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Singapore’s woes sound a warning for wider Asia

To those betting on a strong Asian rebound from the Covid-19 era, Singapore has a sobering message: “Think again.”

On August 11, the city-state’s Ministry of Trade and Industry narrowed its full-year growth forecast to 3-4%. It also revised downward growth in the second quarter to 4.4% from an initial 4.8% reading.

Singapore matters because of its role as Asia-Pacific region weathervane. Its open and trade-reliant economy is often the vanguard of zigs and zags in global demand. When container-ship parking around Singapore gets crowded, manufacturers have reason to shudder.

At the moment, Asia’s weathervane is signaling fresh headwinds coming its way. Some are coming from Washington, where the US Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hike cycle is accelerating. Others are emanating from Europe, where growth is slowing under the weight of high energy costs.