Economies across the region are strengthening on the back of a pickup in the global outlook, said Bank of Singapore chief economist Richard Jerram. This will benefit Singapore as a trade-dependent economy and regional financial hub, particularly as the Asian middle class grows, he said at The Straits Times Global Outlook Forum yesterday.

"Singapore has done much better this year than people expected at the start of the year," he noted. "It has beaten government forecasts comfortably."

The uptick comes as global trade has staged a revival in the past year - a key contributor to strong growth in Asia, Mr Jerram said. Domestically driven growth in the region has also become more robust.

This has happened for a simple reason, Mr Jerram said. "Regional economies have become better managed and more competitive."

This means they have become better places to do business and have been able to ramp up both domestic and foreign investment.

"This generates a middle class, urbanisation and wealth," he added, noting that 27 per cent of global wealth will be in the Asia-Pacific by 2020, up from 17 per cent in 2010.


This is good news for Singapore, which has positioned itself as a regional wealth management hub.

But Mr Jerram also flagged some risks - for instance, China's mounting debt burden.

"Historically, these things have ended badly," he noted. If the Chinese credit bubble bursts, Singapore would inevitably be affected.

Rising trade protectionism could also pose a risk to the global outlook, he added.