank
- Singapore model
- Before taxes and social transfers.
- Singapore's public debt consists largely of Singapore Government Securities (SGS) issued to assist the Central Provident Fund (CPF), which administers Singapore's defined contribution pension fund; special issues of SGS are held by the CPF, and are non-tradable; the government has not borrowed to finance deficit expenditures since the 1980s; Singapore has no external public debt.
- Singapore's public debt consists largely of Singapore Government Securities (SGS) issued to assist the Central Provident Fund (CPF), which administers Singapore's defined contribution pension fund; special issues of SGS are held by the CPF, and are non-tradable; the government has not borrowed to finance deficit expenditures since the 1980s; Singapore has no external public debt.
- "World Economic Outlook Database, April 2019". IMF.org. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- "World Bank Country and Lending Groups". datahelpdesk.worldbank.org. World Bank. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- "Population and Population Structure". Singstat. Department of Statistics Singapore. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
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