Date: 5 May 2011
The event will be held in Singapore, with the participation of distinguished participants from academia, government, civil society, international organizations, and the press. The list of well known participants making opening remarks, presentations and commenting on the publication includes:
Ambassador K. Kesavapany
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Professor of Public Policy
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore
Economic Affairs Officer
Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Country briefing note <download pdf file>
A sharp export-led economic rebound also benefits the large services sector
Singapore , one of the most open economies in the world, was also one of the fastest growing in 2010 at 14.5%, after contracting by 0.8% in 2009.
A sharp revival in exports led to over 40% growth in manufacturing in the first half of 2010 and this in turn, had positive effects on the large services sector, including wholesale trade, transport and financial services.
Industry growth markedly decelerated in the third quarter but bounced back in the fourth quarter, led by the biomedical industry. Manufacturing in semiconductor-related equipment and electronics also remained strong through the year.
Growth in the construction sector continued in 2010, albeit at a more modest pace of 6.1% compared to 17.1% in 2009.
Inflation is rising amid concerns over housing prices and a tight labour market
Inflation picked up to 2.8% in 2010. Housing prices continued to rise through the year, at over 25% in case of private housing. Demand for residential and commercial buildings remains strong. Food prices also began to rise as the year progressed.
Inflation is expected to accelerate to 3.3% on average this year, with higher peaks during the first semester. Inflation for January stood at 5.5%. High prices of imported fuel and the tight labor market could put upward cost pressure on some industries.
Fiscal policy focuses on enhancing labour productivity
Singapore continues to rank at the top in terms of competitiveness and enjoys prudent macroeconomic management.
The Jobs Credit Scheme, which was extended in 2009, was gradually phased out in 2010 as the labor market improved. Unemployment rate was low at 3.1% in 2010 for citizens and permanent residents, and lower at 2.2% including foreign workers.
The Government is now focusing more on productivity growth in the coming years, inter alia by strengthening human capital development. To this end, spending on education and health were increased in 2010 and this trend is expected to continue this year.
Spending on public housing also increased in 2010 and is expected to rise this year, in an effort to stabilize housing prices.
Monetary stance tightens, with a gradual rise in the nominal effective exchange rate
To curb inflationary pressure, the authorities continued to tighten monetary policy in 2010 by allowing a gradual rise in the nominal effective exchange rate (NEER). Singapore does not use policy interest rates, but instead manages the currency band against a basket of currencies.
Boosted by strong foreign capital inflows, South-East Asian stock exchanges were among the best performers in the Asia-Pacific region in 2010. Singapore 's Straits Times Index gained 10%.
Net exports contribute over ten percentage points to economic growth
Singapore continued to post large current account surplus of some 22.2% of GDP in 2010. Net exports of goods and services rose by 38% and contributed 10.5 percentage points to GDP.
Broader trends affecting South-East Asian exports are subdued demand in developed countries, partially offset by rising demand from China and India .
With surpluses in both current and capital accounts, several South-East Asian economies saw their official foreign reserve stocks rise rapidly in 2010. Singapore 's foreign reserves stood at some US$225 by end-year, covering over 6 months of imports.
Major economies in South-East Asia also saw their currencies appreciate substantially against the US dollar in 2010. The Singapore dollar gained 9.6%.
In 2011, the economy is forecast to grow by 5.0%, supported by rising intra-regional trade and capacity expansion in key manufacturing sectors.
Preliminary first quarter GDP figures showed that the economy continued to perform well, expanding strongly from the previous quarter.
Key downside risks include sovereign debt concerns in the peripheral EU economies and the inflationary concerns in Asia which may prompt further monetary tightening – both of which could lead to lower external demand for Singapore 's exports.