From left to right: AMRO Deputy Director, Yasuto Watanabe; AMRO Director, Dr. Junhong Chang; Permanent Secretary for Finance, Mrs Tan Ching Yee; AMRO Chief Economist, Dr. Hoe Ee Khor; AMRO Mission Chief and Lead Economist, Dr. Sumio Ishikawa

An AMRO mission led by Dr. Sumio Ishikawa conducted this year’s Annual Consultation Visit to Singapore from 8 September to 20 September. Dr. Junhong Chang, AMRO Director, and Dr. Hoe Ee Khor, AMRO Chief Economist, participated in part of the mission. During the visit, AMRO staff had a series of meetings with the public sector, including the Ministry of Finance, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Manpower, the Committee on the Future Economy Secretariat, and Agency for Science, Technology and Research, private sector representatives and analysts; academics; and an IMF official.

During the meetings, AMRO staff discussed a wide range of issues regarding Singapore’s economic outlook, labor policy, productivity growth, economic restructuring and financial stability. The discussions also focused on the adequacy and appropriateness of policy measures, including the fiscal and monetary policy stance, macroprudential policies and measures to boost productivity growth. The mission team presented its preliminary assessment of the Singapore economy to the Singapore authorities. In AMRO’s preliminary assessment, the Singapore economy is forecast to grow modestly at 1.8 percent in 2016, reflecting strong headwinds from a weak and uncertain external environment and ongoing domestic restructuring.

Given that local workforce growth is expected to slow down in the medium term, the authorities have continued their decade-long push for higher productivity growth. On the policy side, fiscal policy has been expansionary to address cyclical weakness in the economy, while providing incentives for business upgrading, and enhancing policies to build an inclusive society. Monetary policy easing in April 2016 is seen as appropriate in view of low inflation, weakening economy, and softening labor market. AMRO would like to thank the Singapore authorities for their kind hospitality and assistance in arranging the meetings. The visit to Singapore has deepened AMRO’s understanding of the current macroeconomic and financial situation, as well as critical issues related to macroeconomic stability in Singapore.