Singapore economy expands 3.5pc in first half: Premier

August 09, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s trade-sensitive economy grew 3.5 percent in the first half and was on track for 2.5-3.5 percent expansion this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

“Our economy grew 3.5 percent in the first half of 2014, and is forecast to grow 2.5-3.5 percent for the year,” he said in a message on the eve of National Day.

The forecast is within previous official estimates of 2.0-4.0 percent growth this year even as the city-state grapples with increasing uncertainties around the world.

The government on July 14 said gross domestic product shrank an annualised 0.8 percent on-quarter in the three months to June due to a fall in the output for electronic goods, a main export for the country of 5.4 million people.

Lee said the tiny island republic had thrived due to globalisation but remained vulnerable to external shocks.

“Events overseas affect us quickly and unpredictably, such as political changes in Southeast Asia, maritime disputes in the South China Sea, or armed conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine,” he said.

The 62-year-old premier said the government was continuing to strengthen social safety nets, especially for the country’s growing ranks of elderly citizens.

SoftBank chief silent on T-Mobile deal

TOKYO: The chief of Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank yesterday brushed aside questions about a plan to buy T-Mobile, in his first public comments since a report said that he had called off the deal.

Masayoshi Son, the billionaire head of SoftBank, had never confirmed that he was trying to scoop up the fourth-largest US mobile carrier through its unit Sprint, which SoftBank acquired last year in a monster $21.6bn deal.

But Son has said that he wanted a stronger number-three carrier to take on US market leaders Verizon and AT&T, and the T-Mobile acquisition was seen as key to that strategy.

This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint had abandoned a $32bn offer for T-Mobile in the face of US regulatory opposition. “SoftBank does not discuss whether or not we intend to purchase particular firms,” he told reporters.

“I have never made an official comment on this, and I will not have an official comment today.”