SINGAPORE, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said the local economy is “in for a tough period that will last for a while”, state-owned Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported late on Wednesday.
“We’ve had some growth at the start but the second half will be weaker - in the lower half of the 1 percent to 2 percent range,” Tharman told reporters, according to CNA.
Economists expect Singapore’s trade-dependent economy to grow 1.8 percent this year, a central bank survey found earlier this month.
In August, the government revised its 2016 economic growth forecast to 1-2 percent from 1-3 percent previously, on concerns over Brexit and weakening global demand.
Tharman also reiterated that he was not interested in succeeding Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. “Just to be absolutely clear, because I know there’s this talk going around... I‘m not the man for PM, I say that categorically. It’s not me,” CNA quoted him as saying.
Tharman is the clear favourite of Singaporeans to succeed Lee, a survey conducted by market research consultancy Blackbox showed. Sixty-nine percent of the 897 respondents in the poll, commissioned by Yahoo Singapore, endorsed Tharman for the post.
Analysts have viewed Tharman, along with Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, among potential successors to Lee.
After briefly taking ill during a National Day rally in Singapore in August, Lee, the eldest son of the city-state’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, said it had become “even more important” to talk about succession.
The People’s Action Party has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965, and scored a decisive victory in last year’s general election. The next vote is due by January 2021. (Reporting by Jongwoo Cheon; Editing by Anshuman Daga and Mark Heinrich)