Singapore: Singapore economy grew by 4.8 percent in 2011 despite the global economic crisis, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his New Year message on Saturday.

But for the next year, Lee said the economic growth could decline to between one percent and three percent, citing more challenging business environment globally.

Lee said: "We achieved steady growth of 4.8 percent this year. The external environment is uncertain. Debt problems in Europe are far from solved.”

"Next year looks like being difficult for the global economy. As a small, open country, Singapore will inevitably be affected," he said.

Among other issues, he said: "We have to manage the inflow of foreign workers and immigrants, keep home ownership affordable to all, and help low income Singaporeans cope with the cost of living.”

"We have the means to tackle these problems, and make things better. But in doing so we must remember to keep Singapore open and welcoming to talent, preserve the value of the flats of 800,000 HDB homeowners, and strengthen the spirit of self-reliance among Singaporeans", he said.

(Agencies)