Singapore has been largely praised for its management of the pandemic and continues to have one of the world’s lowest fatality rates.
However, stringent “circuit breaker” movement restrictions from early April brought most commerce to a halt, helping contribute to the country’s worst ever economic contraction on record.
While the circuit breaker ended in June, reduced domestic spend and a lack of international tourists to hold up the tourism industry and high end retail chains continues to have a severe impact.
In the long term, Singapore's strong sovereign wealth fund position and the economy’s solid foundations on strong trade and investment platforms put the country in a good position to weather the effects of COVID-19 better than most.
A NZTE survey of Singaporeans in April 2020 found many opportunities for New Zealand exporters to leverage New Zealand's brand and reputation.
The survey of 444 households found the safety of New Zealand products is perceived as very high in Singapore (81% agree), and 75% of Singaporeans agree that they trust products from New Zealand. Older demographics trust New Zealand products more than younger consumers.
New Zealand's image can help companies trade off natural, organic and sustainable claims in Singapore, with perception of its ability to produce natural products very high in Singapore at 79%. Singaporean consumers were also the most likely in the survey to claim to favour sustainable products at 73%.
Figures from a MFAT report posted July 2020 shows New Zealand’s goods exports to Singapore were up by 20% for the first five months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. New Zealand food exports to Singapore have held up in 2020, with dairy and fruit exports increasing by 22% and 52% respectively, and meat exports holding steady.
Singapore’s food security concerns provide an opportunity for New Zealand food and beverage companies. The city-state’s digitalisation agenda also provides opportunities for New Zealand’s fast-growing tech sector to expand its presence in-market.