Domestic demand remained resilient mainly due to inventory
accumulation, while external demand weakened (Figure 3.29.2). However,
consumption growth slowed to 2.2% from 4.6% in 2011 as spending on
reation and culture contracted and public consumption expenditure
shrank by 3.6%. Weaker export growth and relatively faster import
growth together narrowed net exports by 16.4%.
The economic slowdown took place amid ongoing economic
restructuring. The government has adopted the recommendations of the
Prime Minister’s Economic Strategic Committee that emphasize skills,
innovation, and productivity as the main sources of growth. It limited
the inflow of foreign workers by increasing the levies on nonresident
foreign employees and lowering the ceiling on their allowed share in
companies’ total workforce. It initiated programs to encourage firms to
raise their productivity by increasing the capital–labor ratio and through
efficient workflow, rather than by relying on cheap labor. Coupled with
low unemployment, these initiatives further tightened the labor market
and put upward pressure on wages and inflation. As productivity gains
will not happen overnight, slower expansion of the labor force will likely
Source: CEIC Data Company (accessed 6 March 2013) http://www.ceicdata.com/#
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