Singapore Economy


Singapore is one of the sought after destinations among people all over the world. But how many of us are really aware of the economy of Singapore?

In the pre-independence era, Singapore had a strong naval base with flourishing sea trade. It was popular as the Gibraltar of the East and had the largest port among the South Asian countries. The recorded GDP of Singapore in 1965 was $511, ranking third in South East Asia. Industrialization and global trade became the main focus since 1965, post independence. The present economy is market-based with high flow of foreign direct investment. It has carved a niche for commercialization and business, making Singapore a favorite place for several IT, banking and finance and automobile firms. After Hong Kong, Singapore holds the rank for having the free yet competitive market according to the reports released by the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom.


The government of Singapore tries to provide an open business environment in order to set up more profitable ventures with the foreign enterprises.

Some of the major industries of Singapore include oil refining industry, rubber processing and its products, wafer fabrication, ship repairing, processed food and beverages, and financial services. To know more about the economy of Singapore, just have a look. 

Singapore Economy statistics


Here is a Singapore economy checklist



Singapore Economy influencers



Foreign Direct Investment – This is one of the major influencers for the ever-growing economy of Singapore. Its tropical climate, infrastructure, locations and skilled workforce make it a great place for the multi national firms to have their base. There are companies from United States, Japan and UK catering to all sectors. In terms of foreign reserves Singapore ranks 10th in the world.

Exports – Exports account for at least 28 per cent of the total Gross Domestic Product. The manufacturing industry, petroleum, chemicals and biomedicines are some of the prominent field of export especially to India.

Trade – Ranking 15th in the world as importer and 14th as largest exporter, Singapore has world’s highest GDP-trade ratio and is an important influencer of the economy. It has signed around 10 agreements of free trade with several other countries.

Tourism – One of the popular honeymoon and tourist destinations in the world, tourism plays a pivotal role in the country’s economy. As per 2011 statistics, around 11 million people come to Singapore annually generating around 3 billion USD. There are also students, non-Singaporean workforce and medical tourists living here.

Singapore Economy Rankings
  • World’s top logistic and commercial hub
  • Fourth leading center for finance and banking
  • Fourth largest center for foreign exchange
  • World’s highest millionaire households are in Singapore
  • Second largest market for casino gambling
  • Third largest oil refining center in the world
  • Largest oil-rig manufacturer
With an immensely developed mixed economy, Singapore’s economy is expected to increase by 3% in 2012, lowering down from an anticipated 5.2% in 2011. As of now, the financial services sector and global economy decreasing, the average forecast is fixed at 1-3% for 2012. According to the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) Survey, it is also expected that the Singapore dollar will strengthen to $1.23 when compared to the US dollar by the end of this year. On the other hand, according to the Q4 economic preview data, 2012 economy growth is anticipated to float between 2% as it gets battered from all fronts, from a global demand slouch to augmented belt-tightening amongst the natives for a recession. Even Liew anticipated that the economy of Singapore will increase by 2.5% and continue retaining the positive growth throughout the year.

Singapore relies on the Entrepôt trade concept, i.e. they purchase raw materials and refine them so as to re-export. The country earns good revenue from the oil refining and fabrication industries. The country is home to a strategic port which adds to the competitive edge. Singapore’s port is one of the busiest ports in the world, surpassing Hong Kong and Rotterdam. The skilled workforce and port infrastructure also plays a viable role in adding to the economy of Singapore. While the private sector adds to the economic success of Singapore, the government sector plays a proactive role when it comes to economic development.

Singapore Economy Trade and Investment


One of the key strengths of Singapore is its quality of infrastructure. FTAs are superhighways in Singapore connecting Singapore with the new markets and major economies. With the help of FTAs, the investors as well as exporters based in Singapore enjoy a wide range of benefits like preferential access to some sectors, concession on tariffs, protection of Intellectual Property (IP) and faster entry into new markets. A strong network of around 16 FTAs in Singapore have been designed to establish Singapore as one of the integrated manufacturing hubs in the region, provide a boost to the service sector, and stimulate research and development in the so called knowledge-based economy.

Singapore Economy Recent Trends


Singapore has expanded more in the second quarter than that was predicted earlier as it witnessed an improvement in global demand for manufactured goods.

The manufacturing economy of Singapore has expanded in August 2009 for the fourth consecutive month indicating that the country is slowly recovering from the global economic meltdown that has severely affected several countries across the world. According to Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management, this growth is due to an increase in the number of new orders, production output, finished goods stock, employment and imports. Like the manufacturing sector, the electronics sector has also expanded in August.


Last Updated On: 5th July 2012
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