SINGAPORE could slip into a technical recession in the second half as the global economic recovery remains subdued and planned drug plant shutdowns could hurt the manufacturing sector, warned Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran on Monday.

A 'technical recession', which analysts define as two consecutive periods of negative quarter-on-quarter growth, could happen in the second half of the year, even though full year growth remains on track at 13 to 15 per cent, he said in Parliament.

'If this happened, it would largely be a reflection of the sharp swings in the biomedical manufacturing cluster,' he said in reply to a question from West Coast GRC MP Ho Geok Choo.

Advance GDP estimates for the third quarter released by MTI last week showed that the Singapore economy grew by 10 per cent from a year ago, after a record 20 per cent growth in the earlier quarter. But quarter-on-quarter growth momentum has declined, contracting by 19.8 per cent in Q3 on a seasonally adjusted annualised basis, said Mr Iswaran.

He said this was due to three key factors - an expected correction from the exceptional growth in the first half, sharp decline in biomedical manufacturing output and contraction in construction sector due to the completion of key commercial and industrial building projects earlier in the year.

Growth for the rest of the year will be underpinned by 'continued growth in global demand for electronics products' and a resurgent tourism sector, which has gained a boost from two integrated casino resorts, added Mr Iswaran.

Risk of technical recession