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Singapore’s Economy Faring Better Than Expected Amid Pandemic

Singapore’s economy contracted 5.8 percent in 2020, better than the government’s prior forecast of a decline of 6 to 6.5 percent, according to CNBC.

Singapore implemented stringent lockdown measures last April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but began lifting them in June. As a result, the nation’s gross domestic product grew by 9.5 percent in the third quarter of 2020, but expanded by only 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter, CNBC said, citing preliminary statistics from the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry.

For the fourth quarter, Singapore’s economy contracted 3.8 percent compared to the previous year. Manufacturing saw year-over-year growth of 9.5 percent while goods-producing industries saw slower growth of 3.3 percent. Growth for the construction industry, meanwhile, plunged 28.5 percent, while the services sector contracted 6.8 percent, according to CNBC.

CNBC said the Singapore government will release updated figures in February.

Meanwhile, the payments sector has had its own issues to contend with in Singapore.

In October, Singapore’s government ordered the closure of Wirecard’s payment processing services.

Singapore businesses were struggling to get paid following the shutdown of German payment processing firm Wirecard, according to a report in the Financial Times. Since the shutdown, Singapore businesses have pushed to process payments for such things as telephone bills and restaurant meals.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ordered the Wirecard closure in September after the German FinTech filed for insolvency in June. It also directed Wirecard to return customers’ funds by Oct. 14.

The downfall of Wirecard followed a scandal involving roughly $2.1 billion missing from its accounts.

Singapore’s economic slowdown follows that of China, which has also been hard hit by the ongoing pandemic.

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