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Singapore economy continues strong performance: central bank
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17:48, July 25, 2007

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Singapore''s central bank on Wednesday reiterated its 2007 economic growth forecast of 5 to 7 percent, saying it could revise it closer to last year''s strong 7. 9 percent growth later.

"First of all for the 2007 growth forecast, we would release the revised figures in August, when all the data is in. So we do not normally revise our figures at this point. But I think if the external conditions remain positive, we can expect the momentum that has been generated so far to continue," Heng Swee Keat, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said at its 2006/2007 annual report news conference.

The global economy posted its fourth consecutive year of strong growth in 2006. This provided the backdrop for the robust performance of the Singapore economy, which grew by almost 8 percent last year, while the healthy expansion has continued into the first half of 2007, the report said.

The Singapore economy grew by a strong 7.3 percent in the first half of this year.

"For the year as a whole, GDP growth will be underpinned by the ongoing expansion in the transport engineering and biomed manufacturing clusters, as well as the services sectors," said the report.

Meanwhile, increases in consumer prices have generally been mild, with Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation averaging 0.8 percent over the first half of this year.

However, the MAS warned that business costs have risen alongside the strong growth in the economy, with some components including wages and rentals, experiencing more rapid gains recently.

With the 2 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike in July and some increases in the prices of food, transport and oil- related items, CPI inflation will pick up into the second half of 2007.

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