The economy of tiny Singapore is taking a big hit from the slowdown in China, an impact coming just as the city-state is struggling with a homegrown demographic squeeze.
Buying and selling goods is a crucial driver of growth for Singapore's economy: companies based on the island supply components that go into smartphones made in China and the shipping industry helps transport raw materials across the world. Wholesale and retail trade makes up nearly 20% of gross domestic product.
This makes Singapore particularly susceptible to the weakness in China's economy, the world's second largest, which last year grew at its slowest pace in 25 years.
Veteran diplomat Chan Heng Chee, an ambassador-at-large for Singapore, told CNBC that the resulting drop in China's appetite for raw materials was particularly painful.
"We all know there's a slowdown in the region and the Chinese economy has slowed down. And it has impacted on very many countries. They're buying much less raw materials," Chan said. "For Singapore, because we are a trans-shipping hub this would immediately impact on us as the volume of cargo that would go through."
It's a slowdown immediately apparent in data released earlier this week. Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) contracted 7.2 percent on-year in December, accelerating the decline from November's 3.4 percent fall. Exports to China fell nearly 19 percent on-year in December.