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WSJ: Singapore Eases Monetary Policy as Growth Sputters

2015-10-14 19:38| 发布者: james| 查看: 437| 评论: 0|原作者: james

摘要: By GAURAV RAGHUVANSHI And JAKE MAXWELL WATTS Updated Oct. 13, 2015 9:58 p.m. ET0 COMMENTS SINGAPORE—Singapore became the latest Asian nation to take policy action to support its sputtering economy ...
By GAURAV RAGHUVANSHI And
JAKE MAXWELL WATTS

Updated Oct. 13, 2015 9:58 p.m. ET0 COMMENTS

SINGAPORE—Singapore became the latest Asian nation to take policy action to support its sputtering economy as China’s slowdown casts an increasingly large shadow on growth prospects in the region.

Singapore’s central bank put the local currency on a slower pace of appreciation Wednesday, easing its currency policy for the second time this year. The decision coincided with news that the island state had narrowly avoided falling into a technical recession, with the economy reporting a tiny expansion.

With the easing move, the Monetary Authority of Singapore joined its peers in India and Taiwan who have eased their policies to bolster economic growth in recent weeks.

Singapore’s economy, considered a bellwether for Southeast Asia’s economic health, expanded 0.1% on-quarter on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis in the July-to-September quarter, after contracting a revised 2.5% in the April-to-June period.

Most analysts had predicted the financial, transportation and electronic component hub would become the first major Asian economy to slip into recession.

Theslowdown in China is weighing on economies throughout the region. Some analysts expect Japan will report two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction, a prospect that could prompt a response from the Bank of Japan. Data released Tuesday showed that China’s exports and imports fell in September as global demand remained anemic. China is Singapore’s largest customer, accounting for almost 15% of its total exports.

“China’s growth momentum is easing on a sharp deceleration in investment growth. Taken together, these factors will weigh on the region’s commodity producers and trade-dependent economies. As a consequence, the growth outlook for Asia ex-Japan as a whole has dimmed,” the MAS said.

Central banks in Asia are torn between the need to provide stimulus to revive dwindling growth and to protect their currencies in the buildup to the first U.S. interest rate increase in nearly a decade.

The decision by Singapore comes ahead of monetary policy decisions in South Korea and Indonesia on Thursday, though economists see those central banks as likely to hold fire following previous cuts by Seoul, and with currency weakness and inflation concerning policy makers in Jakarta.

The Singapore central bank said in its half-yearly monetary policy statement that it would “slightly” reduce the rate of appreciation of the Singapore dollar against a basket of currencies of the nation’s main trading partners.

However, it will maintain the policy of a modest and gradual appreciation of the Singapore dollar’s nominal effective exchange rate policy band. There will be no change to the width of the policy band, or the level at which it is centered.

Thirteen out of 18 analysts in a poll by The Wall Street Journal had predicted that the central bank would ease policy. However, most of the analysts had predicted that the central bank would lower the midpoint of the band.

Following the smaller-than-forecast action by the bank and the unexpected expansion of the economy, the Singapore dollar rose by as much as 0.6% against the U.S. dollar.

Write to Gaurav Raghuvanshi at gaurav.raghuvanshi@wsj.com and Jake Maxwell Watts at jake.watts@wsj.com



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