S'pore may avoid recession, but extent of growth depends on external factors: PM Lee

The government will do its best to prepare for different scenarios and obtain the best results.

Ilyda Chua | January 21, 2023, 05:20 PM

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As the economy gradually recovers, Singapore may avoid a recession or even achieve some growth.

But the exact degree of this depends on external factors, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a doorstop interview, after visiting the transport workers at Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub on the eve of Chinese New Year.

He added that the projection is still that Singapore's economic growth will slow down slightly this year, as developed nations around the world risk recession.

The China factor

One of the factors is China, and how it will go about resuming normal operations after easing its zero-Covid policy.

Its previous strict rules led to mass lockdowns across the nation, and triggered an economic slowdown that caused its GDP to suffer a hit.

But with the lifting of its quarantine rules, travel is expected to resume in full force, offering a boon to the hard-hit global tourism sector.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Lee also acknowledged the increased optimism as Singapore moves into a post-pandemic normal.

"Everyone is saying that since the economy is improving, they should be receiving a raise or a bigger bonus," he said.

Still, as "dark clouds" around the world threaten to temper the new relief, the government will endeavour to prepare for different scenarios and aim for the best-possible outcomes, Lee said.

"We deal with Covid-19 in our stride. It is still there but no longer obsessing our thoughts," he said.

He added:

"We need to distinguish ourselves and make the most of our advantages to keep ourselves safe and doing well.

This year, the Year of the Rabbit, we have every confidence we will be able to do that...We make progress with our lives, with our growth, with our futures and watch our children grow."

Top image via video courtesy of Prime Minister's Office and Melvin Yong's Facebook