By Kevin Lim
SINGAPORE, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Singapore may revise its forecast for 2013 growth to the top end of the range projected earlier, even though the second quarter probably had slower expansion than the advance estimates reported last month, economists said.
According to a Reuters poll of nine economists, Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) likely expanded by 14.0 percent in the second quarter from the first three months of the year on a seasonally adjusted and annualised rate, below the government's preliminary estimate of 15.2 percent.
From a year ago, GDP in the second quarter probably grew by 3.4 percent, the poll showed. The advance estimate of 3.7 percent.
The key reason for the poll's downgrade was June industrial production data. It contracted a worse-than-expected 5.9 percent from a year ago due to a sharp drop in pharmaceutical output, which tends to be very volatile from month to month.
'Manufacturing growth was a weaker 0.5 percent in 2Q versus the government's earlier flash estimates of 1.1 percent,' said Chua Hak Bin, Southeast Asia economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 'Slightly better services growth may, however, partly offset the downside surprise in manufacturing.'
Singapore has projected 2013 GDP will expand by a 1-3 percent range. Chua and several other economists expect the government to narrow the range to 2-3 percent, reflecting the better-than-expected performance in financial services so far as well as the slight recovery in electronics manufacturing.
Singapore's central bank said last month the city-state's economy expanded by around 2 percent in the first half of 2013 and will likely pick up further in coming months.
The reasons for its optimism included the recovery in the United States, improving global semiconductor sales and the strength in Singapore's financial services industry, which should offset from a slowdown in China and Southeast Asia.
Singapore will report detailed second quarter GDP data on Monday but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong may provide some figures late on Thursday in a message on the eve of National Day.
(Editing by Richard Borsuk) Keywords: SINGAPORE ECONOMY/GDP
(Kevin.Lim@thomsonreuters.com)(65)(6403 5663)(Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)
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