Skip to main content



Economists cut GDP growth forecast to 1.8 per cent in 2023, flag China, global economy as possible downsides: MAS survey

SINGAPORE — Economists have cut their projections for Singapore's economy in 2023, lowering their growth estimates for the Republic's gross domestic product (GDP) to 1.8 per cent, down from their previous forecast of 2.8 per cent in September.

The city skyline in Singapore on Dec 1, 2022.

The city skyline in Singapore on Dec 1, 2022.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.
  • Economists have lowered their growth projections for 2023 to 1.8 per cent, down from their previous forecast of 2.8 per cent
  • Among the top risks to Singapore's economy are the slowdown in the external economy and social unrest arising from China’s Covid-19 lockdowns 
  • Economists also predict headline inflation for 2022 to rise to 6.1 per cent, up from 5.7 per cent predicted previously

SINGAPORE — Economists have cut their projections for Singapore's economy in 2023, lowering their growth estimates for the Republic's gross domestic product (GDP) to 1.8 per cent, down from their previous forecast of 2.8 per cent in September.

The quarterly survey of private sector economists by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), published on Wednesday (Dec 14), also flagged spillovers from a slowdown in the external economy and the social unrest arising from China’s Covid-19 lockdowns as the top downside risks to Singapore’s economy.

The survey was sent to 25 economists and analysts who monitor Singapore’s economy, of which 21 responded, said MAS.

Their GDP growth forecast is in line with official predictions for 2023.

Last month, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said that it expects Singapore’s economy to expand between 0.5 and 2.5 per cent in 2023.


  • Overall, the economists polled said it is likely that GDP will expand between 1.0 and 1.9 per cent
  • This is down from the 2.0 to 2.9 per cent range in the previous survey in September
  • GDP growth is a measure of Singapore's economic health
  • As for 2022, the economists projected that GDP will grow by 3.6 per cent — a slight increase from the 3.5 per cent they predicted in September


  • Respondents also cited the top three potential downside and upside risks for Singapore’s economy
  • A downside risk generally refers to an event, trend or issue that would negatively impact the economy, while an upside risk refers to the opposite
  • For downside risks, 62.5 per cent of economists polled cited a slowdown in global growth, while 50 per cent said geopolitical tensions could drag Singapore's economy
  • Some examples of such global geopolitical tensions include the Ukraine war, and tensions between the US and China, economists told TODAY
  • The survey added that spillovers from China brought about by Covid-19 lockdowns as well as the social unrest there were cited by 43.8 per cent of respondents as a downside risk
  • When asked to pick the top risk to Singapore's economy, an equal proportion — 31.3 per cent — of respondents flagged external growth and China 


  • On the other hand, economists also believe that China can pose several upsides for Singapore's economy
  • A total of 87.5 per cent of respondents cited that robust growth in China could have a positive impact on Singapore
  • Around 25 per cent of economists stated external growth of global economies — not including China — as a potential upside
  • A quarter of respondents also said a slower pace of monetary policy tightening could be good for Singapore's economy — this is referring to the slowing down of interest rate hikes by the United States Federal Reserve in recent months


  • Economists also raised their inflation forecasts for both 2022 and 2023, the survey showed
  • The median forecast for headline inflation for 2022 is 6.1 per cent, up from 5.7 per cent predicted in September’s survey
  • The headline forecast for 2023 is 5.2 per cent, a jump from the previous forecast of 3.5 per cent
  • Core inflation for this year is expected to rise to 4.1 per cent, up from the economists' previous prediction of 3.8 per cent
  • Core inflation for 2023 is expected to come in at 4 per cent, higher than the previous prediction of 3.1 per cent
  • Respondents of the survey said they do not expect MAS to adjust its monetary policy stance in April and October next year
  • As for the labour market, the economists predict that Singapore’s unemployment rate at the end of 2022 will come in at 2.1 per cent, a slight increase from the 2 per cent unemployment rate forecast in the previous poll


The cautious views about Singapore's economic outlook next year should not come as a surprise, said economists whom TODAY spoke to.

Mr Irvin Seah, a senior economist at DBS Bank who participated in the survey, said that this is because of a combination of factors such as the tightening of monetary policy around the globe.

Tighter monetary policy usually involves raising benchmark interest rates. Various central banks have done this aggressively over recent months to make borrowing more expensive in order to slow economic activity with the aim of easing inflation.

CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun, who did not take part in the MAS survey, said interest rates are expected to rise further next week.

The economists said these rising interest rates lead to concerns of a slowdown in the global economy.

Mr Song said that simply put, consumers will be purchasing less, and there will also be a slowdown in investments and hiring for businesses.

The potential slowdown in the economy could also lead to a softening in the labour market, said Mr Seah.

And with the market consensus that inflation will continue to stay high, Mr Seah said everyone will be “sandwiched between slower growth and high inflation”.

Added Mr Seah: “More difficult times ahead for everyone, time to tighten our belts.”

Still, inflation figures in the world's largest economy, the United States, came in softer than feared on Tuesday.

Both economists also pointed out that the MAS survey was conducted before China announced last week that it would be relaxing its zero-Covid policy and there was lack of clarity with regard to its opening.

This led to two camps that held differing views on how the economic giant will affect Singapore.

Mr Song said if China reopens, Singapore’s economy would get an “extra lift” from the trade-oriented exports goods sector.

It could also see the return of Chinese visitors, either for work or leisure, which would lead to a higher demand for goods and services.

That said, Mr Seah added that “the road to reopening is not a straight one”, and that it could be a bumpy ride ahead for China, as seen in many other economies over the past one or two years.

“If we assume the same could potentially happen to China, then the reopening could be slower than expected. That could potentially be a drag on the region, as well as for Singapore,” he said.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article said that the headline forecast for 2023 was 5.4 per cent. MAS later said that there was an error in computation, and clarified that the correct figure should be 5.2 per cent.

Related topics

economy GDP Monetary Authority of Singapore

Read more of the latest in




Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.