Singapore’s economy avoids recession in 2023, grows 1.2 per cent: PM Lee

Singapore’s economy avoids recession in 2023, grows 1.2 per cent: PM Lee


Singapore’s economy avoided a recession and expanded 1.2 per cent in 2023, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday, warning however that geopolitical risks will weigh on next year’s growth.

The affluent city state’s economic performance is often seen as a barometer of the global environment because of its reliance on international trade.

“We made 1.2 per cent growth this year, avoiding a recession,” Lee said in his New Year’s message.

Singapore’s economy avoids recession in 2023, grows 1.2 per cent: PM Lee
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gives a news conference on March 16. Singapore’s economy has been hurt by softer global demand for its exports, with the return of air travel after the Covid-19 pandemic boosting domestic growth. Photo: EPA-EFE
The economy has been hurt by softer global demand for its exports, with the return of air travel after the Covid-19 pandemic boosting domestic growth.

“For some years to come, we must expect the external environment to be less favourable to our security and prosperity. Geopolitical uncertainties will continue weighing on the global economy,” he said.

“In our own region, there are tensions and risks over rival claims in the South China Sea, and because of the cross-Strait situation. These can affect confidence in the region, and hence our growth.”
Maritime tensions have risen recently in the sea after China and the Philippines traded blame for a series of incidents in the area, including a collision between their vessels.
Lee also cited climate change as another challenge for the low-lying island-state.

“We are already feeling its effects,” he warned.

Singapore needs to adapt to and prepare for rising temperatures and sea levels, and to transition our economy to net-zero carbon emissions. It will be costly and demanding.”

Singapore’s Wong and China’s Li agree to boost ‘mutually beneficial cooperation’

Lee, who has been prime minister since 2004, called for unity as he prepares to hand over leadership in the coming year to his deputy Lawrence Wong, who is also the finance minister.

“This is not the first time we are having a leadership transition. But transitions are always delicate,” he said, adding that Singapore “will come under close scrutiny” on whether it “can remain successful and exceptional”.

If Wong takes over, it would be only the second time since Singapore’s independence in 1965 that the prime minister is not a member of the Lee family.

Lee’s father, Lee Kuan Yew, was the country’s first prime minister.

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