Understanding the GDP number

Singapore GDP Numbers - What do they mean?

In writing the page about Capitaland Mall Trust Dividend Share and Company Analysis, I wanted to check if Capitaland Mall Trust’s Revenue has a correlation with Singapore consumption data. Hence i went to the Singstat database to get the GDP data for Singapore. That is when I realise it is not so simple. For those who are trying to learn how to invest their money in Singapore as beginners, looking at all these different versions of GDP can be a turn off. So we have distilled it down for you so that it can be easier to swallow.

GDP at Current Market Prices: The market value of goods and services produced in a country during a year. It is also known as nominal GDP. When you use this GDP, it means that the numbers are not adjusted for inflation. This means that if GDP increased by 1 million from 2017 to 2018 and inflation for the same period was say 2.5%, GDP at current market prices will record the full 1 million increase in 2018.

GDP (SA): When you see a (SA), it means that the data is seasonally adjusted. What this means that the Data has been adjusted for seasonal swings. In broad strokes, this means that if you tend to see a sharp uptick in good activity every December, you will most likely remove the seasonal effect so that you can better access the current trend in GDP numbers

GDP in Chained (2015) Dollars: This is basically real GDP with 2015 as the base year. What this means is that it measures the amount of GDP activity vs 2015. Singapore Department of Statistics recently moved the base year from 2010 to 2015. The reason for doing that is that if you continue to use GDP of 2010, you will end up with a less effective number.

Assume that 5 units of a good was produced in 2010 at the price of $5. in 2015, the prices suddenly increased to $10, with all other prices in the economy held constant. This may be because the good is in short supply so prices kept increasing. With that short supply comes a gradual increase in production of that good. So in 2016 you start to see more of this good being produced, say 10 units of it. IF you were to use 2010 prices, you will have recorded, a real economic activity of say SGD 50 when the real number will come closer to about SGD 100. It is for this reason that they have decided to rebase every 5 years.

For those who want to know exactly how it is done, here is a short video on it.


For my specific purpose, I am more interested in GDP in current market prices. However, Real GDP (SA) can be really useful in other situations (ie. Macro Analysis)

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