On the other side of the spectrum: Singapore

A couple of interesting reports about Singapore, which is definitely in economic depression!

SINGAPORE — Singapore will need 100,000 new foreign workers this year to keep on track an economy enjoying a stunning rebound, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in remarks published Thursday.
Rich but worker-starved Singapore has historically rolled out the welcome mat for foreigners, whose numbers rose dramatically in the boom of 2004-2007.
But with one in three of the five million people living on the tiny island now a foreigner and citizens complaining about competition for jobs, housing and medical care, the government has been looking anew at its open-door policy.
Nonetheless Lee said the need for more overseas labour was unavoidable despite efforts to slow the influx after complaints from citizens facing tougher jobs competition during last year's recession.
"If we don't allow the foreign workers in, you are going to have overheating," the Straits Times quoted him as telling Singaporean media during an ongoing visit to the United States.
On Wednesday the trade and industry ministry sharply upgraded its forecast for economic growth this year to 13-15 percent from 7.0-9.0 percent.
That could make Singapore the world's fastest growing economy this year, according to economists.
Lee assured Singaporeans the government would manage the inflow of foreign workers with measures such as higher levies on companies hiring from abroad.
But even so, "I'd imagine there will be more than 100,000 extra foreign workers this year," he said.
"I cannot see it otherwise, but we have to accept that."
Experts interviewed by the Straits Times newspaper said this year's expected inflow was still lower compared to previous years.
In 2007, there were 144,500 new foreign workers and 157,000 were hired in 2008, they said. [...]

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore may be forced to consider allowing further gains in its currency after a record first-half expansion put the economy in contention for the world’s fastest- growing this year.

The government yesterday reported an 18.1 percent surge in gross domestic product in the first half, unprecedented in data going back to 1975. Record tourist arrivals are benefitting companies from Singapore Airlines Ltd. to casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp., while a two-year-low jobless rate has helped spur a 38 percent jump in house prices in the past 12 months.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, which revalued the currency in April, may need to repeat the move at the next meeting in October without a cooling in growth, according to HSBC Holdings Plc. The boom is a reflection of a strengthening across Asia that’s prompted policy makers from Thailand to Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea to boost interest rates in recent weeks.

“With numbers like these, there is a growing chance that the MAS will have to tighten the screws again in October,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC in Hong Kong and a former consultant to the World Bank. Slack in Singapore’s economy “appears to have already vanished over the course of the first half of the year. Domestic demand continues to expand briskly, which should help to offset some of the emerging weakness in export markets.”

Singapore’s central bank has for three decades used the exchange rate, rather than a benchmark interest rate, as its main tool for achieving price stability. The currency rose as much as 1.2 percent versus its U.S. counterpart the day of the April announcement, before slipping the following month as Europe’s crisis threatened to slow the global expansion.

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