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Economy in Singapore

For several decades, Singapore has been considered a major economic player in the global economy.

cityAccording to a report published by Forbes magazine, Singapore is placed third in the list of the world's wealthiest countries. This relatively small South East Asian country has an impressive record of economic achievements. Recently, the World Bank's “Doing Business 2014” report listed Singapore as the world's best location to run a business, outperforming other well-established economic leaders like Hong Kong, Denmark, and the United States. 

The Singaporean economy is known internationally for being one of the world's most competitive. The local economic policies implemented between the 1960s and the 1980s have been unquestionably successful in attracting large numbers of multinational companies and foreign direct investment to the country. Singapore's economic prosperity can be partly attributed to the unique policy model implemented by the local authorities, that enforce strict controls on elements like labour, land ownership, and capital resources, while actively supporting open market macro-economic policies. 

Singaporean economic policy has been successful in protecting the country from the vulnerabilities that are common to small-sized nations with few natural resources. The country's resilience to the major economic crisis of 1997 and 2008 are proof of Singapore's economic strength and future potential.

Key economic indicators

The latest statistics (published at the end of Q2 2013) show that Singapore's GDP exceeds $90 million. According to forecasts released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, GDP growth levels for 2014 have been set at 3.5 per cent.

Other significant economic indicators include the country's low unemployment rates (expected to be 1.8 per cent in 2014), zero foreign debt level, unmatched economic growth levels, high scores in economic freedom indexes (positioning the country as the second freest country in the world), top-of-the-range business facilities, minimal inflation (2 per cent in August 2013), and zero tariffs on imports.

Main industries

The Singaporean economy relies heavily on the services sector (which accounts for 72.8 per cent of its total output) and on the manufacturing industry (28 per cent). The manufacturing sector consists of electronics, digital, engineering, pharmaceutical, and biomedical sub-sectors. In 2012, Singapore's total manufacturing output exceeded $3 billion, with the best performing sub-sectors being computer, electronic, and optical products, refined petroleum products, and chemicals.

Finance and banking are other economic cornerstones in Singapore, as the country is home to more than 600 international financial institutions and has a leading role in global asset management, derivatives trading, and foreign exchange. As a result of its efficient regulatory policies, Singapore has been one of the few Asian nations to achieve and maintain its AAA rating.

The local tourist industry also plays a significant role in the local economy. Since the industry diversified into medical and business tourism in 2010, this sector has experienced double-digit growth and has generated average annual revenues of $23 billion. Overall, it is expected that following the implementation of a new trade agreement with the European Union, the Singaporean economy as a whole will grow by 3.4 per cent in 2014.