Saturday, January 26, 2013

Construction, healthcare among sectors to benefit from growing population: DBS Vickers


Channelnewsasia.com
Posted: 25 January 2013 1151 hrs

SINGAPORE: A white paper exploring issues arising from a larger population in Singapore will be released by the government before the end of January.

Singapore's population has expanded by almost a third over the last 12 years to 5.31 million as at end-June 2012. To cope with this, the government has committed to ramping up supporting infrastructure, such as doubling the country's rail network by 2030.

Almost 200,000 homes are also expected to hit the market by 2016.

According to a DBS Vickers report which previews the upcoming Population White Paper, businesses in land transport, construction, property and healthcare should continue to benefit from Singapore's growing population.

Singapore is in the midst of restructuring its economy and going on a productivity drive to manage rising labour costs. However, with Singapore's low fertility rate and ageing population, it is clear that foreign manpower will have a key role to play in Singapore's economy.

Andrew Wood, Asia country risk analyst with Business Monitor International, said: "You can grow the economy one or two ways. Either productivity-led growth or a population-led growth.

"They are looking at a mix, pretty clearly, and I think that is to keep wage pressure relatively subdued, while allowing at the same time for business to shift to a tighter labour market situation."

But experts said there will be sectors that will benefit from skilled talent -- including foreigners.

PK Basu, regional head of research and economics at Maybank Kim Eng Research, said: "Other sectors that can potentially gain are any that use skilled labour, so the financial services sector for instance is one that needs augmentation of talent and skills over time, so that is one sector.

"Anything to do with engineering, pharmaceuticals, high-tech manufacturing would benefit from having skilled foreign workers."

Going forward, the government has said it will strive to better match infrastructure provision with population needs.


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