Singapore economic revival stutters due to virus restrictions

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Singapore
Singapore

Retail sales in Singapore fell sharply in May before the wider private sector stagnated in June, according to estimates released on Monday.

Official retail data showed a 6.8-per-cent fall in May compared to April, while IHS Markit’s latest Purchasing Managers’ Index, which is based on a survey of around 400 Singapore-based companies, said there were “visible slowdowns of business activity” last month.

The data suggest Singapore’s rebound from a pandemic-related downturn has stuttered due to some restrictions being reimposed in May.

Driven by exports, the wealthy city-state’s gross domestic product expanded during the first quarter after a record annual contraction of 5.4 per cent last year, with the central bank last week saying 2021 growth could top 6 per cent.

In May, after a slight rise in daily coronavirus case numbers, the government banned dining at restaurants and capped attendances at events at 100.

The curbs have since been lifted, though they “took a toll on business activity and demand growth,” according to IHS Markit, which said its index for Singapore “fell sharply to 50.1 in June from 54.4 in May, signalling almost stagnant economic conditions in the month.”

The government on Monday said it would put up 1.2 billion dollars (900 million US dollars) to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

The government declared last month it aims to handle coronavirus in a similar manner to flu, promising businesses that they “will have certainty that their operations will not be disrupted.”

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