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Singapore central bank maintains neutral policy stance

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Singapore central bank maintains neutral policy stance

The Monetary Authority of Singapore maintained its neutral policy stance of zero appreciation in the currency.

The central bank referred to its October 2016 statement that "the neutral policy stance would be appropriate for an extended period." It did not, however, explicitly repeat the guidance, potentially signaling that some policy tightening could be expected in 2018, as believed by some analysts, Bloomberg News reported.

Singapore's economy grew an annualized 6.3% in the third quarter, compared to the linked quarter, following the 2.4% expansion in the second quarter. The central bank said GDP growth should come in at the upper half of the 2%-3% forecast range in 2017. The economy is likely to expand at a steady, but slightly slower, pace in 2018 compared to 2017.

Meanwhile, core inflation edged down to average 1.5% year over year in July-August, from 1.6% in the second quarter, and inflation including all items fell to 0.5% from 0.8% over the same period.

Core inflation is projected to reach around 1.5% in 2017 and average 1% to 2% in 2018, the central bank said.

The policy statement suggests the central bank holds a cautious economic outlook in 2018, while leaving room for policy adjustment in case of positive growth development, Reuters reported, citing some analysts.

Singapore's monetary policy is managed through exchange rate settings, rather than interest rates, making it the only central bank in a major developed nation to do so, Reuters and Bloomberg News reported.