SINGAPORE Economists cut their forecasts for Singapore's growth this year as the outlooks for exports and the financial sector were revised down, and also lowered their expectations for growth and core inflation in 2017, a central bank survey showed on Wednesday.
The median forecast of 22 economists surveyed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was for gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 1.4 percent in 2016, down from the 1.8 percent seen in the previous survey published in September.
That would mark a slowdown from 2.0 percent in 2015 as stubbornly sluggish global demand weighs on the trade-reliant economy.
The median forecast for year-on-year growth in the finance and insurance sector in 2016 came in at 0.5 percent, down from 2.0 percent in the September survey. Economists now see non-oil domestic exports falling 4.4 percent in 2016, compared to the previous median forecast of a 3.6 percent drop.
The median forecast for GDP growth in 2017 came in at 1.5 percent, down from 1.8 percent three months ago.
The central bank's core inflation gauge was seen likely to rise 1.3 percent for the whole of 2017, down slightly from the previous median forecast of 1.4 percent.
Fourth-quarter GDP growth was expected to slow to 0.8 percent on a year-on-year basis, according to the median forecast in the latest MAS survey, down from 1.5 percent in the September survey.
That would be a slowdown from 1.1 percent year-on-year growth in the third quarter, when the economy contracted 2.0 percent from the previous three months on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis.
In November, the government revised its official 2016 forecast to growth of 1.0-1.5 percent, compared with the previous projection of 1.0-2.0 percent.
According to the latest MAS survey, economists' median forecast for the all-items consumer price index (CPI) next year was unchanged from three months ago, with the headline CPI expected to rise 1.0 percent for the whole of 2017.
The central bank's current forecast is for core inflation to average around 1.0 percent in 2016 before rising to 1 percent-2 percent next year. The MAS expects CPI-all items inflation to come in at around -0.5 percent in 2016 and pick up to 0.5 percent-1.5 percent next year.
Economists expect the Singapore dollar to trade at S$1.43 versus the U.S. dollar at end-2016, and S$1.465 at the end of next year. It was trading near S$1.4263 on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Eric Meijer)