Singapore’s GDP plunges 41.2% from previous quarter

The skyline of Singapore’s financial hub. Image: Mike Enerio
The skyline of Singapore’s financial hub. Image: Mike Enerio

Singapore is in a deep recession after its economy contracted 41.2% in the second quarter, pain attributed to the economic slowdown and pandemic containment measures.

Overall GDP was down 12.6% from the previous year, with some of the deepest setbacks were in construction and services, the Trade and Industry Ministry announced today. The slump was attributed to the so-called circuit-breaker measures, imposed in April to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which saw the shutdown of nonessential services including construction, retail, and entertainment, as well as the closure of most workplaces. 

“These figures are expected, given the unprecedented Circuit Breaker measures that were in place from 7 April to 1 June to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore, as well as the disruptions to global economic activity caused by the lockdowns in many countries that were similarly trying to fight the virus,” Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said in a statement timed with the release of the new numbers.

Hampering this further has been the disruption of the global supply chain due to lockdowns in other countries, “as well as weak external demand amidst a global economic downturn precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the ministry said in announcing the new figures.  

Singapore’s economy had contracted by 0.7% in the first quarter. 

On a yearly basis, the manufacturing sector grew by 2.5% due to a surge in output in the biomedical manufacturing cluster. But the construction and service industries declined by 54.7% and 13.6% respectively due to restrictions on construction activities and travel bans. 

Table showing the GDP figures from last year onwards. Photo: Ministry of Trade & Industry Singapore 
Table showing the GDP figures from last year onwards. Photo: Ministry of Trade & Industry Singapore

Chan said that it will be a long time before the economy recovers, as some countries face new waves of COVID-19 infections. 

“The road to recovery in the months ahead will be challenging. We expect recovery to be a slow and uneven journey, as external demand continues to be weak and countries battle the second and third waves of outbreaks by reinstating localised lockdowns or stricter safe distancing measures,” he said.

Singapore has yet to hear updates from the recently-formed Emerging Stronger Task Force meant to steer the city-state’s economy into recovery. 

Earlier in April, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the task force headed by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee and CEO of PSA International Tan Chong Meng. 

Following that, an open letter was penned to government officials requesting for a more diverse representation of society in its task force.

Other stories you should check out:

Open letter calls for ‘diverse voices’ on Singapore’s COVID-19 recovery task force
Pandemic Election: PAP forms government; opposition gains one more constituency

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