Singapore plans fourth stimulus package for coronavirus economy


A man wearing a face mask walks past a mural in Chinatown in Singapore on April 1, 2020.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

The Singapore government announced on Tuesday 33 billion Singapore dollars (23.2 billion dollars) to support its economy which has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is the fourth stimulus package that the Southeast Asian country has announced since the epidemic. It came after Singapore’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry cut its forecast for gross domestic product. It now expects GDP to fall between 4.0% and 7.0% in 2020 – its third downgrade from economic projections this year.

In addition to the previous three stimulus packages, Singapore will spend nearly Singapore $ 100 billion ($ 70.4 billion) to help businesses and households manage the economic impact of the coronavirus. This represents almost 20% of the country’s GDP, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat.

“This is a historic package and a necessary response to an unprecedented crisis,” said Heng in a speech to the parliament.

The additional spending will force the government to further reduce the country’s reserves – a measure for which Singapore President Halimah Yacob, in a Facebook article on Monday, said that she had given “support in principle”.

The exact amount of Singapore’s reserves is a state secret, but various estimates have put it at hundreds of billions of US dollars.

Singapore was one of the first countries outside of China to report cases of coronavirus, officially known as Covid-19. The country’s health ministry said on Tuesday it had previously confirmed 383 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 32,343, one of the highest in Asia.

The blocking measures that many countries have adopted to contain the spread of the virus have affected economic activity around the world, including by reducing the volume of global trade. Several economists have singled out Singapore as one of the most vulnerable economies in the pandemic given its dependence on trade for growth.

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