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Economy of Singapore

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Economy of Singapore

Singapore enjoys a highly developed and successful free-market economy, a remarkably open and corruption-free business environment, stable prices, and one of the highest per capita gross domestic products (GDP) in the world. Exports, particularly in electronics and chemicals, and services provide the main source of revenue for the economy, which allows it to purchase natural resources and raw goods which it does not have. Singapore could thus be said to rely on an extended concept of entrepot trade, by purchasing raw goods and refining them for re-export, such as in the wafer fabrication industry and oil refining. Singapore also has a strategic port which makes it more competitive than many of its neighbours to carry out such entrepot activities. In addition, Singapore's port infrastructure and skilled workforce due the success of Singapore's education policy in producing skilled workers is also fundamental in this aspect, by providing easier access to markets for both importing and exporting, and providing the skill needed to refine imports into exports.

The government promotes high levels of savings and investment through a mandatory savings scheme known as the Central Provident Fund, and large portions of its budget are expended extensively in education and technology, with the former having a current rate as of 2005 21%, compared to the current budget as of 2005 in the United States of 4%. It also owns Temasek-linked companies (TLCs, companies that are linked to the government's investment arm) - particularly in manufacturing - that operate as commercial entities and account for 60% of GDP. As Singapore looks to a future increasingly marked by globalization, the country is positioning itself as the region's financial and high-tech centre.

Singapore's strategic location on major sea lanes and industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size. Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations.

Singapore's economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. The economy picked up in 1999 after the regional financial crisis, with a growth rate of 5.4%, followed by 9.9% for 2000. However, the economic slowdown in the United States, Japan and the European Union, as well as the worldwide electronics slump, had reduced the estimated economic growth in 2001 to a negative 2.0%. The economy expanded by 2.2% the following year, and by 1.1% in 2003 when Singapore was affected by the SARS outbreak. Subsequently, a major turnaround occurred in 2004 allowed it to make a significant recovery in Singapore, although the actual growth fell short of the target growth for the year more than half with only 2.5%.

Singapore's largely corruption-free government, skilled workforce, and advanced and efficient infrastructure have attracted investments from more than 3,000 multinational corporations (MNCs) from the United States, Japan, and Europe. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. MNCs account for more than two-thirds of manufacturing output and direct export sales, although certain services sectors remain dominated by government-linked corporations.

Manufacturing and financial business services are the twin engines of the Singapore economy and accounted for 26% and 22%, respectively, of Singapore's gross domestic product in 2000. The electronics industry leads Singapore's manufacturing sector, accounting for 48% of Singapore's total industrial output, but the government also is prioritising development of the chemicals and biotechnology industries.

To maintain its competitive position despite rising wages, the government seeks to promote higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. It also has opened, or is in the process of opening, the financial services, telecommunications, and power generation and retailing sectors to foreign service providers and greater competition. The government has also pursued cost-cutting measures, including wage and rent reductions, to lower the cost of doing business in Singapore.

Trade, investment, and aid

Singapore's total trade in 2000 amounted to $273 billion, an increase of 21% from 1999. Despite its small size, Singapore is the tenth-largest trading partner of the United States. In 2000, Singapore's imports totalled $135 billion, and exports totalled $138 billion. Malaysia was Singapore's main import source, as well as its largest export market, absorbing 18% of Singapore's exports, with the United States close behind. Re-exports accounted for 43% of Singapore's total sales to other countries in 2000. Singapore's principal exports are petroleum products, food/beverages, chemicals, textile/garments, electronic components, telecommunication apparatus, transport equipment. Singapore's main imports are aircraft, crude oil and petroleum products, electronic components, radio and television receivers/parts, motor vehicles, chemicals, food/beverages, iron/steel, textile yarns/fabrics.

Singapore continues to attract investment funds on a large-scale despite its relatively high-cost operating environment. The U.S. leads in foreign investment, accounting for 40% of new commitments to the manufacturing sector in 2000. As of 1999, cumulative investment for manufacturing and services by American companies in Singapore reached approximately $20 billion (total assets). The bulk of U.S. investment is in electronics manufacturing, oil refining and storage, and the chemical industry. More than 1,500 U.S. firms operate in Singapore.

The government also has encouraged firms to invest outside Singapore, with the country's total direct investments abroad reaching $39 billion by the end of 1998. The People's Republic of China was the top destination, accounting for 14% of total overseas investments, followed by Malaysia (10%), Hong Kong (8.0%), Indonesia (8.0%) and U.S. (4.0%). The rapidly growing economy of India, especially the high technology sector, is becoming an expanding source of foreign investment for Singapore. The United States provides no bilateral aid to Singapore.

Labour

In 2000, Singapore had a work force of about 2.2 million. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union federation, comprises almost 99% of total organized labour. Extensive legislation covers general labour and trade union matters. The Industrial Arbitration Court handles labour-management disputes that cannot be resolved informally through the Ministry of Labour. The Singapore Government has stressed the importance of cooperation between unions, management and government ("tripartism"), as well as the early resolution of disputes. There has been only one strike in the past 15 years.

Singapore has enjoyed virtually full employment for long periods of time. Amid an economic slump, the unemployment rate rose to 4.0% by the end of 2001, from 2.4% early in the year. Unemployment has since declined to 3.4% as of the third quarter of 2004.

The Singapore Government and the NTUC have tried a range of programs to increase lagging productivity and boost the labour force participation rates of women and older workers. But labour shortages persist in the service sector and in many low-skilled positions in the construction and electronics industries. Foreign workers help make up this shortfall. In 2000, there were about 600,000 foreign workers in Singapore, constituting 27% of the total work force.

Facts & figures

GDP: purchasing power parity - $109.4 billion (2003 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1.1% (2003 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $23,700 (2003 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NEGL%
industry: 32.2%
services: 67.8% (2003 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.5%% (2003)

Labour force: 2.2 million (2003)

Labour force - by occupation: financial, business, and other services 49%, manufacturing 18%, commerce 15%, construction 6%, other 12% (2003)

Unemployment rate: 4.8% (2003 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $14.15 billion
expenditures: $15.61 billion, including capital expenditures of $8.1 billion (2003 est.)

Industries: electronics, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, entrepôt trade, biotechnology

Industrial production growth rate: 2.8% (2003 est.)

Electricity - production: 30,480 GWh (2001)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 28,350 GWh (2001)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: rubber, copra, fruit, vegetables; poultry, eggs, fish, orchids, ornamental fish

Exports: $142.4 billion (1999)

Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment (including electronics) 63%, chemicals, mineral fuels (1998)

Exports - partners: Malaysia 15.8%, US 14.3%, Hong Kong 10%, China 7%, Japan 6.7%, Taiwan 4.7%, Thailand 4.3%, South Korea 4.2% (2003 est.)

Imports: $121.6 billion (2003)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment 57%, mineral fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs (1998)

Imports - partners: Malaysia 16.8%, US 14.1%, Japan 12%, China 8.7%, Taiwan 5.1%, Thailand 4.3% (2003 est.)

Debt - external: $NA

Economic aid - recipient: $NA

Currency: 1 Singapore dollar (S$ or SGD) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Singapore dollars (S$ or SGD) per US$1 - 1.6733 (January 2000), 1.6950 (1999), 1.6736 (1998), 1.4848 (1997), 1.4100 (1996), 1.4174 (1995)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

See also

Template:WTOpt:Economia de Cingapura

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