IMF reduces Singapore’s Growth outlook slightly for 2019

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reduced its forecast for Singapore’s economic growth for full year 2019 from 2.3 per cent to 2.0 per cent.

It cited global trade tensions as being an issue for exports from the country. Singapore saw just 0.1 per cent growth in the last quarter.

The IMF was quoted as saying, ”Given global trade tensions, support from external sectors is expected to fall and growth drivers are projected to shift back to domestic demand,” adding, “Risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside and mainly stem from external sources, including a tightening of global financial conditions, escalation of sustained trade tensions, and deceleration of global growth.”

Even despite the downgrade, the IMF expects that Singapore’s economic growth would average at 2.5 per cent over the medium term.

The country enjoyed stellar growth of 3.2 per cent in 2018 according to Singapore’s central bank.

Malaysia to complain to the WTO about the EU’s palm oil plans

Malaysia is in the process of filing a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to overturn a move by the EU to reduce and ultimately cease using palm oil as a transport fuel in Europe.

The EU argues that cultivation of palm oil leads to deforestation and has vowed to phase out its use.

Malaysia, however, argues that it is an important crop that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok was quoted as saying, “About the WTO, yes we are pursuing it, in fact the documents are with the attorney general chambers now… They are assisting us… (and) helping us identify experts who can argue the case in the WTO.

She also said that she might invite her Indonesian counterparts to file joint a joint complaint, since Indonesia is also a large palm oil producer.

India launches space mission to the Moon’s South Pole

India’s space agency, The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), successfully launched itsChandrayaan-2 rocket that will spearhead a mission to the Moon’s south pole.

The much-anticipated moon mission was originally scheduled to take off in the week prior to the successful launch, but was halted at the launchpad, as it was determined that the rocket had a helium leak.

India will become just the forth nation to land on the moon, after the US, Russia and China. It will also be the first to explore the Moon’s south pole. The lander is expected to touch down on the surface of the moon in early September 2019.

Chandrayaan-2 cost about 140 million US Dollars, which is considered to be one of the least expensive costs for a mission of its kind.

India has been largely successful in its space endeavors. In 2008 it launched its first moon mission, Chandrayaan-1 and in 2014 it launched a spacecraft in orbit around Mars.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to launch a crewed spacecraftto the moon by 2022.