Singapore raises 2011 GDP forecast to up to 7 pct

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore raised its 2011 economic growth forecast Thursday after a strong first quarter led by a surge in manufacturing.

The Trade and Industry Ministry said it expects gross domestic product to expand between 5 percent and 7 percent this year, one percentage point more than the government’s previous forecast.

The economy grew 8.3 percent in the January-to-March period from a year earlier and jumped a seasonally adjusted annualized 22.5 percent last quarter, the ministry said in a statement.

“Overall, first quarter GDP growth has been broad-based and robust,” DBS bank said in a report. “Strong regional demand juxtaposed with a steady recovery in the U.S. should deliver enough growth gas in the second half of the year to deliver that 7 percent full year growth.”

Singapore’s economy — which relies on manufacturing, finance and tourism — soared 14.5 percent last year as growing Asian consumer demand fueled a boom in exports and visitor arrivals.

The ministry said last month in preliminary results that the economy in the first quarter had grown 8.5 percent from a year earlier and 24 percent from the previous quarter.

Manufacturing rose 13 percent from a year ago and 75 percent from the previous quarter, led by pharmaceutical production, the ministry said. Services increased 7.3 percent and construction was up 2.4 percent from a year ago.

The ministry said downside risks include sovereign debt sustainability in Europe, higher oil prices, and a prolonged disruption of industrial activities in Japan. But global economic growth, especially in Asia, will likely continue to support Singapore’s expansion, it said.

“The advanced economies remain on a path of modest recovery,” the ministry said “In emerging Asia, growth is expected to remain healthy.”

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