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The Week in Numbers: Singapore’s Growth Forecast Slashed

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its 2019 economic growth forecast for Singapore to 2% from 2.3% as the export-reliant country is hit by global trade tensions. Singapore’s economy grew by just 0.1% in the second quarter of 2019. However, the IMF said that Singapore’s economic growth should stabilise around 2.5% over the medium term. Singapore’s central bank forecasts growth of between 1.5% to 2.5% from 3.2% in 2018.

Singapore registered the biggest fall in exports in over six years in June. Non-oil domestic exports slumped 17.3% compared to a year ago, down from a 16.3% decline in May. It also was below analysts expectations of a 9.6% fall. Electric non-oil domestic exports declined 31.9% in June and 31.6% in May.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve said that economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace from May to early July. The Fed is expected to cut interest rates for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2008. Fed Chairman Jerome Power said that even with unemployment at 50-year lows and Wall Street at record highs, weakening global economy is an important reason for a strong case for monetary easing.

South Korea’s central bank cut its policy interest rate for the first time in three years on Thursday, July 18. Analysts are expecting another rate cut from South Korea’s central bank. South Korea’s economy was dealt a blow when Japan announced plans to increase certain restrictions on exports of materials for making chips and smartphone displays to South Korea. 

Market participants bailed on Netflix Inc after the streaming giant lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years and missed targets for new subscribers overseas. It added 2.83 million new paid stream subscribers outside of the US, well below the 4.8 million expected by analysts. It also lost 130,000 US customers, compared to an expected gain of 352,000.

Netflix faces the launch of Disney+, a possible formidable competitor in the streaming market. It also loses two of its most-streamed shows — “The Office” and “Friends” — over the next two years.

A recent survey showed that one-third of Singaporeans do not invest and see investing as a form of gambling. The study found that Singaporeans save an average of 26% of their salary and 82% have got insurance coverage. But 34% do not invest, and 36% of investors have investments not performing up to their targets. 27% of those who “invest” speculate excessively for quick gains.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Jeremy Chia does not own shares of any companies mentioned.