Singapore mulls financial aid for struggling marine sector

The Singapore government is considering whether to help the city-state’s marine and offshore engineering (M&OE) sector, which is facing a prolonged downturn due to the slump in the oil market, the trade and industry minister said on Monday.

“The government is studying, in consultation with the M&OE industry and financial institutions, the need for measures for the sector,” S. Iswaran said in a speech. “However, while the government will endeavour to render assistance where appropriate, it cannot be a panacea.”

He did not elaborate what future steps might be, but said companies can also tap on measures that are already in place, such as government-backed loans that help small businesses deal with cash flow concerns and financing needs.

The government is also investing S$107 million ($77 million) to help develop a new research centre for the industry, he said.

Several companies in Singapore, a hub for shipbuilding and offshore support firms, have been hit by the almost two-year rout in oil prices and a slowing economy. Among those, oil services firm Swiber Holdings went into judicial management this month.

The weak growth outlook has prompted analyst expectations of more government stimulus for the economy.

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