Singapore drew S$15.2 billion in investments in 2019, beating EDB's estimates

Raffles Square in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Creative)

SINGAPORE — Singapore attracted S$15.2 billion in fixed asset investments (FAI) in 2019, exceeding the forecast of S$8 billion to S$10 billion, Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) said on Thursday (16 January).

This was an increase from the S$10.9 billion attracted in 2018, according to EDB’s year-in-review statement. The investments committed in 2019 were the highest in seven years since Singapore drew S$16 billion in 2012.

Business expenditure per annum totalled S$9 billion in 2019, an increase from S$6.2 billion in 2018 and above EDB’s forecast of S$5 billion to S$7 billion.

When these projects are fully implemented, they will create 32,814 new jobs in the coming years and contribute S$29.4 billion in value-added per annum, the EDB said.

“The 2019 investment commitment numbers are testament to Singapore’s position as the preferred location for global companies to tap into Asia’s growth, and Singapore’s competitiveness as a hub for manufacturing, innovation and digital activities,” said Beh Swan Gin, Chairman of EDB.

“Although the global operating environment remains uncertain, we are cautiously optimistic that the investment flows in 2019 will continue into 2020 and bring good business and job opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

Chemicals and electronics were the top two sources of investment commitments in 2019, each accounting for more than 30 per cent of total FAI. Investments in the chemicals industry totalled S$4.89 billion while the electronics industry attracted S$4.59 billion.

Of the jobs created by the investment commitments last year, 49 per cent of them are expected to be digital roles such as data engineers, software engineers and product managers.

By sector, the infocommunications and media sector lead with 8,527 jobs expected, followed by engineering and environmental services with 6,263 jobs and electronics with 4,955.

EDB Year 2019 in Review (Source: EDB)

Unlike last year, the EDB didn’t give its forecast for 2020. Instead, it said the aim for the medium to long term is to sustain annual investment commitments of S$8 billion to S$10 billion, with total business expenditure per annum of S$5 billion to S$7 billion, and creation of 16,000 to 18,000 jobs over the same period.

Moving forward, the EDB will continue to focus on three areas.

The first is strengthening Singapore as a platform for companies to tap opportunities in South-east Asia.

Another goal is to broaden Singapore's role as a hub for both manufacturing and non-manufacturing firms to develop digital products and solutions.

EDB is also aiming for Singapore to be the base for the creation of new products, services and businesses by international companies.

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