Singapore lowers growth forecast as virus hits economy

Singapore, Feb 17 (AFP/APP): Singapore cut its economic growth forecast for this year on Monday as the coronavirus batters tourist arrivals and trade.

The city-state is one of the worst affected places outside China, with 75 cases of the virus so far.

Singapore downgraded its 2020 growth estimate to a range of -0.5 percent to 1.5 percent.

That compares with its previous forecast in November of 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

“The outbreak of the coronavirus… has affected China, Singapore and many countries around the world,” the trade ministry said in a statement.

“In Asia, the outbreak is likely to dampen the growth prospects of China and other affected countries this year.”

Tourism arrivals have already started to decline, exports are expected to take a hit, and domestic consumption is likely to fall as people cut back on shopping and dining out, it added.

China is Singapore’s largest source of tourists and a major export destination.

The city-state was at risk of sliding into a technical recession, warned Song Seng Wun of CIMB Private Banking.

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