Singapore Economy Facts

Economical overview

Despite the lack of its own natural resources, Singapore has since independence in 1965 developed into an industrial nation and a leading financial center. Important reasons for this are the country’s geographical location and a natural deep-sea port.

Well-trained workforce, efficient financial management and a well-developed infrastructure have also contributed to the success. In addition, the oil resources in the region have made Singapore an appropriate center for oil refining and trading.

  • Major imports by Singapore, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.

By offering good terms of establishment, including tax relief, the Singaporean government has attracted large multinational companies to invest in the country. The companies have brought money, access to foreign markets and know-how that has also benefited domestic staff. Singapore’s education system has been adapted to meet business needs. Multinational and some domestic large companies dominate.

  • Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including SGP which represents the country of Singapore. Check findjobdescriptions to learn more about Singapore.

Singapore is one of the world’s best countries to run a business or other business, according to the World Bank’s annual report “Doing Business”. In the study, the World Bank examines nine different criteria: how easy it is to start a business, whether it is easy to get a loan, the tax burden, the cross-border trade, whether property is easy to register, management of building permits, how easy it is to put down a companies, investor safety and whether contracts entered into are respected.

Fast industrialization

Singapore was rapidly industrializing. In the 1960s, the government focused primarily on labor-intensive industry to reduce unemployment. The first major investments were made in the electronics industry, which then became the country’s main industry. In the 1970s, capital-intensive production was encouraged and later the government focused on high-tech industry. Since the late 1990s, industries such as IT, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals have been given priority, and since the turn of the millennium, investments in design and research have been added.

Foreign trade is crucial for Singapore’s economy, which is thus greatly affected by international economic activity. The first serious setback in the high growth rate came during the so-called Asian crisis in the late 1990s. After a speedy recovery, Singapore 2001 suffered a severe decline. The country’s GDP fell by just over 2 per cent, mainly due to reduced demand for electronics. Subsequently, Singapore again experienced good economic growth for six years in order to enter 2008 into the worst downturn since independence. The international recession caused Singapore’s exports to fall sharply. However, already in 2010, the economy grew again at record speed, thanks to a sharp rise in the manufacturing industry.

Good foundation to stand on

During the 2010s, economic development has been relatively uneven, which has led to the question of Singapore’s economic model. In addition to the large dependency on exports, many analysts have warned that government control of the economy is too great. Some privatization of state-owned enterprises has taken place and the service sector has also been opened to foreign competition.

However, the fundamentally sound economy provides Singapore with opportunities to face the temporary economic downturn. Both companies and individuals have been able to benefit from stimulus packages. In the background lies many years of surpluses in the state budget which led to high domestic savings. The country also has one of the world’s largest reserves of foreign currency.

Inflation has been moderate, with the exception of peaks in 2008 and 2011. The main factors behind inflation are higher rents, higher wages and higher prices. Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. The reasons for the high cost of living are the country’s strong currency, as well as high prices for electricity and water.


GDP per person

US $ 64,582 (2018)

Total GDP

US $ 364 157 million (2018)

GDP growth

3.1 percent (2018)

Agriculture’s share of GDP

0.0 percent (2018)

Manufacturing industry’s share of GDP

20.8 percent (2018)

The service sector’s share of GDP

69.4 percent (2018)


0.7 percent (2019)

Government debt’s share of GDP

113.6 percent (2018)


Singaporean dollar

Merchandise exports

US $ 459,740 M (2018)


US $ 361 368 M (2018)

Current account

US $ 65,072 million (2018)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

215 percent (2018)

Main export goods

electronics, oil, petrochemical products, telecommunications equipment

Largest trading partner

Malaysia, China, USA, Hong Kong

Singapore Economy Facts

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