A man wearing a face mask walks past a mural in Chinatown in Singapore on April 1, 2020.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images
Singapore’s government on Tuesday announced another 33 billion Singapore dollars ($23.2 billion) to support its economy which has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s the fourth stimulus package that the Southeast Asian country has announced since the outbreak. It came after Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry slashed its forecasts for gross domestic product. It now expects GDP to shrink by between 4.0% and 7.0% in 2020 — its third downgrade in economic projections this year.
Along with the previous three stimulus packages, Singapore will spend nearly 100 billion Singapore dollars ($70.4 billion) to help businesses and households manage the economic impact of the coronavirus. That’s almost 20% of the country’s GDP, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
“This is a landmark package, and a necessary response to a unprecedented crisis,” Heng said in a speech to parliament.
The additional spending will require the government to once again draw down the country’s reserves — a move that Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob, in a Facebook post on Monday, said she has given “in-principle support” for.
The exact amount of Singapore’s reserves is a state secret, but various estimates have placed it at hundreds of billions in U.S. dollars.
Singapore was one of the earliest countries outside China to report cases of the coronavirus disease, which is formally named Covid-19. The country’s health ministry said on Tuesday it has preliminarily confirmed 383 new coronavirus cases, bringing the tally to 32,343 — one of the highest in Asia.
Lockdown measures that many countries enacted to contain the spread of the virus have hit economic activity globally, including reducing the amount of trade worldwide. Several economists have named Singapore as one of the most vulnerable economies in the pandemic given its reliance on trade for growth.
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