Singapore (EWS) is a high quality, geographically well placed market at the center of the Asian growth story. It is also a smart way to play what for now is a sharp recovery in the region's share prices and economic activity. Singapore's economy surged for a second straight quarter, and the government hiked its 2009 growth forecast, as manufacturing strength the city-state's emergence from recession.
Gross domestic product grew an annualized, seasonally adjusted rate of 14.9 percent in the third quarter, following a jump of 22 percent the previous quarter according to the Trade and Industry Ministry. The economy also expanded from a year earlier for the first time since the third quarter of 2008, the ministry said. GDP was up 0.8 percent from the July-September quarter of 2008.
"A clear but modest recovery is under way globally, at least for the next three or four quarters," the ministry said. "However, economic activity will probably remain below pre-crisis levels because of the drag on demand in the developed economies." The government boosted its 2009 GDP forecast to a contraction of between 2 percent and 2.5 percent from a previous expectation of a fall between 4 percent and 6 percent.
Another attraction of Singapore is its balanced economy with trade, finance and tourism fueling one of Asia's highest living standards. Higher oil prices boosted trading activity and manufacturing soared an annualized, seasonally adjusted 35 percent in the third quarter while services grew 9.5 percent. The growth in the second and third quarters is the most of any six-month period since the government began releasing quarterly GDP figures in 1975, said Robert Prior-Wandesforde, senior Asia economist at HSBC in Singapore.