RTTNews - The Singapore economy shrank a seasonally adjusted 14.6 percent in the first three months of 2009 compared to the previous quarter, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Thursday in its revised report.

That was at the lower end of analyst expectations that had predicted a decline of between 17 and 14 percent on quarter. The preliminary reading in April had reported a 19.7 percent quarterly decline following a 16.4 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2008.

On an annualized basis, GDP was down 10.1 percent, better than forecasts that had called for a decline of 10.9 percent after the preliminary figure showed a contraction of 11.5 percent.

The changes in the preliminary estimates reflect the impact of revisions in output of the manufacturing sector and the performance of the financial sector, the MTI said in a statement.

Among the individual components, manufacturing dropped 26.1 percent on year, while construction jumped 24.4 percent and service producing industries eased 5.2 percent.

Also easing were retail trade, hotels and transportation, while communications and business services posted only mild gains.

There are still no decisive indicators of economic recovery, the MTI said. According to the International Monetary Fund, synchronized global downturns brought about by a financial sector crisis - typified by the current recession - are longer and deeper than other types of recessions. Recovery from such recessions will be shallow and will take longer.

In light of the data, the MTI is maintaining its growth forecast at -6 to -9 percent for 2009, which it downwardly revised in April. In January, the MTI had estimated a decline of between 2 and 5 percent.

While trade is still expected to be weak for the rest of 2009, further declines of the magnitude seen earlier this year seem unlikely, the MTI said.

Singapore's economy grew 1.1 percent in 2008 and 7.8 percent in 2007.

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