Still, experts said that Singapore was likely to weather the coming trade storm because of its solid economic foundations.
Taimur Baig, chief economist of Singapore-based bank DBS, highlighted the country’s strength on a real GDP per capita basis. On that metric, Singapore beats highly developed countries like Germany and Sweden.
Singapore’s strong economic position is “an outcome five decades in the making,” he explained, noting policies like its infrastructure investment as well as its national housing program.
Meanwhile, Steve Cochrane, chief Asia Pacific economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the island enjoys “prosperity” because it has been able to boost both its labor force and productivity.
Singapore also has some “shock absorbers” that help to shield from global turbulence, according to Baig.
Some of these include the country’s large pool of national savings and room for policymakers to deal with sudden changes in demand. These factors allow Singapore to deal with swings in the global cycle and still maintain its wealth, he added.
Singapore is also angling for a sizable share of the advanced technology marketplace, pushing efforts to develop high-tech systems and manufacturing in the city-state. Song Seng Wun, an economist with Malaysian bank CIMB, noted that such moves highlight the country’s need to be an attractive place for global businesses, pointing to British firm Dyson’s decision to build their electric cars in Singapore.
Ultimately, though, Singapore’s fate remains tied to the region as a whole. That is, Cochrane said, it will benefit if its Asian neighbors see economic success.
“Singapore wants that to happen — the more prosperous the region is, the better opportunities it creates in terms of travel, investment and consumer spending across the region,” he said.