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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Hey Heng, HK annced help package for economy

In Economy, Hong Kong on 16/08/2019 at 1:51 pm

Where’s ours? U waiting for election is it?

Remember the govt recently cut its growth forecast

Taking into account the global and domestic economic environment, as well as the performance of the Singapore economy in the first half of the year, the GDP growth forecast for 2019 is downgraded to “0.0 to 1.0 per cent”, from “1.5 to 2.5 per cent”, with growth expected to come in at around the mid-point of the forecast range.

MTI

HK has cut its 2019 growth forecast to between 0-1%, from 2-3%.

The HK govt announced a US$2.4bn economic support package on Thursday in a bid to ease headwinds.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan said it would include subsidies for businesses and the underprivileged as well as higher salary tax rebates. He stressed that the package was not in response to escalating political protests in the territory.

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Latest “bad” economic data is really “gd” news for PAP

In Economy on 29/07/2019 at 6:53 am

On the face of it, the latest manufacturing data is not good news for Heng especially if as expected the PAP govt wants to call a 2019 election and wants 65% of the 65% of the popular vote: the pass mark for bragging rights that they have the people’s mandate.


Problems for the PAP govt

Economy: “Only cold spell coming, but not Winter”. But to be fair to the PAP: IMF affirms support for PAP policies.

The headwinds other than a lousy economy going into a GE:

— Another reason why ground is not sweet for the PAP.

Why one-party rule sucks for Xi, Lee and Heng


Manufacturing output experienced its sharpest fall in three-and-a-half years in June, as trade tensions and a global slowdown continue to weigh on our very open economy: the canary in the global economy.

Figures published by the EDB on Friday showed that manufacturing output fell by 6.9% during the month year on year, marking the sector’s worst monthly performance since December 2015.

But here’s the good news for Heng: analysts polled by Reuters had forecast an even worse drop of 7.9%. The economy did better than expected.

There’s even better news for Heng and his millionaire ministers: on a seasonally adjusted month on month basis, manufacturing output expanded by 1.2% in June. Remember Chris K, no friend of the PAP says that month-on-month figures or quarter-on-quarter numbers are a better guide to the probable direction of the economy.

Remember that Dr Tan Cheng Bock said that a worsening economy would make people worry about changing the status quo. Maybe his team read what I wrote in 2015, when the global economy wasn’t looking good: Time to worry? No worries, vote PAP like in 2001 LOL?

Likewise an improving economy make people worry about changing the status quo: I mean if Mad Dog gets in via a Coalition of the Spastics, the economy will get rabies. And rabies kills.

Btw, read Economy worse than PAP, MSM, alt media spin to understand why the PAP wins the propaganda war. With TOC’s bunch of economically illiterate Indian writers based in India, the PAP doesn’t need friends.

Economy worse than PAP, MSM, alt media spin

In Economy, Media on 28/07/2019 at 9:29 am

Singapore’s GDP growth drops to 0.1% in Q2, lowest since 2009’s Great Recession

TOC headline

Singapore’s GDP foretasted to grow by 0.1% in Q2 2019

TRE headline

Now these aped the MSM spin

Singapore economic growth slows to 0.1% in Q2, lowest in a decade

CNA

Singapore growth forecast risks sharper downgrade as Q2 GDP scrapes in at 0.1%

BT

Singapore’s economy grows just 0.1% in Q2, lowest in decade and worse than expected

ST

As Chris K KPKBed, the MSM headlines and opening paras put the best spin out a bad situation.

The reality is a lot worse

How bad things are

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis,  GDP contracted by 3.4%, way below the median forecast of 0.1% in a Reuters poll. This was a reversal from the 3.8% growth in the previous quarter and marked the worst quarter-on-quarter performance since the third quarter of 2012. The economy also registered its lowest growth in a decade, expanding just 0.1% on year in the second quarter, missing a forecast rise of 1.1%.

“Only cold spell coming, but not Winter,” says Heng

Question is why is alt media also helping out the PAP govt?

In case of TRE it’s likely that this was “an honest mistake”: TeamTRE are volunteers and stretched. And their cybernut readership is only booing at the PAP. Ask them to help out and they disappear.

In TOC’s case, the bunch of Indians based in India writing for TOC don’t know jackshit nor do they care about the S’pore economy.  TOC: A lot of bull.

At least FTs work here and pay GST and other taxes. Terry’s team work overseas. And TOC and its cybernut readers criticise the PAP govt for allowing in FTs?

 

New headache for Heng

In China, Economy on 27/07/2019 at 6:14 am

Trump realises that S’pore’s freeloading off the US, and has told the US trade representative to fix the freeloading. The good news is that China and a whole host of countries are in the same situation.

In a memo to Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, on Friday, Mr Trump has yet again attacked the World Trade Organization, saying it allowed too many countries to claim the status of a developing economy and special treatment that is damaging the global trading system (i.e. damaging America).

As well as usual suspect China, he mentioned other countries that he thought should not be classified as developing., This included S’pore and two other   Asian city-states such as Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Gulf countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. He also said Turkey, South Korea and Mexico claimed the status of a developing nation, even though they were part of the OECD group of advanced economies. On these three countries I agree with him that their status of “developing nation” is illogical.

What about India meh? Can developing nation afford to send robots to the moon, even if the rocket is rubbish? Failed to launch first time. Had to repeat. Secret Squirrel’s sidekick, Morocco Mole, says his Indian cousin twice removed says the fault lay with made-in-India software. And we still relying on Indian software expertise for projects like SingPass? Re: SingPass technical support versus that of OCBC and HSBC and SingPass sucks, really sucks. (To be fair to SingPass, it does work well after one gets into the system. But getting to that stage was a struggle as the posts show.)

He reminded the benefits that came from having developing economy status at the WTO, including procedural advantages in disputes, softer tariff cuts, the ability to maintain export subsidies and weaker commitments in negotiations.

Related posts:

If China withdraws behind the Great Walls

Why Sino-US Cold War is great for our economy

“Only cold spell coming, but not Winter”

IMF affirms support for PAP policies.

Why Sino-US Cold War is great for our economy

In China, Economy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 22/07/2019 at 5:37 am

It’ll do for our economy what the Vietnam War did for HK and our economies: spur economic growth

Further to Will the last US MNC leaving China switch off the lights, the charts below show almost nothing is made in America. Almost everything is made in China, and almost the rest in Asean i.e. countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and M’sia.

As the regional trading, financial heart and hi-tech manufacturing centre (Think Ang moh manufacturer employs more people here than in China and planning to employ a lot more) of Asean, we’ll benefit (Think Ang moh who bot S$73.8m flat).

Bang yr balls Oz-based TRE cybernut and funder “Oxygen”. Left S’pore a long time ago but still hates S’pore and wishes us ill. But still has CPF account. Used to evade Oz tax, it’s alleged by Secret Squirrel.

But of course short term we suffer: “Only cold spell coming, but not Winter,” says Heng. 

Vote wisely. Remember: IMF affirms support for PAP policies.

 

 

IMF affirms support for PAP policies

In Economy on 17/07/2019 at 4:54 am

True, its lowered its guess-estimate for this yr’s growth to 2% from 2.3% (made in May), but eat yr heart out Mad Dog, Lim Tean and other nutty anti-PAP types.

It said “investment is expected to pick up on digitalisation” and as businesses adopt new technologies.  “Over the medium term, growth should stabilize around 2.5 per cent, increasingly driven by modern services alongside other trade-related sectors.”

Vote wisely.

Reminder: How bad things are

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis,  GDP contracted by 3.4%, way below the median forecast of 0.1% in a Reuters poll. This was a reversal from the 3.8% growth in the previous quarter and marked the worst quarter-on-quarter performance since the third quarter of 2012. The economy also registered its lowest growth in a decade, expanding just 0.1% on year in the second quarter, missing a forecast rise of 1.1%.

“Only cold spell coming, but not Winter,” says Heng

Ang moh who bot S$73.8m flat

In Economy, EDB, Property on 16/07/2019 at 6:32 am

“In order to fix [something], you need a passionate anger about something that doesn’t work well,” James Dyson once said. He’s the man who bot a S$73.8m flat (Why S$73.8m flat is a steal). He is British and he manufactures and sells consumer products (hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and air filters) that are modern looking, well-engineered products. They are also very expensive, even if they are manufactured in the region and China, and not the UK.

Dyson, his private company, already has facilities here (and employs more people than in China — see Ang moh manufacturer employs more people here than in China and planning to employ a lot more) is to build the first of its electric cars in Singapore, choosing the country over the UK and China.

Dyson is planning to break into the automotive industry with a series of electric vehicles, using its existing knowledge in batteries and electric motors to give it the edge over established manufacturers.

What ST & CNA not saying abt Dyson’s move of HQ to S’pore

“The appeal of Singapore is zero tax”: How EDB got Dyson to come here

Electric cars will be made here?

“Only cold spell coming, but not Winter,” says Heng

In Economy, Media, Political economy on 15/07/2019 at 5:04 am

I know economists are forecasting a recession (How bad things are described at the footnote*) but was surprised the constructive, nation-building ST Super-lite reported this fact in the following manner:

The Government is “not expecting a full-year recession at this point”, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday (July 12), but economists are warning that there is a high likelihood of a technical recession ahead.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/slowing-economy-q2-what-it-means-jobs-general-election-and-long-term-growth

Showing that it no ak Heng (Heng trying to make distinction between “a full year recession” and “technical recession”, using economists to show its disrespect isit? Or is ST Super-lite juz clueless?

Waz more the economists were given a lot of pixel space to comment:

WHAT ANALYSTS SAY

Economists said that Singapore’s economic prospects have clearly deteriorated due to downside risks such as the trade war, as well as the slowdown in China and global growth, and the worsening tech cycle downturn.

Nearly all analysts interviewed by TODAY said chances are high that there could be a technical recession, which is defined by two consecutive quarter-on-quarter declines.

Referring to the latest result as “a near stall”, OCBC bank’s head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling noted that the first half of this year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) year-on-year growth was at a “paltry” 0.6 per cent, the weakest first half growth since 2009.

It “clearly heightens the risk of a technical recession if growth momentum remains tepid going into the third quarter,” she said.

Mr Joseph Incalcaterra, HSBC Global Research’s chief economist for the Association of South-east Asian Nations, said that the weakness in Singapore’s GDP is “a harbinger of further growth deterioration across the region”.

He added: “What surprised us is how broad-based the deterioration was in Singapore, suggesting that unlike other neighbouring economies, domestic-facing sectors are not strong enough to offset external headwinds.”

Dr Chua and Ms Lee from Maybank Kim Eng, who had previously forecasted a “shallow” technical recession, have downgraded their outlook to a deeper one.

Retrenchments in manufacturing and trade-related sectors are likely to worsen as firms cut back on hiring amid rising uncertainties, they said.

Mr Alvin Liew, an analyst from United Overseas Bank, said that the official forecast could be downgraded to a range of 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent in August, highlighting the possibility that the Government’s 0.1 per cent year-on-year flash estimate for the second quarter could be revised into negative territory as well.

MTI’s forecast had put GDP growth at between 1.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent for the whole of 2019.

Remember that S’pore is seen as one of the barometers for global demand given its export-orientated economy: S’pore: the canary in the coalmine

Related posts: PAP: tropical White Walkers?

Winter’s here, and it’s an Antarctic winter

Winter is here, how big will the anti-PAP vote be?

Expect MAS to “manipulate” S$ lower

Even MSM tells us “Ground is not sweet economically”

Ground is not sweet economically/ Authorities may have to do something but no gd options

—————————————————————————————————

*How bad things are

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis,  GDP contracted by 3.4%, way below the median forecast of 0.1% in a Reuters poll. This was a reversal from the 3.8% growth in the previous quarter and marked the worst quarter-on-quarter performance since the third quarter of 2012. The economy also registered its lowest growth in a decade, expanding just 0.1% on year in the second quarter, missing a forecast rise of 1.1%.

 

Gd news for the PAP

In Economy on 06/07/2019 at 4:58 am

A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore shows nearly half of multinationals in Asia think south-east Asia has become more attractive as a result of the US-China friction.

Cybernuts should remember that S’pore is in SE Asia, and the regional centre for shipping, air transport, finance and commerce.

TRE reader reminds TRE cybernuts of Hard Truth

In Economy on 05/07/2019 at 11:36 am

If there’s a recession or worse, cybernuts suffer the the most barring those like long-term Oz resident Oxygen who still has a CPF account even though he demands “Return my CPF” saying CPF has no money. As a quitter, he can take his money out of CPF, but he doesn’t because it’s alleged he uses his CPF account as a means of cheating the Oz tax authorities, despite getting extensive welfare benefits. (Btw, he also dances on the graves of innocent children, TRE grave dancer doesn’t deny grave dancing, sneering at their parents for trusting the PAP.)

When TRE used this Ground is not sweet economically/ Authorities may have to do something but no gd options, there was this response that the cybernuts will suffer the greatest:

Jman:
June 30, 2019 at 10:48 am (Quote)
This is the price we have to pay for the many nice things we have. We have some of the nicest stuff in the world, strong currency, high asset prices. Which puts our cost structure at the very top. And because of all that, only those Singaporeans who can perform to the top level, push things to the limit constantly, and run nonstop are going to get any decent life in such an environment.

But when the chips are down, we’d be the first to go. And then the weeding will start from the weakest among us and gradually work its way upward. And if it lasts long enough, eventually the top bosses and civil servants and ministers will also get hit. And many Singaporeans who are sour about public service pay will have their day.

But when we get to that day, these sour Singaporeans have to remember that they are at the bottom of the hull of the ship. And when the ship sinks so badly, there will be many Singaporeans who will be far deeper underwater and far worse off than they are today.

 

Weaker Yuen is not gd for us

In China, Currencies, Economy on 02/07/2019 at 4:13 am

Neil Mellor at BNY Mellon, makes the case that so long as a weaker renminbi does not ensue, “there could still be positive implications for markets if no agreement, or an agreement to continue talking, were to trigger another, and possibly more substantial, round of stimulus from Beijing”.

That could well boost regional currencies, including those for Taiwan, South Korea, S’pore and the Philippines. A broader rally would bolster commodities, the Australian dollar and eurozone equities.

Even MSM tells us “Ground is not sweet economically”

In Economy, Uncategorized on 29/06/2019 at 11:20 am

When I published this, Ground is not sweet economically/ Authorities may have to do something but no gd options, I had not gotten round to scanning the latest headlines of our constructive, nation building media.

These were the headlines I had missed

Singapore’s 2019 economic growth likely to be weaker but global economy ‘not headed for a crash’, says MAS chief

MTI and MAS reviewing growth forecast, which was just slashed in May

And

As Singapore relooks 2019 projections, economists warn of possible technical recession

Nice to know that even economists are thinking like me: White Walkers expected at Changi In’l soon.

 

Ground is not sweet economically/ Authorities may have to do something but no gd options

In Economy, Political economy, Public Administration on 28/06/2019 at 9:12 am

Winter is here and the White Walkers are expected to land at Changi Int’l or the port any time soon.

S’pore’s recent gloomy economic data

— Electronics exports, a major driver of Singapore’s growth over the past two years, saw their biggest decline in more than a decade, hit by a global downturn in the semiconductor industry, data showed last week.

— Overall exports in May declined the most in more than three years as shipments to China slumped.

— The number of retrenchments rose 40% in the first quarter of 2019 from a year ago, driven by cuts in the manufacturing sector, according to official data released this month.

The authorities have to act if there’s going to be a GE this yr. Problem is that there are no good options.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore closely tracks data and there is a growing chance it may ease its currency-focused monetary policy for the first time in nearly three years.

Some say the central bank could even ease outside of its bi-annual meeting schedule as it did in January 2015 when it sought to counter deflationary pressures amid slowing growth.

But a more accommodative stance won’t be enough to reinvigorate the economy, said CIMB Private Banking economist, Mr Song Seng Wun, as a weaker Singapore dollar will not necessarily push up exports.

“Singapore businesses won’t suddenly become so competitive that we are going to be selling a lot more of our goods and services,” he said.

The finance ministry also has limited space to help given already-low tax rates, along with numerous incentives and cost offsets and an expansionary budget this year.

Further stimulus could come in the form of tax cuts and more rebates but factory operators aren’t waiting for the government to come to their rescue.

Reuters

Reuters also reported Mr Sam Chee Wah, general manager at Feinmetall Singapore, whose products are used for testing semiconductor wafers, as saying

[H]e’s been bracing for a tech slowdown since last year – holding back hiring and major capital investments. He’s now considering offering discounts or delayed payment terms to customers.

With US-China hostilities showing no signs of abating, Singapore will have to weather the storm for some time to come.

We are not out of the woods yet,” said Ms Sian Fenner, lead economist at Oxford Economics. “We haven’t seen the worst.”:

— Winter is here, how big will the anti-PAP vote be?

— S’pore: the canary in the coalmine/ Is the ground sweet for the PAP?

How 4G leaders going to get 65% of the popular vote( the pass mark for bragging rights that they have the people’s mandate)?

Remember

— Another reason why ground is not sweet for the PAP.

And there’s the promised 2 percentage points GST rise coming possibly, when the economy’s in a recession. This when the PAP govt has huge budget surpluses.

Next week, will forecast what the PAP govt will do.

 

 

S’pore: the canary in the coalmine/ Is the ground sweet for the PAP?

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 19/06/2019 at 5:15 am

In Europe once upon a time, every team of coal miners going underground carried a caged canary. If the canary died, they got out ASAP because it meant that there there were poisonous gases that could kill them.

S’pore is the world’s canary when it comes to trade. We suffer earlier than other countries or cities when there’s a global trade slowdown.

As the FT reports,

A trade canary sings — Singapore’s non-oil exports recorded their third consecutive double-digit fall in May, with electronics shipments falling 31.4 per cent (the largest decrease since late 2008) after a 16.3 per cent drop in April.

Marc Ostwald at ADM says the slide in electronics exports sends a “dire signal” as it represents “a generally very reliable proxy for the semiconductor and telecoms sectors worldwide”.

Oxford Economics note that their “coincident and leading global trade indicators are continuing to trend downwards, and the latter has fallen to its lowest level since 2009”.

“While this does not mean that a global recession is around the corner, it suggests that global growth will remain sluggish in the near term and that export-orientated economies will continue to struggle.”

Heng has to do better than talking about cock about natural aristocrats (PAP ministers) partnering us plebs to make S’pore a better place. His 4G team needs 65% of the popular vote: the pass mark for bragging rights that they have the people’s mandate.

What are the headwinds other than a lousy economy going into a GE

— Another reason why ground is not sweet for the PAP.

And there’s the promised 2 percentage points GST rise .coming possibly, when the economy’s in a recession. This when the PAP govt has huge budget surpluses.

But the PAP has a good vote bank because Why S’poreans continue voting for the PAP to have 2/3 of parly seats;  PAP genius at work and Why grumbling about PAP govt, doesn’t mean S’poreans are disaffected and rooting for change.

Where the PAP votes are coming from

 

CPF interest rates: PAP govt cares for u, they really do

In CPF, Economy, Financial competency, Financial planning, Public Administration on 18/06/2019 at 11:02 am

The US 10-year real yield — a barometer of future growth expectations for the economy — has dropped below 0.4 per cent, eyeing its September 2017 nadir of 0.25 per cent.

FT a few days ago

CPFers get a better deal from the PAP govt.

Our inflation rate is about 1.37%.

But

Savings in the Special Account earn a guaranteed 4% while savings in the Ordinary Account only earn a guaranteed 2.5%. The lower interest rate offered by OA is due to its wider usage. For instance, funds in OA are allowed to be utilised to fund child’s tertiary education as well as CPF member’s property purchase. Such uses of the CPF funds are not applicable to the Special Account and a higher interest rate is therefore provided to compensate for its restricted use.

How to Optimise Singapore CPF: Ordinary Account into Special Account

2.5 – 1.37 = 1.13. 1.13 is the real return assuming that the CPF interest rate is only 2.5%. and we know it’s higher, don’t we?

And taz not all. Read, the bits I bolded

The interest rate on Ordinary Account (OA) monies is reviewed quarterly. OA monies earn either the legislated minimum interest of 2.5% per annum, or the 3-month average of major local banks’ interest rates, whichever is higher.

The OA interest rate will be maintained at 2.5% per annum from 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019, as the computed rate of 0.60% is lower than the legislated minimum interest rate.

And​

The interest rate on Special and MediSave Account (SMA) monies is reviewed quarterly. SMA monies earn either the current floor interest rate of 4% per annum or the 12-month average yield of 10-year Singapore Government Securities (10YSGS) plus 1%, whichever is higher. In view of the continuing low interest rate environment, the Government has decided to further extend the 4% floor rate for interest earned on all SMA monies for another year until 31 December 2019.

Consequently, the SMA interest rate will be maintained at 4% per annum from 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019, as the computed rate of 3.37% is lower than the current floor interest rate of 4% per annum.

And

The interest rate on Retirement Account (RA) monies is reviewed annually. RA monies credited each year will be invested in newly-issued Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) which will earn a fixed coupon rate equal to either the 12-month average yield of the 10YSGS plus 1% computed for the year, or the current floor rate of 4% per annum, whichever is higher. The interest rate earned by RA monies is the weighted average interest rate of the entire portfolio of these SSGS, which is adjusted in January each year to take into account the coupon rates payable by the new SSGS issuance. In view of the continuing low interest rate environment, the Government has decided to further extend the 4% floor rate for interest earned on the RA for another year until 31 December 2019.

The average yield of the 10YSGS plus 1% from November 2017 to October 2018 is 3.38% per annum. As this is below the current floor rate of 4% per annum, new SSGS issued in the year of 2019 will pay a fixed coupon of 4%.

Consequently, the RA interest rate from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019 will be maintained at 4% per annum.

Above from CPF website

Vote wisely.

Related posts (Even an anti-PAP TOC writer appreciates that the PAP govt cares):

CPFLife: PAP govt cares for u, really they do

TOC’s “Correspondent” shows that PAP govt really cares for S’poreans

Vaping: PAP govt cares for u, really they do

Merdeka Generation: PAP cares for u, really they do

Groceries: PAP cares for u, really they do

Winter’s here, and it’s an Antarctic winter

In Economy on 14/06/2019 at 6:43 am

Further to Winter is here, how big will the anti-PAP vote be?, we now know the winter is really bad.

Retrenchments rose in the first quarter of the year, driven by losses in the manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (Jun 13).

According to MOM, retrenchments increased from 2,510 in the previous quarter to 3,230 in the first three months of 2019.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/labour-market-held-up-in-q1-2019-retrenchments-up-mom-11622978

Stay tuned for my analysis on what the PAP govt will do to make sure that the 4G team will get 65% of the popular vote: the pass mark for bragging rights that they have the people’s mandate.

Winter is here, how big will the anti-PAP vote be?

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 13/06/2019 at 11:19 am

Economists again lowered their guesstimates  for S’pore’s expected growth in 2019 after the year’s first quarter saw its slowest growth in nearly a decade, the latest economic survey from the central bank said on Wednesday. The economists guess this year’s GDP to be 2.1%, down from the previous forecast of 2.5 per cent.

This follows the S’pore’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – which measures manufacturing activity and sentiment – declined 0.4 point from the previous month to 49.9 in May, said the S’pore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) on Monday (Jun 3). This is the first contraction in 32 months or since 2016.(Fyi, a PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion, while one below the benchmark line points to contraction.)

Worse according to a report released by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and financial forecasting firm Oxford Economics released around the same time as the PMI data

Export-dependent Singapore is expected to be hurt the most among major South-east Asian economies, as fears of more trade tariffs between the United States and China set in.

Singapore’s economy is projected to slide from the 3.1 per cent growth last year to 1.9 per cent this year, before recovering slightly to 2.2 per cent in 2020.

Singapore’s projected performance this year falls below the 4.8 per cent growth forecast for the year across the region.

Why Milliennals will vote for the PAP

 

 

 

More jobs for FTs?

In Economy on 01/06/2019 at 1:53 pm

Masayoshi Son-led Vision Fund is reportedly in talks to open a China office and expand its Singapore team, according to Deal Street Asia.

A call centre on the outskirts of Florence opened earlier has 150 people answering calls from customers in 26 countries who want to buy, return or chat about Gucci. By 2020, Gucci plans to open similar call centres in New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore.

No elections this year?

In Economy, Political governance on 18/05/2019 at 11:36 am

How to hold a general election this yr when the ground is not sweet for PAP to get 65% of the vote ( Why PAP aiming for 65% of the popular vote)? The economy is going to the dogs.

Non-oil exports continue slide in April with export performance missed expectations, posting a steep drop in April as regional trade tensions continued to weigh on the island nation’s economy.  Non-oil domestic exports fell 10% year on year, below a Reuters poll forecasting a 6%.

The fall was the second consecutive drop after March’s disappointing data, which showed an 11.8 per cent year-on-year drop, marking the worst export performance since October 2016.

No wonder Kee Chiu said

Singaporeans must gird themselves for the long haul.

Related posts:

Double confirm, ground not sweet for PAP

Another reason why ground is not sweet for the PAP

But doesn’t mean PAP will lose election as predicted by TOC and TRE cybernuts

Why 37,000+ sure to vote for PAP (But balanced off by above 34,000+ retail investors in Hyflux who could lose 90% of their investments)

Why S’poreans continue voting for the PAP to have 2/3 of parly seats

6,400 senior citizens each get $312.50 hongpao from a TLC

 

When China and US row

In China, Economy on 13/05/2019 at 4:18 am

This is what happens to the world.

 

 

(Artist Walker Wright created the skeleton from driftwood while the vomit was made from washed-up plastic.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-48193779?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment_and_arts&link_location=live-reporting-story)

Meanwhile

 

 

 

 

We can use 100% green energy by 2035 but won’t

In Economy, Energy on 08/05/2019 at 10:27 am

In the US more than 100 cities have recently pledged to run on 100% renewable energy, signing onto the Sierra Club’s “Ready For 100” campaign.

One of the cities is Atlanta, a place that uses lots of air conditioning

So, how exactly will the folks in Atlanta increase the city’s green energy supply from 8% to 100% by 2035? They’re going to start by trying to use less energy.

“There’s an awful lot of low-hanging fruit left,” said Matt Cox, CEO of the Greenlink Group, who helped craft Atlanta’s new plan.

Mr Cox says you start with the basics: insulating old homes and installing energy-efficient lights and better cooling and heating systems.

“We identified an opportunity to reduce the consumption in the city 25% to 30%, just through the energy-efficiency side alone.”

And Mr Cox says studies found there’s another benefit to investing in efficiency: “They were showing an internal rate of return of over 60%. That’s six-zero percent. That kind of a return on an investment is a tremendous opportunity that you don’t see hardly anywhere.

“You look at the stock market, you’re going to be happy to get 7% or 10% out of that.”

But efficiency is just a start. Atlanta’s plan also relies on putting up a lot more solar panels – on homes, commercial buildings and at utility scale solar farms. It banks on things like improved battery storage for solar energy as well as renewable-energy credits from outside the state to offset coal and gas power still coming from the local grid.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48112075

If Atlanta is aspiring to be so green, so should we: https://sbr.com.sg/utilities/more-news/singapore-takes-lead-in-embracing-green-energy-across-asean-report

But I forget that we want to be a major LNG centre and so our power generators are paid to use LNG: http://singaporepowerdesk.com/vesting-contracts-made-singapore-consumers-pay-2-7-billion-sgd-last-4-years/

And screwing Hyflux and its investors:

When Hyflux was first awarded the Tuaspring project in 2011, based on the financial model which modeled the cashflow projections from the project, the power plant was expected to generate profits from day one. This financial model was audited by an external financial model auditor and furnished to the offtaker. In 2013 when Tuaspring was able to secure a non-recourse project financing loan, the lender commissioned an independent market study of the project which arrived at similar conclusions supporting the book value of approximately SGD1.4 billion.

Hyflux fiasco shows why “book value” is BS

But to be fair to the PAP govt:

 Hyflux decided to build its power plant after the LNG vesting contracts were awarded to the other gencos. When Hyflux made this decision, information on the plans by other gencos to increase their generation capacity was publicly available. Hyflux’s present financial situation is a result of its own commercial decisions, with full knowledge of the gas supply situation and electricity generation market. It is incorrect for Mr Leong to claim that Hyflux’s financial problems were caused by “an unexpected domestic policy change”.

https://www.ema.gov.sg/reply_to_forum_letter.aspx?news_sid=20190403hDf4R8s5Rwna

Related post written before EMA set the record straight: Will Oliver Lum and other Hyflux investors still vote for the PAP?

These might interest:

Hyflux: Don’t cry for the investors

Hyflux directors, mgt & auditors kooning from 2016 onwards?

Hyflux on investor losses: “Not our fault, banksters at work”

 

 

 

PAP genius at work

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 26/04/2019 at 11:14 am

The middle classes in developed nations are under pressure from stagnant income growth, rising lifestyle costs and unstable jobs, and this risks fuelling political instability, a new report by the OECD has warned.

FT

As we are a “developed” city state, while S’pore’s middle class has stagnant income growth relative to “affordable” public housing, rising lifestyle costs (think CoEs or public transport fares), and unstable jobs (all those retrenchments and “new age” “sharing economy” jobs), no sign of political instability here despite the attempts of TOC and other cybernut publications, Mad Dog, and Lim Tean.

These articles show why there’s political stability here even though Double confirm, ground not sweet for PAP:

Merdeka Package shows how smart scholars are

Great IB riposte to Mad Dog and P Ravi etc

6,400 senior citizens each get $312.50 hongpao from a TLC

Did u know S’pore graduated to “Flawed democracy”?

Why Milliennals will vote for the PAP

Keeping power in a one-party state

Why ang mohs will vote for the PAP

Why 37,000+ sure to vote for PAP

So what if S’pore is very low on democratic accountability?

 

Redefine “old age” and there’s no longer an aging problem

In Economy, Political economy on 25/04/2019 at 4:36 am

TOC’s Correspondent latest rant on Heng reminded me that Heng implies we need FTs by the cattle truck load, the presumptive PM because because the population is ageing and not reproducing, while we need a 10m  population.

Well recently the FT had a piece headlined

Demographic time-bomb: Finland sends a warning to Europe

Facing a rapidly ageing population, the country’s difficulty in passing reforms highlights the hurdles ahead

But interesting it reports in the article that “experts in Finland say the debate on ageing needs to be rethought”.

An expert

Prof Vaarama says that it is wrong to classify all people aged over 65 as “old”. She argues true old age starts at 80-85. Before that, people could still be working and be consumers in the new so-called “silver economy”. “Society doesn’t yet understand what longevity is. We should look at how we can benefit from this population,” she adds.

Time for the policy thinkers in the SDP and people like Tay Kheng Soon to think more about issue. The PAP won’t change their mind about a Hard Truth.

Why S’poreans migrating to Antipodes or Canada

In Economy, Political economy, S'pore Inc on 11/04/2019 at 10:55 am

Totful, caring or juz KS pushy parents want their children to more easily move up the economic ladder.

This is something that our constructive, nation-building media wouldn’t dare tell u about. Funnily neither does alt media (TRE excepted, if it republishes this piece).

The Great Gatsby curve illustrates the connection between concentration of wealth in one generation and the ability of those in the next generation to move up the economic ladder compared to their parent. Shows that in S’pore very difficult to move up the economic ladder. We are in same boat as UK, USA, France, Italy and Switzerland.

No wonder S’poreans migrate to Australia, NZ and Canada. They hope their children can be more mobile economically.

Equal Opportunity in S’pore? What equal opportunity?

Downside of China-US trade deal for Asia and Europe

In China, Economy on 06/04/2019 at 1:40 pm

Citi says that should Chinese import capacity not increase and China imports up to an additional US$200bn worth of US goods — “the economies more exposed to China would be the most vulnerable to any adjustment in trade flows”.

Asian economies would be the most exposed if trade flows are adjusted from a proportional market share perspective, while European economies face similar losses across all scenarios.

M’sia getting “peanuts”; S’pore getting billions

In Casinos, Economy, Malaysia, Tourism on 05/04/2019 at 4:25 am

In M’sian casino operator kanna do NS by Tun?, I speculated that Genting M’sia was forced to buy a yacht by the M’sian govt for US$126m when others were bidding much lower prices.

Here’s the real reason why: Genting will spend S$4.5bn to improve the facilities on Sentosa and pay more tax here, all this when Tun is trying to bully and intimidate us. So maybe Genting was paying US$126m to keep him from getting upset that a M’sian company was going to spend billions here and not in M’sia?

How theS$4.5bn will be spent:

The new attractions of Super Nintendo World and Minion Park, spanning over 164,000 sqm, will be gradually rolled out at the Universal Studios Singapore every year from 2020 and completed around 2025.

Minion Park, inspired by the Despicable Me movie franchise, will take over the Madagascar zone, now designated for rides and shows tied to the animated movie of the same name. Both Minion Park and Super Nintendo World, based on Nintendo’s popular games and characters, will feature new rides and attractions.

The SEA Aquarium will also be expanded to take over the Maritime Experiential Museum, to create a new Singapore Oceanarium.

Apart from these, RWS’ waterfront promenade will be redeveloped to include a free public attraction featuring a nightly show and multi-purpose event zone that can be adapted for different festivals and events, as well as new dining options.

RWS will also introduce a driverless transport system across the Sentosa Boardwalk, which links to VivoCity mall in Harbourfront.

As for the increased taxes

a tiered structure for casino taxes will be introduced after the current moratorium ends in February 2022. Currently, there is a flat tax rate of 5 per cent for Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) made through premium gaming and 15 per cent for GGR made through mass gaming.

Premium gaming refers to the GGR made through players who open a deposit account with a credit balance of no less than S$100,000. Mass gaming covers players who fall outside of this category.

With the change, the first S$2.4 billion of GGR from premium gaming will be taxed at 8 per cent, while GGR which exceeds S$2.4 billion will be taxed at 12 per cent.

For mass gaming, the first $3.1 billion of GGR will be taxed at 18 per cent while GGR which exceeds $3.1 billion will be taxed at 22 per cent.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/irs-allowed-expand-casinos-exclusivity-rights-extended-end-2030

In the context of all these goodies for S’pore, paying US$126 to M’sia is “peanuts”.

Btw the price of Genting S’pore (owned by controlling shareholder of Genting M’sia) fell: investors and analysts are not happy about the taxes, and capital expenditure that have spent.

Why Kee Chiu not PM material

In Economy on 28/03/2019 at 10:16 am

Because when paper generals run a country, the economy underperforms the economies of neighbouring countries (Remember that Thai generals have no experience of combat operations, only coups, making money and politics. They can’t even “fix” elections.).

So S’poreans are really smart in not wanting Kee Chiu as PM? Already got experience of one paper general? After all PM was once known as BG Lee and was head of SAF.

And there’s the examples of paper generals at SMRT, NOL and SPH.

Heng will make S’pore great again.

Related posts:

generals, not private sector CEOs make it to PAP cabinet

“Freak election” training manual for SAF’s paper generals? And us 40% S’poreans too?

Paper generals: Don’t forget social media

 

Crying all the way to the bank by annoying the PAP

In Economy on 26/03/2019 at 12:48 pm
Fong Hoe Fang, who worked with and is a pal of Teo Soh Lung and Vincent Cheng. (Remember them?) recently struck Toto recently (OK, OK, he didn’t but it felt like he did)
[O]ne of its latest published non-fiction work is its best-ever-seller: This Is What Inequality Looks Like by sociologist Teo You Yenn.

They’ve already sold upwards of 24,000 copies, and are still going into more re-runs of the book. Public demand for it has not waned despite Teo’s arguments having been rebutted robustly at least twice by the establishment: once by Senior Minister of State Maliki Osman and another by veteran social worker Sudha Nair.

Another brave publisher from RI and ST: Quiet activist looking at his bank statement and smiling

Another reason why ground is not sweet for the PAP

In Economy on 25/03/2019 at 10:43 am

PMETs are the S’poreans most affected by retrenchments, and hence by FT influx.

According to the labour market report released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently, PMETs accounted for 79.3% of retrenched residents in 4Q18. Overall, 2510 people were retrenched in the 4th Quarter. So 1990 of those retrenched were PMETs. (Aside no wonder young professionals are joining the SDP: SDP can learn from Thai Oppo parties)

This is a year-on-year increase of about 30% from the 2017 number and is also the highest level since such data was first published by MOM in 2006.

Educated get retrenched, WTF! 58% had degrees while 20% held diplomas. A substantial portion of individuals who were retrenched were those aged between 40 and 49 (34%) and over 50 (33.6%).

According to people interviewed by the constructive, nation-building ST, PMETs are becoming vulnerable and more steps need to be taken to reduce the risk of them being displaced. I’m surprised ST was allowed to say this.

The link between retrenchments and FTs by the A380 cattle class: a DBS analyst suggested that firms should raise the minimum qualifying salary for Employment Pass holders and increasing the length of time firms must advertise jobs on the national jobs portal before they can apply to hire a foreign professional.

Vote wisely.

Why the PAP should worry

Double confirm, ground not sweet for PAP

Will Oliver Lum and other Hyflux investors still vote for the PAP?

Hyflux directors, mgt & auditors kooning from 2016 onwards?

I said there

PAP voters get shafted:

Retail perpetual and preference share holders will have their S$900 million in claims swapped for S$27 million in cash and S$69.2 million shares, assuming that the shares are valued at 3.4 cents apiece. That works out to a 10.7 per cent recovery rate on their principal.

And there’s the retail shareholders.

But the cybernuts like bapak should not be raising their hopes of their hero Mad Dog forming a coalition govt of spastics. At the very least, the PAP will get only 60% of the popular vote (a 10 point fall) and retain a two-thirds majority and not win back Aljunied. No GRC will fall even to Team TCB.

The reasons:

Why 37,000+ sure to vote for PAP (But balanced off by above 34,000+ retail investors in Hyflux who could lose 90% of their investments)

Why S’poreans continue voting for the PAP to have 2/3 of parly seats

6,400 senior citizens each get $312.50 hongpao from a TLC

Why Milliennals will vote for the PAP

 

 

 

 

Why are over-40 S’poreans like Hollywood stars?

In Economy, Political economy on 17/03/2019 at 7:28 am

They are no longer wanted or employable.

This TRE reader got it right

Over 40s being retrenched are common. The army also tell regulars to GTFO after they turned 40. Just observe those Hollywood stars – over 40 no more leading man or lady.

Sad.

S’pore is parasite

In Economy, S'pore Inc on 15/03/2019 at 1:39 pm

Ong Hai Chuen posted on FB

Why is SINGAPORE the RICHEST country in ASIA? – VisualPolitik EN

Sonny Liew, yes he of The Art of Charlie Chan gave this totful response (Somewhat related post: “Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation” )

This analysis suffers from a common problem of failing to recognise Singapore as essentially a metropolitan area – as evinced by the presenter’s own constant switching from descriptions and comparisons using both the terms “city” and “country”.

The economic writer Joe Studwell in his intro to “How Asia Works: Success and Failure In the World’s Most Dynamic Region ” writes that his book “restricts itself to the developmental challenges facing what I would call ‘proper countries'”.

He goes on to say that he “ignores east Asia’s two main offshore financial centres – Hong Kong and Singapore”, along with the ” “micro oil state of Brunei” and “east Asia’s traditional gambling centre, Macau”, before describing comparisons of development between places like Singapore and Indonesia as a “pointless and deeply misleading debate”, since “Offshore centres are not normal states. Around the world, they compete by specialising in trade and financial services while enjoying lower structural overheads than other countries, which have larger, more dispersed populations, and agricultural sectors that drag on productivity… ”

“Offshore centre’s lower overheads mean that they also have a built-in fiscal advantage. Yet they can never exist in isolation – they are in a strict sense parasitic, because they have to have their host or hosts to feed on.”

It would make more sense to look at Singapore in City or Metropolitan Area terms when evaluating it’s policies and successes – so places like Hartford and San Jose would be in a similar league. These cities have small population sizes and may have comparable types of economies – Hartford’s economy is “strong in finance, especially insurance and benefits and is an important government center, as the capital of Connecticut”, while San Jose “is home to the larger part of the world’s leading technology center, suburban Silicon Valley.”

While good governance is still key to its success, failure to at least view Singapore partly through metropilitan area lenses may end up presenting a muddled picture…

Why Milliennals will vote for the PAP

In Economy on 17/02/2019 at 4:56 am

They S’poreans living here. No need to move to S’pore.

 

Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong among Asia-Pacific’s top cities for millennials to move to

  • Lion City tops ranking, with Hong Kong in at third, helped by its strong economy

https://beta.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/2186373/singapore-hong-kong-and-tokyo-among-asia-pacifics-top-cities?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR2MsiYq1HufJb9GcT-F-ZIwnAGyCKeCS7So-6Wb49WPsUu2ili3O1k6ZZc#Echobox=1550289279

Vote wisely. As though it’ll make a difference. With Mad Dog, Lim Tean and Meng Seng opposing them, the PAP don’t need friends. Sad.

Jialat for economy, PAP/ Voters will get back more of their money

In China, Economy on 12/02/2019 at 11:16 am

China’s lunar new year spending growth slowest since 2005
Consumption ebbs as weakening economy hits sentiment and fuels worries over retail sales

Headline of FT article today

China’s economic growth could slow to the weakest level on record (since records began in the early1990s)in the first quarter, reported the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper run by China’s official Xinhua news agency (China’s ST):

It is not difficult to determine that this year our country’s economy will continue to bear pressure, with a conservative estimate for full-year cumulative growth of about 6.3 per cent and the possibility that growth for the present quarter could reach 6 per cent.

Not gd for S’pore and region: “Asean’s potential”: What a load of BS

More goodies using our own money on the way because 4G leaders need big mandate: Why PAP aiming for 65% of the popular vote.

If economy cannot generate higher wages, and property prices (Double confirm, ground not sweet for PAP), only way is Budget bribes goodies using our own money.

Remember you read this first here: “No GST rise until 2015”. Related post: How PAP can win 65% plus of the vote

Why S’pore’s economic progress went downhill after Dr Goh’s retired

In Economy, Political economy, S'pore Inc on 08/02/2019 at 10:54 am

Remember Goh Cock Chok Tong’s tots about building 5G leaders? This cock talk had me laughing because he (and his DPM, one Lee Hsien Loong) cocked up Dr Goh’s economic framework that took a lot from the Germans:

The Germans have a name for their unique economic framework: ordoliberalism. Its origins are perfectly legitimate – a response of Germany’s liberal elites to the breakdown of liberal democracy in 1933. It was born out of the observation that unfettered liberal systems are inherently unstable, and require rules and government intervention to sustain themselves. The job of the government was not to correct market failures but to set and enforce rules.

[…]

The ordoliberal world view is asymmetric. Current account surpluses are considered more acceptable than deficits. Since the rules are based on national law, ordoliberals do not care about their impact on the rest of the world. When they adopted the euro, the rest of the world suddenly did start to matter.

FT

As a very junior officer in the central bank, it was clear to me that Dr Goh tot

The job of the government was not to correct market failures but to set and enforce rules.

Cock Goh and Lee Jnr aided and abetted by people like Tharman (ang moh tua kees’ think the sun shines from his black ass) moved to a pseudo market economy where

Current account surpluses are considered more acceptable than deficits.

And where GLCs dominated the economy, sometimes wayanging against one another (think telcos).

To be fair, I think they were, and are, not cynically conning S’poreans. They really believed in their version of the mkt economy.

Coming back to Dr Goh, Dr Goh was really ordoliberal not socialist nor free market liberal. That was how he made S’pore great. The 2G, 3G and 4G leaders remain clueless on what made S’pore great.

[The folowing was added af 1.35pm]

As I wrote in

For all their academic brilliance Ah Loong and team have not advanced beyond tinkering with the framework that Dr Goh Keng Swee, Hon Swee Sen and Albert Winsemius devised. Evolution is fine to a point. But surely the world has undergone revolutionary change. When they were constructing their model of serving MNCs as a path to grow the economy, serving MNCs was “neo-colonialism”. Today even Red China serves as as the MNCs’ factory.

Problem S’pore, PAP face

Related posts

Dr Goh’s HK counterpart had similar views on MRT and other major issues

Why S’pore industrialised in the 60s

SG50: Three cheers for Goh Keng Swee

 

PAP forgot S’pore’s history, missing economic opportunities

In Economy, S'pore Inc, Vietnam on 06/02/2019 at 11:02 am

Germany is the world’s second-biggest coffee exporter, even though it doesn’t grow coffee commercially. Huh? Fake news?

Vietnam grows more robusta than any other country, but exports most of this as raw, unbranded coffee beans to markets such as Germany for processing, branding and marking up for sale to end users.

FT

This set me thinking.

A hundred years ago, S’pore was a major exporter of processed rubber despite not having that many rubber trees. The rubber came from Malaya, the world’s largest producer. Of course, the Malayans (M’sians today) after independence in 1957, decided to process more of the raw rubber there, so we lost an industry. The same was also true of tin (Pulau Brani, now part of Sentosa, processed imported tin ore).

Where was the PAP govt and its vaunted EDB when Vietnam started exporting coffee beans in industrial quantities circa the 80s? They should have been encouraging global coffee brands to set up here to process, brand and mark up for sale to end users. I mean it must be cheaper to ship the beans to S’pore, than to Hamburg or Rotterdam? And German labour is a lot more expensive. Here got FTs meh.

Instead raw Viet Kong beans end up Germany.

For the record, the Viet Kong are trying to capture more of coffee’s value in Vietnam. Power to them. But until then, the German coffee manufacturers are laughing all the way to their banks.

Someone here blundered

All this PAP talk about our history, is juz talk: BS.

“The appeal of Singapore is zero tax”

In Economy, EDB on 24/01/2019 at 6:50 am

The above is the headline of a side article from the FT on Dyson’s move to shift its HQ here, though the main reason for the move seems to be to

liberate the business from UK disclosure rules for privately-owned companies, which Sir James has previously criticised as giving too much away to foreign competitors.

Main FT article

The text of “The appeal of Singapore is zero tax” reads

One of Singapore’s strongest appeals for foreign companies is the potential to lower their tax rate to zero per cent.

The headline rate of corporate tax is 17 per cent, a level that the UK will match from 2020, down from 19 per cent at present.

However, a combination of incentive schemes, which include an international headquarters award, can bring the country’s rate down to nothing.

“It is very very rare, but it has happened in the past,” said Chris Woo, tax leader at PwC Singapore.

Another corporate tax expert said it was “not impossible” for Dyson to snatch the 0 per cent corporate tax rate given it produces high-end goods that would transfer technology to Singapore; it will probably increase capital expenditure and high-skilled headcount; and it would boost R&D activity in the country — all of which is of interest to Singapore.

Dyson on Tuesday said it would expand its Singapore Technology Centre and that “an increasing proportion” of Dyson’s executive team will be based in the south-east Asian nation given a growing majority of the company’s customers and manufacturing operations are based in Asia.

In addition, the Singapore Economic Development Board offers companies tax exemptions or concessionary tax rates of 5 or 10 per cent for up to five years, with the possibility of extension.

To qualify, companies must boost employment, generate investment that spills over to the local economy and commit to developing technology, knowhow and skills in the city state, according to the EDB.

“The EDB must have pulled out all the stops to convince Dyson to relocate its headquarters,” said Eugene Tan, law professor at Singapore Management University.

Kiren Kumar, assistant managing director at the EDB, said: “Singapore and Dyson have enjoyed a strong partnership for more than ten years.

“Dyson has grown from a small team developing motors to 1,100 employees undertaking a variety of functions including supply chain management, advanced manufacturing and R&D”.

Stefania Palma

Related posts: What ST & CNA not saying abt Dyson’s move of HQ to S’pore and Ang moh manufacturer employs more people here than in China and planning to employ a lot more.

 

What ST & CNA not saying abt Dyson’s move of HQ to S’pore

In Economy, Media on 23/01/2019 at 7:31 am

There’s a lot of news in the constructive, nation-building CNA and ST about Dyson moving its HQ here from Malmesbury in Wiltshire.

Big catch for S’pore?

Only two employees, Dyson’s chief financial officer and its chief legal officer, will move to Singapore, according to the FT and the BBC. Not that S’pore is not important to Dyson and vice versa.

Dyson has facilities (R&D and manufacturing) here and in October announced plans to build its new electric car in its new factory there: Ang moh manufacturer employs more people here than in China and planning to employ a lot more.

Dyson Ltd is a British technology company that designs and manufactures household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, hand dryers, bladeless fans, heaters and hair dryers. Most of its products are designed in the UK, but manufactured in Asia.

Vote wisely.

Don’t be taken in by BS and fake news both from the constructive, nation-building, “PAP knows best” MSM, and Terry’s Indian Goons, the Indians Idiots and other anti-PAP alt media publications.

The truth is out there, and is usually easily found by splitting the difference.

 

 

 

 

Why our millionaire ministers don’t deserve their salaries

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 09/01/2019 at 10:00 am

S’pore’s trade-reliant economy will see a slowdown in the next 12 months, according to a survey of economists by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. All 23 respondents cited intensifying trade friction as a risk to growth.

Economists … project that gross domestic product (GDP) growth could ease to 2.6% from an estimated 3.3% for 2018.

https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/singapore-economy-five-things-watch-2019-014107270.html

Look at where that will place us in the 2019 sweep stakes: around where the better developed countries will be.

For that we pay the best global rates for ministers? Even the constructive, nation-building media don’t deny that S’pore’s ministers top the global league for ministers but say they deserve their salaries.

Really?

They would say that, wouldn’t they?

“Asean’s potential”: What a load of BS

In China, Economy on 08/01/2019 at 4:26 am

Our constructive, nation-building media says we got Asean to cushion us from China’s slow down.

Excuse me, China is Asean’s biggest export market. If China coughs, Asean gets a cold. If China slows down, Asean is down with the flu. If China really, really slows down to say 5%, Asean catches pneumonia.

Asean’s potential

Economists say Singapore needs to pivot more to Asean.

As a regional hub, the city-state can benefit from investors diversifying into Asean, but these gains will not manifest so soon.

CPTPP will come into effect on Dec 30 this year.

Mr Seah said there is too much focus on China in previous years.

Data from the Department of Statistics showed that the share of Singapore’s Nodx to China has increased from 1.1 per cent in 1990 to 18.2 per cent in 2017.

The share of Nodx to Singapore’s top three Asean trading partners — Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand — is comparable to China, but has shrunk from 20.3 per cent in 2003 to 17.5 per cent in 2017.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/look-ahead-2019-economy-headwinds-abound-economists-say-silver-lining-lies-asean

For the record: S’pore’s trade-reliant economy will see a slowdown in the next 12 months, according to a survey of economists by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. All 23 respondents cited intensifying trade friction as a risk to growth.

Economists … project that gross domestic product (GDP) growth could ease to 2.6% from an estimated 3.3% for 2018.

https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/singapore-economy-five-things-watch-2019-014107270.html

 

Ang moh’s great insight on property mkt

In Economy, Property on 04/01/2019 at 10:12 am

Absolutely right

[The] government is quick to intervene and manipulate the market when prices start to climb.

(Related post: Akan datang: GE in late 2019)

What Sarah Vaulkhard, adviser on the overseas desk at Property Vision wrote for FT

Singapore’s real estate market was pretty buoyant in the first half of 2018, with levels of transactions up, backed by high demand and good economic growth. However, as always, the government is quick to intervene and manipulate the market when prices start to climb, and in July it increased the additional buyers’ stamp duty and tightened the loan-to-value ratio.

Singapore will also feel the effects of the trade war between China and the US, as its economy relies heavily on the health of global trade. Interest rates are also likely to go up due to the fall in the Singapore dollar against the US dollar. For 2018, I warned of high levels of supply and this continues to be a real concern. The bounceback in Singapore’s real estate was short-lived and is likely to remain pretty stagnant into 2019.

Second para more accurate than the the headline and accompanying piece in constructive, nation-building CNA (Sometimes ang moh deserve to be tua kee)

Don’t expect Singapore’s private home prices to match growth of 2018: Experts

 

Economy: No cheer from UOB

In Economy on 27/12/2018 at 7:04 am

But for the record it was too pessimistic about December’s and this yr’s overall manufacturing growth (see highlighted bit)

UOB said the 90-day truce between the US and China “may have given manufacturing (especially electronics production here) a new lease of life, albeit temporarily”.

It also warned that if the current increase is mainly due to the frontloading of imports before the potentially higher tariffs kick in after Mar 1, then the resulting payback in 2019 is “likely to be magnified and translating to a weaker manufacturing growth next year”.

UOB had earlier forecast a full-year manufacturing growth of 7.7 per cent for 2018, up from the previous 7 per cent, implying a December industrial production (IP) growth forecast of 2.6 per cent year-on-year. However, it maintained a GDP growth forecast of 3.4 per cent, which implies a Q4 growth forecast of 2.6 per cent year-on-year.

“But the uptick in Oct/Nov manufacturing may add further upside to that forecast,” it said.

However, UOB added that it still expects IP to moderate next year, projecting a 2.5 per cent growth in 2019, down from the previous 3 per cent.

“We also continue to be cautious about Singapore’s manufacturing sector due to the high base effect and the global electronics slowdown which could eventually take a more material toll on the electronics cluster,” it said. “Another main negative factor is the rocky global trade developments (i.e. US and China) with potential negative spill-overs to manufacturers here, both in terms of slowdown in export orders and business sentiments. Weaker China growth in 2019 will also pose a drag on Singapore’s goods and services demand.

“That said, some of the negative impact to trade may be offset by relocation of production into South East Asia, and that may benefit Singapore’s manufacturers and trade-related services and cushion some of the loss in demand from China, but the potential time lag between relocating production into ASEAN and reaping the relocation benefits will still mean downside growth risk to manufacturing in 2019.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore-manufacturing-output-up-7-6-november-11063514

Deluded Pine Court pigs still dreaming? They related to TRE cybernuts?

In China, Economy, Financial competency, Property on 17/12/2018 at 1:43 pm

Further to PAP whacks greedy pigs even greedier pigs

two en bloc projects are raising their asking prices.

[…]

Pine Grove near Ulu Pandan Road also raised its price in October by S$140 million to S$1.86 billion, in a bid to secure a majority consensus needed to launch a public tender.


Back to 2011

They were gunning for S$2.17bn in 2011 but failed to get anyone to even smell. Analysts said at the time said S$1.3 bn to S$1.4 billion was doable. Details in Even greedier en-blockers

Now only dropping from S$2.17bn to S$1.86 bn.  They think developers more stupid then them is it? They had better realise that Old private flats’ value can also fall off a cliff.

But then they most probably have the same mental defect as TRE cybernuts such as tax dodging Oxygen, pork eating and alcohol drinking Bapak, cheap-skate BS artist Zhenzidan and always and lying rukidding. All cousins leh suffering from the belief that only they are right and everyone else is wrong. One group thinks that S’poreans will get rid of the PAP at the next GE, the other that their properties are worth a lot more than the mkt price. Both have been proven wrong, but persist in their beliefs.


The other deluded, greedy pigs?

Those living in

Mandarin Gardens along Siglap Road, for instance, upped its asking price by close to 12.5 per cent to S$2.79 billion in November, after finding out that the land parcel it sits on was undervalued.

Whatever

Analysts said raising the asking price would likely deter developers, especially for mega sites.

“Very often sellers are only interested in what they’ll be getting – that means the premium they’ll be getting – and omit the other costs developers will acquire for the plot of land,” Huttons’ Mr Lian explained.

“It’s not just the reserve price – it’s also the lease upgrading premiums, the differential premiums, the 5 per cent non-remittable ABSD (Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty) plus the 25 per cent remissible ABSD if they cannot sell all their units within the five-year period.”

Knight Frank’s Dr Lee said that some en bloc sellers may have a “loss aversion” mindset when it comes to selling their properties.

“Some of them may have probably bought them at quite high prices and are generally only willing to sell if prices are above a certain mark,” he added.

“In the case of Pine Grove and Mandarin Gardens, they may find their product is very unique and so they want to push up prices … But it might be a bit difficult because there are other options – many options – available in the market.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/more-than-30-en-bloc-bids-fail-to-find-buyers-cooling-measures-11035028

They also don’t realise that there’s a trade war looming between China and US looming and we’ll suffer

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) growth fell more than expected in November with shipments to most of its major trading partners declining, official data showed on Monday (Dec 17).

Exports fell 2.6 per cent in November year-on-year, data from the trade agency International Enterprise Singapore showed, falling sharply from the revised 8.2 per cent rise the month before.

This was weaker than the 1.2 per cent increase predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, exports contracted 4.2 per cent in November after growing 4.2 per cent in October. The poll predicted a 0.6 per cent expansion from the month before.

Trade to top markets like China, Indonesia and Europe declined. Exports to China fell 16 per cent in November from a year earlier, compared with the previous month’s 25.8 per cent decline.

Electronics exports rose 4.5 per cent in November from the year earlier, recovering from the 3.6 per cent contraction seen in October.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singapore-november-exports-fall-faster-expected

(Related post: PAP needs strong Chinese economic growth)

But then they most probably have the same mental defect as TRE cybernuts such as tax dodging Oxygen, pork eating and alcohol drinking Bapak, cheap-skate BS artist Zhenzidan and always lying rukidding. All cousins leh suffering from the belief that only they are right and everyone else is wrong. One group thinks that S’poreans will get rid of the PAP at the next GE, the other that their properties are worth a lot more than the mkt price. Both have been proven wrong, but persist in their beliefs.


 

PAP needs strong Chinese economic growth

In China, Economy, Indonesia, Malaysia on 07/11/2018 at 10:54 am

Looking at chart, it’s no wonder our finance minister is really worried if Trump paks China really hard. S’pore’s very dependent on Chinese growth because China is an integral part of Asian supply chains.

South Korea, Taiwan, S’pore, M’sia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines have all benefited from the rise of China as a manufacturing power, especially since the global financial crisis.

Singapore assessing 2019 forecasts amidst escalating trade spat: Finance minister

Singapore has already witnessed a slash in business investments amidst the looming trade wars.

Finance minister Heng Swee Keat thinks that Singapore may have to look out on its economic growth projects for 2019 amidst the escalating US-China trade tensions that have pumped up uncertainty for business investments.

“In the short run, the impact is not fully felt yet,” with Singapore retaining its growth forecast for this year at 2.5% to 3.5%, Heng said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “But any trade tension that sets back globalization will affect everyone, including the countries that are directly involved, but also collateral damage right across all economies.”

Heng acknowledged that the Lion City had already witnessed the effects of the trade war through increased uncertainty and reduced investment by businesses, noting that next year’s situation will depend on how the situation will unfold in the next few months.

The ‘global production frontier’ being diminished could allow a prolonged trade war to severely disrupt the global supply chain thereby hitting countries with long-term growth challenges, the minister said.

“Our priority areas remain for economic restructuring,” Heng explained. “The other big area is looking at infrastructure development” with urbanization being a major trend in Asia.

Here’s more from Bloomberg.

 

African example PAP govt will follow?

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 30/10/2018 at 9:47 am

The Tanzanian government is in the process of amending its statistical legislation so that it can impose fines or jail time on anyone who questions the accuracy of official figures.

Not a big step from what Ng Eng Hen did as a newbie cabinet minister (Manpower) many yrs ago when he roughed up some academics who published analysis based on extrapolation (I think) of officially published data on a sensitive issue (FT employment rates vis-a-vis locals). Appparently there was some unpublished data according to Hen that contradicted the extrapolation: they should have asked his ministry whether their analysis was correct.

After the row died down (the academics sucked XXXX), the long-standing head of the stats dept resigned. As a noted economist (then and now) remarked tongue -in-cheek: “Wow, govt admits data published on website is not accurate”.

Whatever, Hen never looked back: his star was on the rise.

Ang moh manufacturer employs more people here than in China and planning to employ a lot more

In Economy, EDB on 29/10/2018 at 1:49 pm

Dyson which already has facilities here (and employs more people than in China — see below) is to build the first of its electric cars in Singapore, choosing the country over the UK and China.

Privately owned by one  Mr Dyson, Dyson is planning to break into the automotive industry with a series of electric vehicles, using its existing knowledge in batteries and electric motors to give it the edge over established manufacturers. It manufactures and sells hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and air filters.

———————————————-

Something that alt media doesn’t tell S’poreans

The PAP govt is attracting advanced manufacturing here and Dyson shows this.

Advanced manufacturing is a priority for Singapore, which deems it a way to raise productivity at a time when the city-state has struggled to maintain high levels of efficiency.

FT

———————————————

The FT reports

Singapore’s incentives include tax breaks for five years, which can be extended, and R&D grants that can cover up to 30 per cent of the cost of projects that involve product, application or process development, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board. They also offer expensive land at discounted rates, says a person with experience of Singapore’s economic planning. “They definitely would have given [Dyson] a favourable tax break,” they add.

Dyson refuses to reveal the scale of its investment, though the EDB’s Kiren Kumar says the company would double its 1,000-strong workforce in the country through the investment.

For Dyson, which says its Singapore investment was premised on market access rather than incentives, no amount of government support can remove the need to pour its own resources into the venture.

S’pore, Asean in trouble if Renminbi collapses below 7 to US$

In China, Currencies, Economy, Emerging markets on 27/10/2018 at 1:29 pm

Further to Trump’s US$ trumps Xi’s Renminbi

if the renminbi breaks thru  7 to the US$, this has

broader repercussions for other emerging market countries, already under pressure. This includes the likes of Indonesia, India and the Philippines. India’s rupee has slumped some 15 per cent to a record low versus the dollar this year. Other China-linked exporters such as Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia would also see their currencies come under pressure. Then there’s the Australian dollar, seen as a more liquid proxy to play China and its economic outlook along with copper and other industrial metals — today the Aussie dropped to a new two-year low just above $0.70.

FT’s Market Forces

Akan datang: Drones to supply ships in harbour

In Economy, Shipping on 25/10/2018 at 5:08 pm

Next month, in Singapore, a drone made by Airbus, a European aerospace group, will begin ferrying supplies and spare parts to ships moored offshore. Airbus is working on the project with Wilhelmsen, a marine-services company. Wilhelmsen reckons that using drones will reduce delivery costs to vessels by up to 90%, and will be safer than employing launches to carry those deliveries by sea.

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/10/23/fast-food-via-drone-takes-flight

PMI Index- Heading south

In Economy on 17/10/2018 at 6:59 am
Like many other exporters.
PAP govt that exceptional meh?
S’pore as an open economy is buffeted by global forces our millionaire ministers can do nothing about. When global conditions are good, they claim that they deserve their millions. But when global conditions are not good, they say “Don’t blame us. S’pore open economy leh.”
I have no issue with obscene payouts (unlike do-good retired bankers like Chris K and his ex-TRE pals) because I was an equities broker and arbitrageur and my pay was linked to the commissions and arbitrage income I brought in. But when times were bad, I couldn’t say like a minister can, “Cannot cut my pay. Global conditions are bad.Not my fault.”

HoHoHo: Why oil price rises are not gd for PAP

In Economy, Emerging markets, Energy, Political economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 15/10/2018 at 11:19 am

Phew that was a quick sharp retracement after a very sharp spik: Tua kee traders take opposing views on price of oil. The PAP govt must be relieved oil is now trading around US$82 (minutes ago) than above US$86 (middle of last week).

A US$ oil price of closer to US$100 will not only make Tun M (M’sia exports oil) more willingly to cut off our water supply but will pose problems for an early GE in late 2019 esp with the promised rise in GST(See below for GST related posts) after GE: Akan datang: GE in late 2019

According to Citi’s Johanna Chua, Asian countries suffer the most when oil prices rise because, aside from Malaysia, most are net oil importers. Singapore runs a sizable 6.5% oil and gas deficit, followed closely by Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. Indonesia and Vietnam manage slightly smaller deficits of roughly 1%.

So many of these economies see the largest inflation swings when oil prices rise. Chua’s chart ranking the sensitivity regionally over the past six years. See where we stand.

S'pore oilThe ** explained that the spike in inflation here is caused by some one-off stats adjustment of data base. So not really comparable to other countries. But try telling that to cybernuts like Oxygen or Phillip Ang.

But rational readers should get the message. Voters really get hurt by oil price rises. And the promised GST price increase is not going to impress the 10 points of voters that voted for the PAP in last GE, bring the total votes for the PAP to 70%: a great result for the PM and the PAP after the failure of only 60% in 2011.


GST-related posts

GST rise: Anti-PAP activists should take note

How to ensure no GST rise

Countering PAP’s BS that taxes must go up

 

Anti-PAPpies screaming about Oxfam report, what about World Bank’s Human Capital Index

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 11/10/2018 at 2:26 pm

Another way to measure economic success other than by GDP was launched released two days ago earlier today by the World Bank.

Its Human Capital Index ranks countries according to how much is invested in young people.

The higher the investment in education and health the more productive and higher earning the workforce tends to be, the World Bank says.

Which leads to the creation of higher levels of wealth and a stronger economy.

They are silent because

First is Singapore, followed by South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

Finland and Ireland are fifth and sixth, with the UK in 15th place, below Germany but ahead of France, Norway and Switzerland.

The bottom of the list is dominated by countries in Africa, where human capital scores are a third of those enjoyed by leading nations.

Chad, South Sudan and Niger are the bottom three countries.

For 157 countries the World Bank studied the quantity and quality of education provided to children, the mortality rate for under-5s, the “rate of stunting” among young people (a measure of how healthy children are) and the chances of someone living to 60 by the time they reach 15-years-of-age (the “adult survival rate”).

Bringing the data together produced a score between 0 and 1, where zero would mean all children died before reaching education age and 1 would be all children receiving the perfect education and health start in life.

Singapore scored 0.88 and the UK scored 0.78.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45816049

Noticed? Oil’s spiked to US$85 a barrel

In Economy, Energy on 08/10/2018 at 7:47 am

Not if u only read our constructive nation building (OK, OK, I don’t read BT) or TOC and other anti PAP publications.

What this means

A sharp and sustained rise in oil is one of the nastiest taxes on growth you can get.

FT columnist

So expect GDP growth here and elsewhere to slow down if oil doesn’t fall back to below US$80 (Top of trading range for this yr until late Sept).

Buy Keppel, and SembCorp listcos. And take a punt on the penny stocks in O&M sector?

Whatever, shows Trump is “stable genius”. His much criticised tax cuts earlier this yr, will help cushion the US consumer (and hence the world) againsat this oil price oil if it persists.

Why private property owners appreciate the PAP

In Economy, Financial competency, Financial planning, Property on 28/09/2018 at 9:40 am

Especially if they are still mortgaged to their eyeballs.

S’pore’s NOT among the global cities that have the highest risk of seeing their property values collapse. We are not even on the “overvalued” list. We are on the “juz right” list.

The cities seeing the highest risk of seeing their property values collapse are HK, Munich, Toronto, Vancouver, Amsterdam and London, says UBS’s latest Global Real Estate Bubble Index.

Milan, S’pore and Boston are “fairly valued”. Ten cities including NY, Sydney and Stockholm are overvalued. Chicago is the only undervalued housing market in the 20-city index.

Still want to vote against the PAP?

Related post: Akan datang: GE in late 2019

First signal: the PAP govt ended the property cycle upswing early. If things had been allowed to run their usual course, we’d have rising property prices in 2019, if not 2020.

A gd reason govt is pushing for cashless society

In Banks, Economy on 22/09/2018 at 11:35 am

I’ve been sceptical of the the PAP’s govt attempts to get us to use less cash and more e-payments instead, thinking that this as a way to better monitor and screw (i.e.tax) us.

But the explanation of the CEO of Mizuho, a leading Japanese bank, on why Japan should go cashless also makes sense here. Mr Sakai said

said that greater productivity would be a key factor in Japan’s quest for sustainable growth as the nation grows older and the population shrinks. Critical to that, he said, would be the creation of a cashless society. The current cost to Japan of storage and management of cash, he said, runs at around ¥8tn ($71.8bn) a year, but that could be halved by significant advances in electronic payment systems.

 

 

Gd that PM makes time for travel vlogger

In Economy, Tourism on 20/09/2018 at 1:25 pm

But first, a story about a Crazy Rich African planning to bring US$16.5m in cash to shop here.

When on a private visit to Brazil by Equatorial Guinea’s VP

Police found $1.5m in cash and watches worth an estimated $15m in two bags, the other 17 bags had clothes, says local news site Globo.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-45546655

Equatorial Guinea’s embassy told the Brazilian police in a statement that the money was for the VP’s use on an onward trip to Singapore, while the watches – engraved with his initials – were for his personal use.

————————-

Last year The Economist reported on Mr Obiang’s flashy lifestyle in a report titled “Instagram playboy is also the vice-president of Equatorial Guinea”. It featured pictures of the vice-president showing off his expensive cars and mansions.

———————————————-

So nothing wrong PM and foreign affairs minister spending time with a vlogger with a huge global following. It helps bring S’pore to the attention of people like Mr Obiang, people who spend, spend, spend. It also helps attract lesser spenders too. Orchard Rd certainly needs help.

But then given TOC’s support for Tan Wah Piow and PJ Thum (PJ Thum cares about S’pore?), maybe TOC “does not wish S’pore well”?

TOC’s double standard in praising Tun for seeing Wah Piow, PJ and friends while dissing PM and VivianB for meeting vlogger is another piece of evidence that TOC “does not wish S’pore well”?

What do you think?

PAP Govt thinks there’ll be serious job losses soon?

In Economy on 29/08/2018 at 10:57 am

Before Tuesday (Aug 28), HDB flatbuyers had to first use up the entire balance in their CPF Ordinary Accounts. Now flat buyers can retain S$20,000 in their CPF OA when taking up HDB loans

The previous rule was to ensure that flat buyers exercise financial prudence and minimise the housing loan taken, said the HDB on Tuesday.

So why the change? Emphasis mine

“While this objective remains relevant, some flexibility can be given to flat buyers to provide a buffer in their CPF Ordinary Accounts to pay mortgage instalments in times of need, or to improve retirement adequacy if the buffer is eventually not tapped,” said a HDB spokesperson in response to TODAY’s queries.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/cpf-rule-change-hdb-loans-less-worry-more-flexibility-flat-owners

The PAP govt is preparing for another great recession methinks where there’ll be lots of retrenchments and many S’poreans being unable to pay off their HDB mortgages without the extra $ in CPF account. How to vote for PAP liddat?

Ownself pay ownself to pay ministers’ salaries. LOL or Sad?

 

Household debt level plateauing

In Economy, Political economy on 20/08/2018 at 6:22 am

But at high level. “Affordable public housing”, pay and pay for govt services, COEs got us to be like this? How to afford 5Cs? Why many PAP voters are ready to be flipped

 

Time to investigate if housing developers screw public by colluding?

In Economy, Property, Public Administration on 29/07/2018 at 10:47 am

“Unsold number of private properties hit 3-year high as prices continue to rise” screamed headline from a department of the constructive nation-building media.

Bit strange that prices go up when there’s plenty of unsold stock. Shumething not right.

Then this caught my attention (emphasis mine)

Ms Christine Li, senior director of research at real-estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, attributed the three-year high of unsold numbers of private housing units to the likelihood that developers are spacing out their launches, to avoid direct competitions from nearby projects due to the increased supply.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/private-home-prices-climbed-34-second-quarter-2018

Time for the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore to investigate if there is illegal collusion or other illegal practices among developers that cause housing prices to be higher than if there were no collusion etc. They juz squeezed Grab’s balls,

Mom trying to out BS CSA’s CEO

In Economy, Public Administration on 24/07/2018 at 10:45 am

Here I reported that CSA’s CEO downplayed the importance of the loss of NRIC numbers, names and addresses: Is Computer Security Agency CEO talking thru his ass about stolen info?

Well Mom is almost as bad in its PR BS. After the constructive, nation-building digital newspaper belonging to Mediacorp asked Mom to comment on the following

Hundreds of IBM Singapore employees are being laid off, amid the technology giant’s global restructuring efforts.

The firm is cutting manpower from its Singapore Technology Park, a manufacturing plant at Tampines, as it is relocating manufacturing of its Power Systems product to a facility in Guadalajara, Mexico.

IBM staff and subcontractors told TODAY that at least 200 people were being laid off, and they comprised Singaporeans and foreigners working in a variety of positions. They included blue-collar workers, professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/ibm-singapore-lays-workers-its-tampines-plant

a Mom spokesperson said:

 “We do not comment on any impending or speculative restructuring exercises of any company.”

Excuse me, people have been retrenched. It’s not

any impending or speculative restructuring exercises of any company.

It has happened. It;s not

any impending or speculative restructuring exercises of any company.

Doubtless the Mom spokesperson and the CEO of CSA are from Bizarro S’pore like PM and Tharman:

PM visiting from Bizarro S’pore?

Tharman also from Bizarro S’pore?

Low birth rates do not cause serious economic problems

In Economy on 21/07/2018 at 11:12 am

This is a follow up to Average S’poreans smarter than scholar ministers where I pointed out that having children doesn’t help in getting the 5Cs:: the PAP is wrong to asset that low birth rates cresult in serious economic problems, even if it is conventional wisdom.

Demographic decline does not imply falling prosperity, however. If anything, it is easier to improve average lifestyles with shrinking populations. Without population growth, there is less need for expensive investments in housing, infrastructure and capital goods.

True, a higher portion of the smaller populations will be elderly people who need pensions and labour-intensive assistance. Even so, there are already well-developed systems to provide them with money, healthcare and specialised residences. The forthcoming shift in age groupings will mostly mean more of the same.

Some people worry the shift will be unbearably large. They expect a shortage of care workers and recommend more immigration. That sounds excessive. It should be possible to rebalance service sectors to match needs. The rapid pace of job destruction from automation should help.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-economics-breakingviews/breakingviews-hadas-global-case-of-baby-fever-is-easily-cured-idUSKBN1K813Z

So far so good but here’s the problem. Taxes got to go up to support us oldies

What is true is that governments will have to do some serious governing. One task is to persuade citizens to pay higher taxes to support people too old to work.

Then there’s the need for higher state debt

Some financial muscle also will be necessary. If nominal GDP growth stops or turns into a decline, money for debt payments is bound to be in short supply. Governments may have to maintain economic confidence when debts go bad.

That could be a lot of work, and politically problematic. Mature markets, where the demographic challenges are greatest, have been building up trouble. Between 1997 and 2017, the ratio of debt to GDP increased from an already worrying 266 percent to a stunning 382 percent, according to the Institute of International Finance.

In theory, though, the task should be manageable. After all, powerful governments can give financial regulators and central banks all the authority they need. And it should be easier to rearrange the money system than to push up birth rates.

Any multinational deleveraging will undoubtedly be socially challenging. That just means now is a good time to start figuring out how to deliver more practical solutions than babies.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-economics-breakingviews/breakingviews-hadas-global-case-of-baby-fever-is-easily-cured-idUSKBN1K813Z

Property: Why govt was right to act

In Economy, Property on 10/07/2018 at 10:19 am

This chart from Bloomberg article tells it all. The gradual decline between late mid 2013 and mid 2017 had reversed very, very sharply before the latest curbs were anounced. Lawrence Wong for PM: Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting

 

 

The enbloc sales had a lot to do with this the surge in prices.

 

 

 

 

And it’s ownself buying ownself.

 

 

 

Is PAP in “decline and disintegration”?

In Economy, Malaysia, Political governance, Public Administration on 09/07/2018 at 2:08 pm

Seems that Abdullah Badawi had told an adviser after the premier was compelled to step down following the 2008 general election in which the UMNO-led BN’s margins of victory were badly dented:

In the nature of evolution, the former prime minister said, there were four phases in the rise and fall of states and entities: kesedaran (awareness), kebangkitan (emergence), kegemilangan (greatness) and kehancuran (decline and disintegration). When asked what phase he saw UMNO to be in then, Abdullah told the adviser: the last one  ̶  of decline and disintegration. It would take another decade, or two more general elections coinciding with the premiership of his successor, Najib Razak, before this prognosis proved to be an indisputable fact.

http://www.rsis.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/CO18112.pdf?utm_source=getresponse&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=rsis_publications&utm_content=RSIS+Commentary+112%2F2018+UMNO+Post-Power%3A+What+Now+in+a+Changing+Landscape%3F+by+Yang+Razali+Kassim+

I’m sure the anti-PAP cybernuts will say that the PAP is in the “decline and disintegration” phase, but they have been saying this since cyberspace became polluted by their presence in the mid noughties. And they were saying it post 1959 when they lived in the gutters, drains and toilets of brothels.

Me? I think that Badawi is wrong about four phases: There’s a “stagnation” phase between “greatness” and “decline and disintegration”.

Harry was pretty shrewd to pass the baton to his son and GCT in 1990. By then, the PAP had entered the “stagnation” phase what with Harry getting progressively getting rid of his Old Guard in the name of leadership renewal.

Think of the flawed policies of the teams led by GCT and Harry’s son, and then Harry’s son alone: “asset enhancement”, “FTs by the cattle truck load”, the failures in the public transport system and the many restructuring plans (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different). I mean why the need for so many since the 1980s? LHL must have drawn up a really bad plan in the 1980s for there to be a need of so many followup plans?

And he’s now PM, what? Meritocracy? What Meritocracy?

Meritocracy? What meritocracy?

Why PAP doesn’t do accountability, meritocracy

We are still in that phase. As for M’sia, it entered that phase with the arrest of Anwar and continued until the day after the 2008 general election. But of course, Badawi wouldn’t admit that he presided over the stagnation that would lead to decline.

The PAP will enter the “decline and disintegration” phase when like the BN it cocks up so badly that it loses its two-thirds parly majority (BN lost this in 2008). Until then dream on cybernuts. Or should it be wank on, what?

After all, in the coming GE. WP is expected to lose Aljunied GRC: How to ensure no GST rise. It’ll then only have fortress Hougang. As for the SDP, so long as S’poreans don’t want to get rabies, it’ll be unelectable. The later Mad Dog Chee realises this, the happier the PAP will be.

Who else is the PAP govt screwing?

In Economy, Media on 05/07/2018 at 9:19 am

The recent water and electricity hikes don’t juz hurt the “little” people as alt media is shouting and the MSM is whispering, they also hurt the businesses that employ the “little” people. This means smaller or no pay rises, and even retrenchments in spite of a growing economy.

I’m exaggerating? Juz read the constructive, nation-building media

Businesses here are also feeling the pinch from price hikes.

Mr Lee Soon Kiat, executive committee member of the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association, noted that operating costs for electronics manufacturing firms, including semiconductor companies, have been increasing steadily.

Depending on the size of the firms, costs could rise further to up to S$10 million, as they use a lot of water for their processes.

While companies are already using energy efficient equipment, and clamping down on water usage, the increase in water hikes may be “enough to wipe out all our efforts from the previous years”, said Mr Lee.

He warned that the electricity and water tariffs, as well as carbon tax levied next year, would add to firms’ financial costs and affect profit margins. As a result, Singapore could risk a mass exodus of companies to more competitive business markets in China and South-east Asia.

While Mr Lee said most companies have accepted the price hikes, he added that “the Government has to adopt a consultative approach (going forward), and to avoid any unnecessary hikes” that could affect its competitiveness in the manufacturing sector.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/hit-rising-water-and-electricity-bills-singaporeans-and-businesses-tighten-belts

Looks like the PAP is not only out to screw the voters, but businesses too

The anti-PAP alt media is quick to manufacture and spread fake news about the PAP govt (Example: Achtung cybernuts: Facts about global LNG prices & our gas supplies) but when the PAP govt really cocks up, where are they? Makes one wonder whether the PAP discredits its opponents via black ops and whether people like Phillip Ang and Goh Meng Seng are useful idiots or worse.

More evidence PAP talking cock on minimum wages

In Economy on 15/06/2018 at 6:57 am

The mounting evidence that minimum wages do not seem to reduce employment

One of these is a study by economists Doruk Cengiz, Arindrajit Dube, Attila Lindner and Ben Zipperer, which looked at state-level evidence and found no negative effect of mandated pay increases on employment. They found that minimum wage hikes tend to decrease the number of jobs just below the new cutoff, but increase the number above the line — implying that the wage hike isn’t killing jobs, but simply giving people raises.

Now, Kevin Rinz and John Voorheis, a pair of researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau, have an even more comprehensive study with even more detailed evidence. Looking at data on individual earners from 1991 through 2013 — a very long time period — the authors take careful account of factors like mobility and transitions into and out of the labor force. They find that minimum-wage increases tend to raise incomes for people at the bottom of the distribution, and that the effect doesn’t fade with time. Meanwhile, they find that the probability of people losing their income entirely — i.e., unemployment or dropping out of the labor force — isn’t significantly affected by minimum-wage increases.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-05/supply-and-demand-does-a-poor-job-of-explaining-depressed-wages

Interesting the writer Noah Smith says we should change our standard model of the labour market. Employer market power seems to be the rule, not the exception.

Well in S’pore where employers have have their fill of FTs (They KPKB that govt doesn’t give them the right to bring in more) and you can see why productivity is so bad.

Productivity: Err maybe PAP not to blame?

In Economy on 09/06/2018 at 10:51 am

And there are free lunches available: not juz for our Hali and millionaire ministers.

Cyberspace is full of complaints (self included)  that PAP’s FT is responsible for the low producitivity of the labour force.

But maybe we all wrong

One of the big thinkers on the economics of technology tells us why its impact is not being properly measured in GDP figures. Erik Brynjolfsson was co-author of the Second Machine Age, the book which really kickstarted the debate about the impact of automation and is director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.

He says the problem is that official data does not capture the value of services like Facebook or Wikipedia which are essentially free. He points out that in the early 1980s, information services accounted for 4.6% of US GDP – and the figure is exactly the same today, despite the huge advances in the technology sector.

Prof Brynjolfsson and his team set out to prove that value was being created by services like Facebook by asking people how much they would have to pay them to give them up for a month. The average answer was $42 (£31).

Why does this matter? “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” he says. If we had some way of working out what technological advances had done to our economy, then we might understand that the last 10 years had not been as bad as we thought for our incomes.

“We haven’t got richer in terms of dollars or pounds or euros. But we have access to all the world’s information through Wikipedia, we can connect with friends and family – these are unpriced goods.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44168096

So there are free lunches available for the taking.

Whatever, money is not the measure of all things: another Hard Truth demolished.

 

 

S’poreans unhappy enough to make Mad Dog PM?

In CPF, Economy, Political governance on 04/06/2018 at 9:56 am

And Lim Tean (Where’s yr defamation video and jobs rally Lim Tean?) and Meng Seng, our very own Wu Sangui (Silence of Goh Meng Seng), ministers?

In The real reason why Reformasi won’t happen here, I pointed out that whatever the KPKBing S’poreans were not really that unhappy, and in  Why Reformasi won’t happen here, that maybe

Maybe they really don’t oppose the PAP? They juz make some noise, hoping the PAP will throw them some goodies? Bit like my dogs barking or whining to get my attention.

Now after Tun’s comments to the FT that

I think the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence.

got the cybernuts who think the sun shines from Tun’s ass (Anti-PAP S’poreans sucking up to Tun) happy

there’s this survey which says

Singaporeans are less satisfied with their overall quality of life and democratic rights compared with previous years, according to a survey conducted by two National University of Singapore (NUS) dons.

The findings were unveiled on Thursday (31 May) at NUS’ Shaw Foundation Alumni House as part of a book launch for Happiness, Wellbeing and Society – What matters for Singaporeans” by its Business School associate professors Siok Kuan Tambyah and Tan Soo Jiuan.

The survey found that Singaporeans, on average, were the least satisfied with their overall quality of life at a personal level in 2016, compared with the surveys in previous years.

Out of 15 choices, they were least satisfied with their household income followed by studies (for students), level of education attained, jobs (for working adults) and the standard of living.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singaporeans-less-satisfied-quality-life-democratic-rights-nus-survey-130122483.html

So do you think that the survey shows that Reformasi is coming at the next GE because S’poreans are that unhappy? I think not.

Btw, I think Siok Kuan Tambyah is the wife of Mad Dog’s Doctor-in-Chief, who has been doing a decent job keeping Mad Dog sane, though this recent outburst is worrying http://yoursdp.org/news/careshield_stop_making_public_healthcare_a_profit_making_business/2018-06-01-6245*.

Dr  Paul Anantharajah Tambyah’s wife is an associate professor in NUS Biz School. Strange if there are two lady Tambyahs in the same faculty. But then there were once two Indian Syrian Othordox Christians in the AG”s Chambers. They are a really tiny Indian minority here.


Countering SDP’s views on Eldershield

*Here’s a good FB analysis from a pro PAP lawyer who is a fair-minded person

The SDP article claims that “government is making a handsome profit from ElderShield.”

An outright LIE.

ElderShield cover is provided by 3 private insurers, namely Aviva Limited, The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited and NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited. An insured is assigned to one of these 3 carriers randomly.

Hence, when SDP claims the G is making a large profit, there is no truth in this assertion.

In addition, the underwriting profit from ElderShield does not equate to premiums collected to date, less claims – i.e. no-one, not the insurance carriers, makes a 96% profit from ElderShield. The SDP claim is pure balderdash. This is because ElderShield is a disability scheme and insureds are likely to pay more in premiums upfront, and are more likely to receive payout when the insured cohorts get older.

Minister Gan explained all this in response to a question from Dr Daniel Goh of the Workers’ Party last February – see here https://www.moh.gov.sg/…/Parliamentar…/2017/ElderShield.html

In other words, in order to ascertain the underwriting profit, reserves for future claims have to be deducted. SDP’s calculation makes ZERO attempt to do this and is actuarial nonsense.

Quite shamefully false (as a matter of fact) from the SDP. Outrageous!

 

Why we’ll be servants of the Peenoys

In Currencies, Economy on 22/05/2018 at 4:37 am

Yesterday, I showed u/m chart which showed that M$ a lot stronger than our S$ despite attempts by our constructive, nation-building media to show that the economy in KL was collapasing after regime change.

Well it also shows that the Peenoy peso is like S$ when Harry was leader: tua kee. S$ is the new old Peenoy peso?

 

Vis-a-vis US$: S$ falls more than M$

In Currencies, Economy, Malaysia on 21/05/2018 at 5:15 am

Juz asking if our constructive, nation-building told u that?

I mean the narrative the ST etc is spinning is that changes in M’sia is upsetting investors.

Uncle Leong and cybernuts should sit down and shut up

In Economy on 14/05/2018 at 9:53 am

And if they have the balls and grace, they should praise the PAP administration for a far-sighted policy which they are forever criticising, misrepresenting and publishing fake news about: the policy of bringing in young FTs (mainly ethnic Chinese from neighbouring countries) to study here.

Dr Oh, who was formerly the political secretary of ousted leader Najib Razak, added: “Economic matters will always be prioritised. There are a number of Pakatan senior leaders, such as (DAP’s) Tony Pua and Ong Kian Ming who have had experience in Singapore such as having lived there, so they would have some inputs into Malaysian policy towards Singapore.”

Both Mr Pua and Mr Ong Kian Ming had studied in Raffles Institution and Raffles Junior College in the Republic, on the Singapore Government’s Asean (Association of South-east Asian Nations) scholarship programme.

Readers will know that I’m a critic of the PAP administration’s FTs by the cattle-truck load policy and the policy restricting locals getting into the local publicly funded universities. But, I’m a fan of  the Asean (Association of South-east Asian Nations) scholarship programme and other programmes (such as allowing Johoreans easy access to schools here) bringing in young FTs (especially ethnic Chinese) from around the region and China.

One reason why the UK has great soft power is that many foreigners (self included) have fond memories of their student days in the UK. This is something that the govt here is trying to replicate (Hard work though, given the puritanical norms the PAP expects here: study here and no fun allowed.)

Taxes on MNCs: 4G leaders should relook

In Economy on 11/05/2018 at 5:26 am

Recently I wrote:

To show S’poreans that saying that they want to earn the right to lead is more than BS, the coming generation of leaders should start looking at Hard Truths that have become irrelevant or were wrong in the first place.

Healthcare: user fees drives up costs

Here’s another Hard Truth that should be relooked. It’s a Hard Truth that MNCs should be given tax incentives so that they invest here. But the premise of such a Hard Truth no longer is valid

As Paul Krugman pointed out in his regular NYT column:

In the world according to Trump officials, or right-wing think tanks like the Tax Foundation, corporate profits are basically a return on physical capital — on bricks and mortar and machines. Cut taxes, and companies will add more physical capital, increasing competition for labor, and profits will go down while wages go up.

Apple, however, is nothing like that. Its profits come from its market position — its brand, if you like. It doesn’t matter whether you think it deserves its role as a quasi-monopolist; what matters is that given its position, it can and does charge what the market will bear, pretty much regardless of costs. If Trump cuts its taxes, it gets to keep more of its profits, but it has no real incentive to change its behaviour by, say, building more Apple stores. It just takes the extra money and either sits on it or hands it back to stockholders via buybacks.

U.S.-China trade war’s time line/ EU is US ally

In China, Economy on 23/04/2018 at 4:17 am

 

Remember a trade war will hurt property prices badly: Why en-blocers could be in for a nasty surprise.

From NYT’s Dealbook

The timeline for a potential U.S.-China trade war

As the U.S. and China continue to posture over trade — alarming U.S. farmers, many of whom are in key electoral districts in the Midwest — it’s worth noting three upcoming dates, Peter Eavis writes.

On May 1, exemptions to the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum expire.
On May 22, the public comment period ends for another $50 billion worth of tariffs, and the Trump administration can announce a final list of targets.
And Aug. 18 is potentially the deadline for the administration to act on an investigation into Chinese trade practices. But there’s a provision for a 180-day delay after that.
Key caveats: President Trump has the power to pursue trade policy almost at whim. And a W.T.O. proceeding against China could take years.

Is the E.U. bending to Trump on trade?
With its $16 trillion economy and reputation for tough negotiating, the E.U. could have been the immovable object in President Trump’s trade fight. But that is looking less likely, Peter Eavis writes.
Why? The WSJ reports that the E.U. is prepared to offer concessions to avoid Mr. Trump’s threatened tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that Mr. Trump has threatened — perhaps reducing tariffs on American cars and industrial parts, and joining the U.S. in pressuring China on trade and investment rules.
Among the lessons if the E.U. concedes: The U.S.’s large trade deficits can give it leverage.
Beijing appears keenly aware of the risks here and is sure to press its case at a China-E.U. summit in July.

 

TRE poster asks “Why save when struggling?”/ Corporate raiders and change

In Corporate governance, Economy, Financial competency on 21/04/2018 at 10:57 am

When TRE used PAP is losing the war to keep S’poreans in ignorance there was this comment

SUNNY:

in fact every generation can barely only support it self.
actually we are now the future generation ,what benefits are we enjoying??
may be the leaders should have their 90% salary/bonus cut for future 20 years generation,so we can witness before we die.
why save when it is raining heavily today.we won’t be around tomorrow.
who knows if the world will end tomorrow.

Here’s another thing to think about

What is the point of having a very good balance-sheet if the S’pore economy is underperforming its full potential?

In the 50s, 60s and 70s, US CEOs boasted of their companies strong balance sheets while spentdingcorporate funds on private jets, hunting lodges for themselves, co directors and senior executives, and their cronies. Shareholders got “peanuts” but wewre grateful. Then came the corporate raiders with the doctrine of “shareholder value”. CEOs  etc are still well renumerated but they have to keep the shareholders happy.

Recognise what should happen here next?

Too bad we got the likes of the Wankers’ Party, Mad Dog, Uncle Leong, Phillip Ang, Goh Meng Seng, s/o JBJ, TKL, Martyn See, Seelan Palay,Kirsten Han, M Ravi and TJS. They are the faces that the swing voters (those who voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock) usually associate with change.

We need more people like Dr Paul, Terry Xu, Sonny Liew, Chris K, Tay Kheng Soon, Yeoh Lam Keong, Cherian George, Donald Low, Alex Au, Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib, Tan Tarn How and Remy Choo.

 

Trump’s u turn on TPP shows Churchill’s wisdom

In Economy on 15/04/2018 at 11:14 am

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

Winston Churchill

Well a modern day variant would be

You can always count on Trump to do the right thing – after he’s tweeted about everything else.

From NYT Dealbook

Has Trump changed his mind about the TPP?
He once denounced the trade pact as “a rape of our country.” But his decision yesterday to reconsider joining — which surprised his own advisers — could hearten U.S. businesses and Republican lawmakers who supported it as one of the best ways to box in China.
Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, told Politico, “If you want to send a message to China, the best way to do that is to start doing business with their competitors.”
Free-trade backers may point to this reversal, as well as attempts to revise Nafta, as a change of heart by a protectionist president. Then again:
And Japan’s chief cabinet secretary cautioned this morning that it’d be hard to rewrite a “well-balanced pact” that already met the needs of 11 signatories.
The president’s decisions on economic matters are now the purview of Larry Kudlow, who’s casting himself as a “happy warrior” even as he described the TPP decision as coming “out of the dark, navy blue.”
Meanwhile, China is not-so-subtly threatening to scale back its purchases of U.S. debt, though that would be a risky maneuver.

PAP FT policy trying to avoid this mistake?

In Economy on 08/04/2018 at 10:52 am

In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wrote: “The narrow policy of preserving, without any foreign mixture, the pure blood of the ancient citizens, had checked the fortune, and hastened the ruin, of Athens and Sparta. The aspiring genius of Rome sacrificed vanity to ambition, and deemed it more prudent, as well as honourable, to adopt virtue and merit for her own wheresoever they were found, among slaves or strangers, enemies or barbarians.”

Well we now have an FT jnr minister Dr. Janil Puthucheary who comes from M’sia and FTs by the cattle truck load.

Why en-blocers could be in for a nasty surprise

In Economy, Property on 06/04/2018 at 10:54 am

As could all other property speculators and developers and their banks financing them.

They shouldn’t be counting their chickens before they hatch.

https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/800-width/images/print-edition/20180331_FNC159.png

If the phoney war between China and the US becomes a real trade war, we’ll be caught in the middle. We are part of China’s great export machine that Trump wants to destroy: see how much as % of GDP do our exports add value to China’s exports to the US.

 

What’s behind the market slump?

In Economy on 05/04/2018 at 4:45 am

NYT Dealbook (Tuesday morning) explains

S.&P. 500 futures are up this morning, suggesting yesterday’s market rout may not continue. And European and Asian marketsdidn’t fall as sharply as did the U.S.’s. But what’s behind the markets dropping 4 percent so far this year? A couple of ideas:
• Washington (and Beijing), again: China’s tougher-than-expected retaliatory tariffs gave investors more reason to fear a trade war.American pork and fruit producers are among those sweating. “The Trump administration’s unorthodox and unpredictable decision-making is likely to keep markets on edge,” Mike Ryan of UBS Wealth Management told the FT.
• Tech, again: The FAANG stocks are still weighing down the S.&P. 500 and the Nasdaq, as the likes of Facebook and Google face the prospect of greater regulation and President Trump repeats his attacks on Amazon. (Tesla was down, too, but that’s more understandable.)
• Technical issues: Traders could be trimming bull market bets.
Peter Eavis’s take: Before investors began fretting about tech and trade, the underpinnings of the stock market’s ascent were perhaps not as robust as they looked. Analysts expect S.&P. 500 companies’ earnings to grow 25 percent this year. But rising interest rates worldwide could affect revenue growth. And if wages and other costs come in higher than expected, profit margins could get squeezed.
The bottom line: Uncertainty has descended upon the markets, and it will be hard to shake off.

Coming back to S’pore, I wouldn’t count on the next en-bloc sale being completed given the uncertainity of a global trade war. More soon on why if the fight between China and the US becomes more than wayang will hurt us.

Cybernuts’ Guide to Trump pak China

In China, Economy on 26/03/2018 at 4:48 am

Summary: Be happy because global trade will suffer and thus S’pore very dependent on global trade (Why S’pore’s growth is so gd this year) will suffer.

Chief cybernut, Oxygen, already sending out invitations to his “PAP will collapse soon” party

Alternative view from EDB: Really? “Singapore Says Asian Growth Helps Offset U.S. Trade Threat”(From early last year)

From NYT’s Dealbook

Will the U.S.-China trade fight be a flicker or an inferno?
They’re here. President Trump imposed $60 billion worth of tariffs and penalties on Chinese goods. China is threatening tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods like nuts, wine and pork. Now S.&P. 500 futures and markets in Asia and Europe are down this morning, following yesterday’s steep sell-off (which was driven in large part by Boeing).
The context: Mr. Trump has made subtext — China is the U.S.’s main economic rival and must be treated as a strategic competitor — text. Few in the U.S. are happy with Beijing’s trade and intellectual property policies. But the world is now watching to see whether the fight turns out to be a spat, or a prolonged and damaging conflict.
Peter Eavis’s take: A trade fight that eventually relaxes some of China’s disadvantageous conditions could bolster the long-term prospects of U.S. firms. And if the U.S. is able to recruit other countries to its cause, China may relent. Still, much could go wrong.
On the other tariffs: The E.U. is still waiting for confirmation of exemptions from the imported metals tariffs. They may get quotas instead. Meet Century Aluminum, the tiny manufacturer that pressed for those penalties.
Critics’ corner
Stephen Gandel of Gadfly writes, “Trump’s tariffs and especially his protectionist rhetoric threaten to cut more and more of the world off.”
Paul Krugman writes, “America has much less trade leverage over China than Trump imagines, and a trade war with ‘China’ will anger a wider group of countries, some of them close allies.”
The WSJ editorial board writes, “A rising and aggressive China poses considerable risks to world order, but persuading its leaders to conform to trading norms requires more than scattershot tariffs.”

 

PAP’s simple growth equation no longer works

In Economy on 20/03/2018 at 10:14 am

There is no maximum size for a city’s population, even the booming megacities of Asia. It is all a matter of clever planning – and looking ahead 100 years. So claims Dr Liu Thai Ker, Chairman of Morrow Architects.
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video-on-demand/conversation-with/dr-liu-thai-ker-9855058

Dr Liu’s interview earlier this yr has been remaking the rounds on FB. He seems to be the PAP administration spin meister on why we need FTs by the cattle-truck load and a population of 10m.

He and the PAP administration parrot unthinkingly the conventional economic wisdom that growth is just demographics plus productivity. If  birth rates are lower than in the past, and no FTs come in,  and productivity is flat, growth must be slower. And property prices will collapse.

It’s a simple equation.


Growing the economy via productivity is very, very hard: US experience on growing GDP via productivity

————————————————————————————–

The retired chief economist of GIC disagrees and he just reposted his critique of this view.

Just to repost my comments on Dr Liu Thai Ker’s views on planning for a 10mn population for Singapore as they probably bear repeating :

“The problem here is that with all due respect, while Dr Liu is an extremely competent and highly regarded town planner, he is effectively recommending very poor, outdated economic policy indeed.

He is still stuck in the defunct “go for growth” strategy which the government has long realized was a mistake since 2010.

Between 1990 -2010, twenty years of this “go for growth” strategy has left us with a bloated, inefficient, labour intensive and low productivity economy that has depressed wages for the working class, created massive working poverty, and boosted the population to an uncomfortable 5.6 mn that could easily swell to double that if labor force growth is not scrupulously controlled well below 1% pa long term.

Germany for example, grew its labour force and population at less than 0.5% pa over the last few decades and remains the most competitive and dynamic high value-added export economy in the world!

Doing the same for the next few decades will leave Singapore with a population well below 7 million, not anywhere near 10 million and with higher productivity and real wages, less wealth and income inequality and a much much smaller and more assimilable new foreign population.

What we need is high quality, not poor quality, high quantity growth. The latter is the way towards an unbearably crowded, extremely stratified and socially divided Dubai-type, not a Swiss-style standard of living that a productivity-led, relatively population-light strategy like Germany or Switzerland’s can alternatively provide.

Citizen well being, not growth numbers, greater profits, more billionaires or tall fancy buildings should be the true test and ultimate goal of long term population policy and urban planning.Let’s not forget that we are not just a city state but, much more importantly, a nation state as well.”

GST: Even economists tot GST could go up

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 11/03/2018 at 10:44 am

I quoted a senior lawyer

If the G thinks the earlier remarks were clear and categorical, so that citizens could have no doubts, how does it explain why so many reputable economists were willing to entertain thoughts of an increase this decade?

PAP voter cheers on Auntie, says Fu talking cock 

A pal of mine posted on the FB post where this quote originally appeared

The economists even factored in an increase in their analysis of GDP growth. Btw, I’m one who tot that GST would not go up this yr because it would contradict what Tharman said in 2015 and because it would make no sense effectively “locking up” the increase for 2018- 2020 because there’ll be a new govt by 2021.

The retired GIC Chief Economist waded in

…my respected economist friends were similarly unsure if GST would be raised this time after attending pre budget MOF briefings, even with Minister Heng.

Here’s what the constructive, nation-building rag of MediaCorp had to say about the economists changing their forecasts after the Budget speech

The Budget’s one-off cash handouts and delay in the goods and services tax (GST) hike, which will kick in sometime between 2021 and 2025, prompted Credit Suisse to raise its 2018 economic growth forecast for Singapore from 3 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

Taken together, these would boost growth domestic product (GDP) as well as private consumption, the bank said in a research note, as it raised its private consumption growth forecast to 3.6 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent.

Credit Suisse economist Michael Wan said the bank had previously factored in a 2-percentage point GST hike for its macro forecasts. “We, together with most other economists, were forecasting GST rates to rise this year,” wrote

Mr Wan, who described Monday’s announcement on the delayed GST increase as among the “surprises” of Budget 2018.

Other economists who had expected a GST hike to be implemented either this year or next agreed that the delay would bring a “minor boost” to consumption spending. Nevertheless, they left their GDP forecasts unchanged.

Commenting on the Credit Suisse report, Mr Bernard Aw, principal economist at IHS Markit, said consumers are expected to bring forward “large purchases” ahead of the GST hike.

UOB economist Francis Tan said he is keeping to his earlier forecast of 2.8 per cent GDP growth this year, which was based on a 1 percentage point GST hike this year. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the delay of the GST hike “provides some upside”. He added: “Whenever there is a higher tax, people reduce their purchases.”

Maybank Kim Eng economist Chua Hak Bin is also maintaining his 2018 GDP forecast at 2.8 per cent, as he had expected the GST hike to be implemented next year. Private consumption is expected to improve from last year but it is unlikely to exceed 3 per cent this year, he said. “The jobs market looks to be improving and that will support consumer spending,” he added.

Both Mr Tan and Mr Chua, however, did not think that the impact of the hongbao handouts would be significant enough to lift GDP growth. Some Singaporeans may choose to save the money instead of spending it, Mr Tan noted. “In that aspect, these are not material handouts,” he said.

The reason I quoted so extensively is to show that “after attending pre budget MOF briefings, even with Minister Heng” the economists felt it necessary to factor in a GST rise in their forecasts.

 

Welfarism the PAP way/ The last word on GST

In Economy, Financial competency on 08/03/2018 at 9:54 am

Here corporates get welfare, not the people: and its foreign corporates that get the best goodies. PAP is not against welfarism so long as the beneficiaries are corporates, especially if they are foreign-owned. Ang moh tua kee kind of fascist movement?

Don’t believe me?

Well a friend, a respected economist, wrote

In Singapore’s case, there are other reasons to avoid the GST: In the context of an economy where there is an extraordinarily high profit share of GDP, is it appropriate that households bear a higher proportion of taxation than corporates? Our very rough estimate is that the direct taxes plus indirect taxes plus various levies paid by the household sector amount to about 11% of GDP, whereas the equivalent for the corporate sector is around 6%.

And

Given that foreign shareholders earn roughly half of the profits accruing to the corporate sector, the burden on Singapore households seems already to be unevenly high. This being the case, it does not seem appropriate to increase the burden on the household sector even more by increasing the GST rate.

Writer is Manu Bhaskaran. He was Tharman’s cell mate when they were convicted of breaching the Official Secrets Act. OK, OK, they were only fined. Btw, that incident showed that S’pore is a place of laws. Manu talked to his old boss in Mindef (Manu’s a scholar), BG Yeo, but BG Yeo couldn’t help. But maybe BG Yeo was ball-less or powerless, or both?

Sorry back to the article. Do read https://www.theedgesingapore.com/singapore-funding-its-rising-social-spending-right-way. Lots of other good stuff that show the fallacies of Hard Truths on Reserves, GST and govt spending.

Examples

And this brings us to the nub of the issue: What is the optimal savings rate for a country like Singapore? Savings is not an end in itself; it is the welfare of the citizens that is the end. Simply accumulating savings continuously is not the right thing to do — the right approach is to look holistically at all the determinants of welfare and then decide an optimal savings rate.

And

The thrust of the discussion above essentially leans to a view that Singapore is probably already saving enough and may even have exceeded the optimal savings rate. In that context, the better approach to funding rising social spending is to use more of the income from investments and to not raise taxes, be it the GST or some other tax.”

 

PAP is losing the war to keep S’poreans in ignorance

In Economy, Financial competency, Media on 02/03/2018 at 11:01 am

Be of good cheer, those of us who want the PAP lose its hegemony (Cybernuts excluded because like TRE’s Oxygen, they think a crushing defeat of the PAP is just another GE away: they’ve been thinking that since before Cyberspace came into existence), the PAP is losing the war on keeping S’poreans financially illiterate with comments like:

GST hike ‘the responsible way’ to fund areas of collective need: Heng Swee Keat

(Today)

Preserving reserves signals to markets strength of Singapore dollar: Chan Chun Sing

(ST)

Let me explain.

When two natural PAP supporters make the comments I report below, it’s clear that the retired chief economist of GIC (Known as LKY on FB), Donald Low, Chris K and others (including little old me) have not wasted our time raving and ranting that

— S’pore has too much reserves and that they can and must be used to make life better for S’poreans.

— And that tax rises show that the PAP administration are reckless prudent, or at least are mindlessly prudent.

FB post by a retired SAF officer, now active in mental welfare causes. He was one of the first Black Knights.

Maybe what the Government needs to do is to show to the citizens various scenarios (given some assumptions) about how to cater for the future financially. Period 2021-2025…, Scenario1…use of GST hike and 50% of Investment returns to manage the budget; Scenario 2…use of all reserves to do the same. Then show Sporeans what is left at end 2025, and how the projected financial state will affect Spore’s future financial health.

And this FB post by a lawyer who has said he voted for the PAP

The G says that Singapore’s reserves must be kept secret as a defence against speculative attack.

Whether true or false, there is an obvious price to pay in that if there is no public information about Singapore’s reserves, intelligent debate about Singapore’s fiscal policy becomes well nigh impossible.

The debate in Parliament currently appears to be rather sterile in the absence of meaningful facts and figures.

I am not in favour of the G’s current approach to the (non)transparency of Singapore’s reserves, which to me is not justified and makes no sense, on balance. We are better off having the knowledge to chart our national destiny.

People like Dr Tay Kheng Soon should take heart that the 70%ers can change their mind. He has often mused that educating S’poreans to realise that the PAP articulated alternative is not the only “right” way is a thankless, long and tedious task.

Whatever, remember that half of the 70% voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock as president. He only lost because of Tan Kin Lian and Goh Meng Seng decision to fix S’poreans. As a TRE reader put it

Sabo King help Tony Tan by persuading Tan Kin Lian to steal 4.91% votes which is enough to prevent Tony Tan from winning.
Sabo King sabo TKL and made him lost his deposit.

 

 

Trump changing mind on TPP?

In Economy on 02/03/2018 at 4:26 am

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has floated the idea of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, more than a year after President Trump walked away. (NYT)

NYT Dealbook

If Trump can change his position on assault rifles, he can move his position on TPP.

PM will be pleased with the newsreport.

PAP govt: Win some, lose some

In Economy on 24/02/2018 at 10:08 am

Rio Tinto, a global mining co, is planning another restructuring that will see support staff moved to one of three global hubs or here.

But Google said it was stopping booking most of its New Zealand advertising revenues in Singapore, a low-tax jurisdiction. This follows a similar change implemented by the company in Australia

Property: Americans and S’poreans alike

In Economy, Property on 23/02/2018 at 4:56 am

In SIBOR up 25%, but property mkt is hot?, I pointed at riasing interest rates do not deter S’poreans from being bullish about property.

Seems the same is true in the US too. And maybe S’porean buyers are thinking like the American buyers.

Mickey Levy of Berenberg, who also offers this detail from the Michigan [Consumer Confidence] survey, widely followed by economists etc. More than half of Americans feel that their own household is better off than it was a year ago – the first time that has been true in too long:t appears that many people are taking rising interest rates as a reason to go out and buy a house now, before rates go up further. Mickey’s conclusion:

In the last year, we have emphasized that when confidence measures are among the highest of all of their historic readings—both on the consumer and business surveys—we find that they are reliable predictors of future consumer spending and business investment.  Accordingly, we take note of this strong University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index that was conducted during the abrupt stock market sell off.  If other surveys that mirror confidence also hold up, that would confirm our expectations that the economy is continuing to build momentum.

FT

Emphasis mine.

Heng needs AI to help him in making Budget forecasts

In Economy, Political governance, Public Administration on 20/02/2018 at 9:41 am

Because if my favourite fortune-teller had made the Budget surplus prediction of S$1.91bn that Heng made in 2017, she would lose all credibility. The 2017 surplus is S$9.6bn: 5 times or 503% bigger than projected last year. This is a miss of S$7.7bn, or, as Chris K points out, nearly 1.8% of GDP.

As usual the “blame” for the whooping error is put on stamp duty. And the next PM said this is a one-off. If I recall, this has happened more than a few times already. Still a one-off?

But Heng and the rest of MoF, and the entire PAP administration are not held accountable for getting the 2017 projected surplus horribly wrong.

Yesterday morning, in Budget: Consistently flawed/ Use more from Reserves meh?, I pointed out that the previous year’s Budget surplus is always bigger than predicted because

Consistently expenditures will be found to have been overestimated, and revenues underestimated

And that this tot was triggered by FT’s description of a Japanese mgt practice

[T]he pattern is too consistent for comfort, often strays into the deliberately deceptive, and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism

Let me be clear. I am not accusing anyone in MoF or the govt of being  “deliberately deceptive”. Here in S’pore, the pattern of underestimating revenue and overestimating expenditure “is too consistent for comfort and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism”).

Chris K spotted two more whopping misses in 2017 that are likely to be repeated based on the forecasts for 2018

Land sales revenue is estimated to be 12,2b for 2018 but for 2017, land sales revenues are revised from 8.2b to 12.9b. A revenue miss of 4.7b.

Investment income pertaining to interest and dividends only is estimated at 11.5b for 2018. But for 2017, it was revised from 10.5b to 17.5b, a whopping miss of 7b. Why I say whopping? Interest and dividends from an investment portfolio are fairly predictable, what is not predictable is the change in market value of investments. But the latter is not included so why such a large miss?

In total, both land sales revenues and investment income are 23.7b estimated for 2018 and revised upwards to 30.4b for 2017.

Facebook

Coming back to Heng and AI, maybe MoF should use IBM’s Watson cognitive computing innovation to help it improve its forecasting techniques.

After all in 2014,

DBS Bank and IBM today announced an agreement in which DBS will deploy IBM’s Watson cognitive computing innovation to deliver a next generation customer experience. This collaboration is part of an ongoing journey by DBS to shape the future of banking.

 

What about benefits comparison table too?

In Economy, Media on 20/02/2018 at 7:31 am

When I saw this bit of propoganda for the GST increase, I couldn’t help but think:

They should also put the benefits alongside the comparison of the GST rates.

Whatever, I note that HK does not impose GST.

Budget: Consistently flawed/ Use more from Reserves meh?

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 19/02/2018 at 10:02 am

[Update at 5.25pm: Trumpets please

My prediction that GST increase would be announced but delayed is correct: Heng announced GST increase of 2% from 7% to 9% to “fund recurring government expenses”. Increase will take place between 2021 and 2025 in a progressive manner. Handouts of GST vouchers will be made permanent once the increase is put in place.]

“Thus has it always been, thus shall it ever be”.

The FT talking about how Japanese mgt do earnings guidance

[T]he pattern is too consistent for comfort, often strays into the deliberately deceptive, and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism*

reminds me of our Budget’s forecast of expenditures and revenues in the coming year. Consistently expenditures will be found to have been overestimated, and revenues underestimated when the next Budget comes around the following year.

The result?

Economists expect bumper surplus for 2017

Part of headline from today’s ST. ST went on to gush

United Overseas Bank economist Francis Tan expects an overall surplus of $3.1 billion for FY2017, compared with the official initial estimate of $1.91 billion. UOB’s econometric model projects that the Government may see $2 billion more in revenue than expected, due mainly to higher corporate income tax receipts and stamp duties.

Mr Tan expects corporate income tax revenue to hit $14.8 billion, higher than the official estimate of $13.6 billion. If so, corporate income tax would regain its place as the largest contributor to revenue, ahead of the projected $14.11 billion net investment returns (NIR) contribution.

“Thus has it always been, thus shall it ever be” as the saying goes.

So remember that expenditures will be overestimated, and revenues understimated when we are told in the Budget statement that GST has to be raised because expenditure is rising for welfare and other goodies.

================

So why is there is surplus still?

Between FY2007 and FY2016, Singapore’s revenue has grown from S$43 billion to S$83 billion, based on revised FY2016 estimates. Over the same period, however, government expenditure has more than doubled from S$33 billion to S$71 billion.

Constructive, nation-building Today

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/pressures-main-revenue-sources-prompt-govt-look-ways-grow-pie

And Err what about using more from income from reserves** and designating land sales as revenue, not chips for Ho Ching and GIC?)

======================================

Whatever, my bet is that there’ll be an announcement of a GST increase of 2 % but that the increase will be deferred so that Tharman’s promise will be kept

To be fair to PM Lee, both the MOF and he have clarified that consistent with DPM Tharmans 2015 remarks, we do not have to raise taxes before the end of the decade.

So there’s really no need to get our fiscal knickers into a twist about GST or income tax increases till after the next GE folks..

Countering PAP’s BS that taxes must go up

——————————–

*”Earnings guidance in markets everywhere is often a victim of the management instinct to lowball first so as to triumph later with an overshoot. In Japan, though, the pattern is too consistent for comfort, often strays into the deliberately deceptive, and is carried out as part of a habit of systemic conservatism. CEOs are not financially incentivised to reach for the stars, so opt for comfortable survival meeting targets they know are achievable.”

FT

**Long quote from https://www.theedgesingapore.com/how-will-singapore-fund-its-rising-budget-0

The reserve option

One other way of funding soaring spending on healthcare and social spending is to tap reserves built up over past decades. “If the government feels that, based on current revenue projections, it is not able to fund increased social spending and is looking for new sources of revenue, then its first consideration should be whether reserves should be tapped,” says Donald Low, associate dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

In a chapter in a book he co-authored, Hard Choices, published in 2014, Low argues that it is the baby boom generation — the group of people now entering or in retirement and at whom increased healthcare and social spending is targeted — that contributed the most to the accumulation of national reserves. “A significant part of our reserves is the result of fiscal surpluses generated in the 1980s and 1990s — the period when the baby boom generation was most economically productive,” he wrote. “Now that the generation that contributed the most to our reserves is entering retirement, it is only fair from an intergenerational perspective that the state reverses part of that transfer.

“To impose the fiscal burden of looking after the needs of the baby boomers onto subsequent generations in the form of higher taxes while continuing to accumulate reserves is not only unequitable but also inefficient… because continuing with a strategy of growing our reserves regardless of context implies a negative discount rate — that is, we favour the interests of a future generation more than those of the current generation… which has immediate needs.”

Singapore has, in fact, been tapping more of the investment returns of its reserves in recent years. In FY2016, Temasek Holdings was included under the so-called Net Investment Returns framework, which allows the government to spend up to 50% of its expected long-term returns. That year, NIR Contribution amounted to $14.37 billion and helped turn a $5.59 billion basic deficit to an overall surplus of $5.18 billion. The NIRC was the single largest contributor to the government coffers in both FY2016 and FY2017.

The NIR framework was implemented in 2009 to include expected long-term real returns on the government’s net assets managed by GIC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It was a major change from the previous Net Investment Income framework, under which the government could only spend investment income comprising dividends and interest.

Yet, should Singapore not be careful about using its reserves to fund the Budget? Should we not hold on to it for that proverbial rainy day? “But isn’t it the case that future generations are likely to be richer, for one, and, with [total fertility rate] at 1.2, the future generation is going to be a smaller generation [too]?” Low retorts. “So, we’re saving for a future generation that’s likely to be richer and almost certainly a smaller cohort than the baby boom generation. That seems like a regressive transfer of resources.”

He adds, “I think we have a social obligation to reduce inequality. In Singapore’s context, given that the baby boom generation helped to accumulate a large part of our reserves, one way of reducing inequality would be to tap the reserves to fund their needs. Another would be to introduce or increase existing wealth taxes.”

Still, other analysts do not expect the government to make more changes to the NIR framework, at least for now. “I think it’s good policy to use the good times to save up for the future,” says Wan.

How a UK town is coping with less FTs

In Economy on 15/02/2018 at 11:05 am

Harrogate is nice spa town in the North of England.

Its good schools, pretty Victorian terraced houses and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales mean that it frequently tops lists of the best places to live.

In the noughties, FTs flocked there because businesses needed employees to cater to an increase in tourism and other service-related industries. But

Every year since 2012 more foreigners have left Harrogate than have arrived, according to official figures.

As a result wages at the lower end have gone up 9%

Unemployment has fallen to 3.6%, below the national and regional levels, allowing some workers to drive harder bargains. Though real median wages in Harrogate have not changed much since 2014, at the lower end they have risen by 9%.

https://www.economist.com/news/britain/21736178-harrogates-downward-migration-trend-few-years-ahead-britains-how-it-faring

Employers and property owners  are also working smart

Attaching furniture such as bedside tables and toilets to the wall, rather than resting it on the floor, makes cleaning underneath quicker, and might make it possible to employ one cleaner fewer.

Employers are also changing processes and using more machines.

Has lessons for us as the constructive, nation-building media spins the need for FTS by the cattle truck load: How to get S’poreans to welcome mass immigration

 

PAP got a point on welfare programmes

In Economy on 14/02/2018 at 10:26 am

[M]y first wish is that Medishield Life be expanded to cover evidence-based healthcare interventions. I raised this at the IPS dialogue with DPM Teo Chee Hean last month and his response was to cite the classic neoliberal argument* that if you provide free medical care, a “buffet table syndrome” will result. This means that individuals will get all kinds of diseases and treatments just so that they can enjoy the free medical benefits. This is not his fault, it is a widely held belief among health economists from various right wing think tanks primarily in the United States who have advanced this argument.

Dr Paul Tambyah

http://yoursdp.org/news/paul_tambyah_39_s_speech_budget_2018/2018-02-12-6222

(Do read the speech from the only adult in the SDP portiburo. If only Mad Dog would step down and Dr Paul replaces him, the voters perception of SDP would change, enabling the SDP to be the Opposition not the Wankers’ (Or it it “Worthless”?) Party But Mad Dogs don’t do resigning, only biting. Sad.)

The PAP would also make the point that all welfare programmes grow and grow, as expectations rise. This in turn overwhelms other worthy state expenditures. Are they wrong?

Here’s what’s happening in the US

the crucial driver of US indebtedness is not military or discretionary domestic spending. It is the spending on “mandatory” entitlements, primarily social security payments for pensioners and healthcare programmes for the elderly and the poor. Along with interest on the nation’s debt, these make up more than two-thirds of federal spending, a proportion that is expected to grow. In the absence of a debate about how to reduce spending on big entitlements, or how to generate more revenue to support them, political fights like the one just resolved are theatre. They have the potential to do damage if they go wrong, but no chance whatsoever of changing the long-term outlook. The trajectory of the US debt burden is disquieting. The country is headed, by all accounts, for deficits of at least $1tn a year, which amounts to 5 per cent or more of gross domestic product. The total stock of US debt, now standing at 80 per cent of GDP, will pass 100 per cent before a decade is out if current policies are sustained.

FT

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, has just urged Congress to tackle the ballooning national debt, saying it posed a “dire threat” to economic and national security.

Btw, I’m sure Dr Tambyah would consider the FT and the the US intelligence community to be major part of the neoliberal establishment.


*Why you think he started sending potential ministers to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard? Harvard is a another major part of the neoliberal establishment.

Heng, can be PM meh?

In Economy, Political governance on 13/02/2018 at 10:25 am

Two major biz trade groups are publicly very unhappy with Heng’s Industry Transformation Maps. Looks like bizmen and corporate executives don’t think much of the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs), drawn up by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s  Committee on the Future Economy (CFE)

The ITMs, which make up one of the key strategies outlined in the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) report, have come under the spotlight recently amid questions from business and industry leaders about its relevance.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/looking-ahead-to-budget-2018-what-it-could-mean-for-businesses-9943406

And he’s suppose to be a contender to PM? I mean did anyone say that Ah Loong’s economic strategies drawn up when he was a minister or DPM (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different) were anything less than greater than great? He was the Messiah, Moses and Jesus Christ Superstar all rolled into one, even though Ong Teng Cheong was more popular with the masses.

The Association of Banks is one of the unhappy business groups:

At a pre-Budget roundtable organised by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) last month, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, who speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Association of Banks in Singapore, questioned if the ITMs can keep up with the rapid changes in each industry.

“The blueprint and roadmap that you put in place will be outdated by six months so what we have to create is not a transformation roadmap but transformation capabilities,” he said. “We need to take our ITMs to the next level, which is to create the industry’s capacity to experiment and rapidly change.”

Then there’s the Singapore Business Federation

Also speaking at the roundtable, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) CEO Ho Meng Kit noted a disconnect between the ITMs, which are led by Government agencies, and the “realities of the industries”.

He added that he was concerned about the ITMs being developed for the bigger firms and risk leaving out “the long tail of SMEs in the same industry that are not as productive”.

(And btw this is damning for the Ministry of Trade & Industry

According to the SBF’s latest survey, half of the roughly 1,000 businesses surveyed said they still do not know enough about the ITMs to assess their impact*.)

I repeat again:

[H]e’s suppose to be a contender to PM? I mean did anyone say that Ah Loong’s economic strategies drawn up when he was DPM (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different) were anything less than great?

For the record, I predicted many moons ago that Heng would be PM: The next PM has been unveiled.

===================

*Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said on Feb 5 that “it is not possible for the Government to reach out directly” to all enterprises. In a written response to a parliamentary question, Mr Iswaran stressed that unions, trade associations and chambers (TACs) “must help to propagate the message”, while business owners “must also take the initiative to find out more about the ITMs”. He’s got a point that ‘business owners “must also take the initiative to find out more about the ITMs”’.

 

 

 

 

 

Why GDP is magic

In Economy on 08/02/2018 at 11:30 am

 

Recently, I wrote

The 2017 GDP growth of 3.5% was dismissed by anti-PAP types (nutty and sane) saying it’s mainly due to electronics which doesn’t employ many S’poreans because it’s a capital intensive industry. And it gave them the opportunity to diss the focus on GDP growth.

Impt of electronics to S’pore and rest of Asean

Here;s why they have a point on GDP

Magic numbers A lot falls through the cracks when tallying up gross domestic product. The big dumb number ignores the quality of growth. It confuses new technological efficiencies (which sometimes result in job losses) as a slowdown in growth. The more society grows, the less real growth is captured in the digits. (World Economic Forum)

FT’s Due Diligewnce

The link to the WEF piece is titled “5 ways GDP gets it totally wrong as a measure of our success” and is a reprint of an FT article.

Once upon a time thigs were different

Here’s something that came across my FB wall. MTI data shows that growth averaged 10 % p.a. in the 70s, with manufacturing sector’s share of GDP grew from 14 % in 1965 to 24 % by 1978.

Production work was boring but she stayed on because of her close friends in the line. Maryati worked at Rollei in the 1970s and then at Seagate in the 1990s (in the interim she took care of her children).

She became a ‘lead girl’ at Rollei in charge of about 15 operators, and was in fact selected for training in Germany but because she was pregnant she was unable to go.

Maryati’s husband Hassan was a security guard at Rollei from the beginning in 1971 till the company shut down in 1982. They met at Rollei. To my surprise, Hassan had many interesting stories to tell of his time at Rollei.

As Maryati explained, the operators knew production, but security guards knew people.

Hassan became a delivery driver and then a taxi driver when Rollei closed. Maryati was retrenched when Seagate downsized and moved from Ang Mo Kio to Senoko.
It was really good to speak to Malay workers who played a part in Singapore’s industrialisation.

Maryati at her work: for the photos I am thankful Rollei made cameras and she had to test whether they worked!

Theatres of History & Memory: Industrial Heritage of 20th Century Singapore

When strong GDP growth benefited the ordinary worker

How to get S’poreans to welcome mass immigration

In Economy, Political governance, Property on 05/02/2018 at 10:25 am

The calls are getting louder, with more and more voices making the case for Singapore to relook its position on the foreign manpower issue, in the face of a severe demographics slowdown*.

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/big-read-foreigner-issue-are-we-ready-rethink

The above and a similar ST article a few days earlier is evidence that the constructive, nation-building media is again preparing the way for the flood gates to be opened and for FTs to be allowed in by the cattle truck load (not like now by only the A380 or 747 cattle class load).

The stories reminded me also that

“Opposition to immigration is largely cultural and psychological. Policy options will therefore have to address this.”

Eric Kaufmann, professor of politics at Birkbeck University of London, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/why-culture-is-more-important-than-skills-understanding-british-public-opinion-on-immigration/)

Eric Kaufmann was talking about the UK, but what he says also applies here.

So somehow, I think talking in general terms that the economy needs FTs wouldn’t work. Think the Population White Paper (Population White Paper: PAP’s suicide note?) which didn’t convince S’poreans that we need FTs by the cattle-truck load.


A personal view

As I’ve blogged before, FTs by the cattle-truck load is good for me personally because of the wage repression effect, stronger GDP growth, rising property prices etc. But still I’m not even in favour of FTs by the A380 load. I want FTs by the A350 or 787 business class and first class load.

__________________________________________________________

So if the PAP wants to use culture and psychology to get S’poreans to welcome cattle truck-loads of FTs, the constructive, nation-building media should tell S’poreans what will happen to the value of their “affordable” HDB flats that they are paying for via 25-year mortgages, if said FTs are not allowed to come in by cattle truck-loads to beat up taxi uncles and professional women. After all, falling HDB, and private property, prices are a consequence of weak economic growth, which will result from restrictions on immigration: at least according according to the “experts” quoted in the said articles*.

As Moneytheism (particularly the Propery cult) is our religion, the message will sink in very fast that S’pore needs FTs by the cattle-truck load to prevent HDB prices, and private property prices, from collapsing.


*The article goes on

Last December, economists said it may be time to re-look the Government’s stringent immigration policies following a UOB report on Singapore’s “demographic time bomb” which will start ticking next year, when the share of the population who are 65 and over will match that of those under 15 for the first time.

In January, Monetary Authority of Singapore chief Ravi Menon devoted much of his speech at a high-profile conference on the topic, making an impassioned plea for Singapore to “reframe our question on foreign workers”, given the limited scope in raising birth rates and labour force participation rate (LFPR). This was followed by a commentary penned by National University of Singapore (NUS) academics urging the Republic’s universities to admit more international students, in light of falling numbers.

Dr Chua, the Maybank economist, questioned how the targets could be met based on the current workforce size without additional foreign manpower, even after taking into account those who are displaced from positions becoming redundant.

“Manpower policies will need to be fine-tuned…Singapore’s transformation roadmap cannot be fulfilled without some flexibility in its manpower policies,” he said.

Dr Chua reiterated that relaxing foreign manpower restrictions during economic upcycles will allow Singapore to capitalise on growing investments and demand. “If restrictions are too tight, business will choose not to invest in the first place,” he said. “That in turn hurts job creation and opportunities for Singaporeans.”

He added that foreigners also “pay their fair share of taxes and contribute to the overall fiscal position, reducing the tax burden on citizens”.

 

 

Weak productivity: PAP’s Frankensteinian monster

In Economy on 01/02/2018 at 7:16 am

When I read the u/m from Rana Foroohar, a FT columnist that I love to hate (usually so pretentious and full of BS and who refuses to accept that Trump the bum is doing some good), I couldn’t help but think of the S’pore economy which the PAP administration claims it created:

— looking at the “supply side”: all those FTs;

— “capital intensity of the most innovative sectors – like pharma and high tech – is quite low”: pharma and high tech are high on the PAP administration’s wish list of investments that we must have;

— “the most digitally advanced industries – again, software, biotech, etc – aren’t the biggest employers.”: throw in the oil refining and petrochemical industries and that describes to a “T” the industries that are paid and paid to come here; and finally

— “The industries that are labour rich – retail, healthcare, education, public sector – are both tech and productivity poor.”: think of our huge finance sector (13.1% of GDP in 2016). The “retail, healthcare, education, public sector” are all part of any modern economy, so the PAP administration’s can’t be faulted for encouraging their growth.

Here’s what the FT columnist wrote:

According to James Manyika, the head of the McKinsey Global Institute, weak productivity – a real mystery in a time of such dramatic technological change – is down to a cocktail of issues that we aren’t looking at in the right way. First, demand is weak in most parts of the developed world, yet economists studying productivity typically look more at the supply side. Second, the capital intensity of the most innovative sectors – like pharma and high tech – is quite low relative to the past (they just don’t need big factories or expensive equipment). Third, in the past, big productivity gains were seen when the biggest employers made large tech jumps. Yet today, the most digitally advanced industries – again, software, biotech, etc – aren’t the biggest employers. The industries that are labour rich – retail, healthcare, education, public sector – are both tech and productivity poor.

FT

The kind of economy we have

— lots of FTS;

— with capital-intensive hi tech, oil refining and petrochemical industries that don’t need much labour; and

— finance which is labour rich, productivity poor,

was created by the governing party, the PAP, which has ruled since 1959 this de facto one-party state.

And which said party is louding KPKBing has a productivity problem

Which begs the question, “Do PM and his team deserve their millions?”: At 8.38 pm January 8, PM’s pay would pass Ah Beng’s yearly salary.

After all, they created an economy that is inclined towards low productivity.

What do you think?

 

4000% increase if estate duty replaces GST increase

In Economy on 31/01/2018 at 12:47 pm

There’s a lot to talk in cyberspace of reintroducing estate duty in place of a GST rise.

But none of the people proposing the reintroduction of estate duty seems to have gone thru the numbers.

We had estate duty and it brought in

an estimated S$75 million a year — the average annual amount collected before it was scrapped.

Compare that $75m to the rumoured GST rise expected to bring in $3 billion to $3.6 billion a year.

Experts have said they expect the GST to be raised by 2 percentage points to 9 per cent — translating to additional tax revenue of between S$3 billion to S$3.6 billion a year.

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/where-spores-additional-tax-revenue-could-come-experts

So do the people who propose the return of estate duty really expect estate duty to be raised from its previous level so that it can replace the GST increase? From $75m to $3bn means a humongous increase: 4000%.

Did they do their sums? Did they analyse where $3bn a year in estate duty can come from? Is it targeted only at the super rich or is it across the board? And, if the latter, will S’poreans want such a high estate duty tax? And if targeted at the super rich, have the proposers taken into account the lumpiness of the tax. When there was such a tax, one year there was a big jump because Khoo Teck Puat died.

Or as usual, are the proposers: juz talking cock and singing song? They only want to show S’poreans that cybernuts don’t do their homework before opening their asses to fart?

There could be a case to revive estate duty as a means of redistributing income, but that is a different story from reviving it and increasing it by 4000% from the previous level to avoid an increase in the GST rate.

 

 

See who’s telling govt to control healthcare costs/ What we be should be KPKBing about

In Economy, Public Administration on 25/01/2018 at 11:08 am

This guy from DBS has the right idea: govt should control costs of households esp in healthcare

Controlling costs for households, especially healthcare costs, would also help moderate government spending on subsidies and rebates.

DBS senior economist Irvin Seah says: “No matter how much we increase healthcare subsidies, it will never be enough if costs are not kept in check.”

The cost of healthcare has been rising inexorably. Between 2011 and 2016, Singapore’s average annual healthcare inflation rate was 2.4 per cent, compared to an average of 1.6 per cent among developed countries.

“There is an urgent need to review the current cost structure of the healthcare system,” Mr Seah adds.

ST: Do taxes in Singapore really need to go up?

Thw point about keeping costs down was also made last week in a letter published in ST. Getting the PAP administration to keep down costs is what S’poreans should be KPKBing about.

But the letter writer is wrong about there being no free lunch available. Think of the reserves, especially the returns. It’s billions of lunches being hoarded.

Chris K posted on FB

 Heartening. Despite the govie jawboning about increase in taxes and trying its damnest not to talk about the other way to meet higher expenditures, tapping more earnings from the reserves, 40% preferred tapping the reserves versus 34% favouring tax increases.

He was referring to the IPS study highlighted in http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/most-singaporeans-believe-family-and-government-should-take-care-elderly-poll

To sum up: S’poreans should demand that the PAP administration strive to keep costs down while spending more of the income from the reserves on S’poreans. Jam today: Welfare: Jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today.

And we should also KPKB that the PAP’s definition of budget deficit is not one used by IMF and Western countries. For starters, it excludes land sales only half of the returns from the reserves is included, so the last sentence in this piece is a lot of rubbish.

Credit Suisse economist Michael Wan predicted that annual government spending will rise by a further 1.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, driven by infrastructure projects, higher social expenditure, and measures to transform the economy. If the Government does not raise its revenue, it could run into a deficit of between 0.3 per cent and 1.4 per cent of GDP by that year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Do taxes in Singapore really need to go up?”/ ST trying to change its spots?

In Economy, Public Administration on 24/01/2018 at 7:15 am

“Do taxes in Singapore really need to go up?”is the title of an article in the constructive, nation-building ST.

But it looks as though it’s trying hard to no longer be constructive and nation-building.

In the article, it quotes Maybank Kim Eng economist Chua Hak Bin as saying

“It is quite remarkable that Singapore, with one of the highest saving rates in the world (at 48 per cent of gross domestic product) and fiscal reserves, still needs to increase taxes.

“The risk is that higher taxes may weigh on growth, which could lead to lower tax revenue collection as a result. Singapore’s low-tax regime has been historically a reason for its success, its attractiveness as a business hub and a vibrant city that draws talent.”

Taz no exactly what the PAP expects to hear from it’s No 1 loudhailer.

But taz not all, it further quotes him as saying that the govt should target subsidies more effectively.

For instance, the Pioneer Generation healthcare package should have been more targeted towards those who needed help most (by housing type or income), rather than a blanket scheme for everyone aged above 65, suggests Maybank Kim Eng’s Dr Chua.

http://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/do-taxes-in-singapore-really-need-to-go-up

Now taz criticising the PAP adminstration’s signature policy, and it’s across the board schemes

Whatever, my mum for one is not impressed by this suggestion. She’s one of those who he thinks that she doesn’t deserve her “freebies”.

Btw Mr Chua is a M’sian. His dad is a fat cat who owns a finance co.

Connecting SMRT failures, 4th gen ministers & change of PM

In Economy, Political governance on 22/01/2018 at 8:16 am

This headline

All EWL stations to see early closures, late openings on weekends and select weekdays in March

(CNA)

reminded me of the failure of the PAP administration to ensure that the trains run on time*. I mean even that incompetent World War II dictator, Mussolini, ensured that Italian trains ran on time.

This failure is more significant than just the loss of output legitimacy (PAP has lost “output legitimacy”) because the PAP is talking about a change of leaders and the importance of trust.

People would also give their trust when they see the Government has been “responsible, anticipates and are responsive in meeting their needs” and there is an overall improvement in their lives, Mr Chan said.

The minister added: “Some policies take longer to bring forth results and the population may feel impatient.

“Each generation of leaders would therefore need to be consultative yet nimble in meeting these needs while managing finite resources responsibly. These are important so that we do not face a trust deficit, and run the risk of citizens disconnecting with or being disenfranchised by the government.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/chan-chun-sing-lays-out-key-leadership-qualities-needed-for-9852508

The problem for Kee Chui and other potential PMs is that the trust (partly based on output legitimacy”) S’poreans have for the PAP leaders is based on Harry, Dr Goh and gang did. The PAP has been living on (literally withdrawing yearlymillions of dollars) the trust in the bank trust account that these guys put in.

But the fourth generation ministers have not put much trust in the trust bank (OK, OK, same for GCT and Ah Loong and their gangs but that’s another story).

In fact, they could have cost losses to the bank account

— a possible future PM,  Ong Ye Kung, can be blamed for three problems: low productivity, labour unhappiness and SMRT breakdowns.

— Heng, the probable next PM, is linked to the minibond and DBS HN5 note losses (He was MD of the central bank at the time: Helping retail investors: the HK way and the S’pore way).

And worse, there’s not that much left in the bank account after the SMRT cock-ups and PE 2017 fiasco.

True, the 4th gen ministers have avoided getting involved in the SMRT mess. But that shows that they were not trusted to get involved in such an important matter affecting the lives of ordinary S’poreans.

Trust? What trust, Kee Chui?

What’s more, in a one-party state, the party in charge can’t be seen to incompetent, and the SMRT fiascos clearly show that there’s something wrong with the way the PAP does things. So that’s yet another problem for the 4th gen team.

But then could the failings of the 4th generation leaders be the excuse for the 3rd gen leaders in the cabinet to skip a generation and bring in a young, IT savvy guy as the PM in waiting? Names please on a post card?

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*SMRT said on Friday (Jan 19) that its board has confidence in the company’s management team and the ongoing efforts to enhance management, operational and maintenance capabilities.

CNA

The report went on

A Straits Times report on Thursday said that Mr Nathan has resigned and is serving out his notice. It also said that “observers are expecting chief executive Desmond Kuek to step down as well”. It did not specify which observers it was referring to or why they expect this to happen.

SMRT has been under pressure from the public and the government in recent months after a series of high-profile incidents, including the train collision at Joo Koon station in November which left more than 30 people injured, and the flooding of a section of a tunnel in October which caused prolonged delays.

 

Impt of electronics to S’pore and rest of Asean

In Economy on 16/01/2018 at 2:13 pm

The 2017 GDP growth of 3.5% was dismissed by anti-PAP types (nutty and sane) saying it’s mainly due to electronics which doesn’t employ many S’poreans because it’s a capital intensive industry. And it gave them the opportunity to diss the focus on GDP growth.

True but it’s mainstay of the our economic growth, despite us (and this region generally) missing out on the growth in Smartphone electronics: Missed smartphone boom, planners thinking about 2025. We are part of the PC ecosystem. The Android and Apple ecosystems are in North Asia (China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan).

MTI minister Iswaran said that the country’s electronics manufacturing sector is expected to create a total of 2,100 new jobs for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) by 2020. Moreover, the sector also accounted for 4.4% of GDP last year, generating a total of S$90 billion in manufacturing output.

Electronics is also a mainstay of the other countries in the region.

According to the ASEAN Secretariat, Thailand’s electronic assembly bases consisted of over 2,300 companies and employed 400,000 workers. Thus, the country is recognised as a global leader in production of integrated circuits, semiconductors, and hard drives. Thailand is also the world’s fourth largest producer of refrigerators and second largest for air-conditioning units.

The Philippines is also a top producer of hard drives and semiconductors. The country is presently supplying the world with 2.5m hard drives per month and also represents 10% of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing services.

Malaysia’s electronics and electrical sector has more than 1,695 companies with a total investment of US$35.5bn.

Vietnam’s electronics industry is the third largest in ASEAN and the country is the 12th largest exporter in the world. Intel has a major plant there.

Indonesia, is also an electronic manufacturing hub with more than 250 companies. Myanmar is also set to compete in labour-intensive industries, taking advantage of its low employee costs.

Why S’pore’s fintech ambitions won’t go far

In Economy on 16/01/2018 at 5:33 am

Too much wishful thinking combined with motherhood BS from the authorities.

The head of Singapore’s central bank said on Monday he hoped the technologies underpinning cryptocurrencies such as blockchain would not be undermined by an eventual crash in the digital money.
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-central-bank-head-hopes-cryptocurrency-tech-will-survive–crash–9861880

And

Menon added that he would not rule out the possibility of the MAS issuing a cryptocurrency directly to the public but that he was not sure it was a good idea.

This reminded me that in mid November last yr, he told the Financial Times that S’pore only wants good initial coin offerings: MAS was “very keen’’ to facilitate fundraising through “good” initial coin offerings.

HE said it  wanted to use its “regulatory sandbox” approach — created to experiment with financial innovations in a controlled environment with regulatory reliefs for a limited period of time — as a testing ground for good ICOs.

Problem is that the way he defines a good ICO means that there’s no incentive for anyone to want to raise money because the there’s no money to be made by investors or the fund raiser.

Seriously, this is what he said on what is a “goods” ICO.

He identified two kinds of good ICOs that could prosper under an MAS regulatory environment created last year that was designed to support financial innovation. Mr Menon said one type was a transaction that did not promise a return linked to the financial performance of the issuing company, and was not designed as a speculative bet on the cryptocurrency being used.

“What makes a security a security is basically a promise; a promise to share in the economic interest of your enterprise,” he said. “If you can find a model of crowd funding that doesn’t involve that, then you are not regulated at all.”

Wow work for free isit? While ministers ands senior bureaucrats make millions in salaries?Manna ada logic?

AS I said before, in S’pore, fintech is about making the local banks more efficent and entrenched, not diarupting the banks. Bit like the 10% of S’porean voters who vote Oppo to make sure the PAP listens to them.

 

PM doesn’t tell us what a great country looks like

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 14/01/2018 at 1:28 pm

Neither does ST nor any other constructive, nation-building publication or channel tell us what makes a country stable, safe, fair, providing its citizens with a good quality of life.

But first. Did you know thatWorld Economic Forum ranks S’pore 55th out of 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap report? No wonder the wimmin with hairy armpits at AWARE are always anti-PAP.

Sorry, coming back to the title

If you’re looking for what makes a country great, it seems, don’t look at its GDP or unemployment rate. Look at its commitment to its citizens – and how long it’s stuck to that commitment for.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180111-how-can-you-measure-what-makes-a-country-great

The BBC article says

So what can make for these strong underpinnings – the kind that help make a country stable, safe, fair and provide its citizens with a good quality of life?

The main factors seem to be two. Whether it’s social progress or overall quality of governance that a country is after, the important things seem to be the level of commitment to those institutions… and the amount of time it’s had them.

“We measure outcomes, not inputs: you can’t change your social progress just by changing the law or spending a bit of money. So a long-term commitment to social progress seems to be one factor” of success, Green says.

Similarly, Botero points out, countries that have developed robust government institutions over a long period of time – like the US or UK – have been in less danger of losing those protections.

Want to grow SMEs? Identify well managed SMEs

In Accounting, Corporate governance, Economy on 09/01/2018 at 9:55 am

In 2018, another bad yr for SMEs, I took a cheap shot at Inderjit Singh and Jack Sim because they, Tay Kheng Soon and the other usual suspects last yr came up with yet another a wish list for SMEs (See below). Nothing really new in the list.

I think rather than banging their heads against the wall, asking “More money PAP” they should rethink their entire approach about wanting more tax payers money to be thrown at SMEs.

Since, Turban and Toilet Men keep saying the govt should start thinking out of the box, maybe they should set a good example and stop banging their turban and head, respectively, against the banks’ and govt doors, and think of creative ways that they, with the help of the govt can help SMEs.

Here’s three constructive, nation-building suggestions.

One is persuading the govt to allow HDB flats to be used as collateral for loans.

In HDB flat: Dead Capital, I wrote

And the PAP administration KPKBs about the need to create an entrepreneurial, risk taking society? Entrepreneurs need funding and banks and other financial institutions need collateral when making risky loans. And property is the best collateral. No collateral no funding.

They should also try to granulate the SME universe i.e classify the SMEs into different categories by turnover, staff seize or other criteria they think relevant and then focus on what categories need what help. And where to prioritise

Let me explain. SMEs cover a wide spectrum.

Small Medium Enterprises (SME) in Singapore are defined as companies with at least 30% local shareholding, group annual sales turnover of less than $100 million or group employment size of not more than 200 workers (Skills Connect, 2013). Out of 180,000 SME’s in Singapore, 70% of them have a turnover of less than a million and commonly referred to as micro-SME’s (Scully, 2014).

http://sdh.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Embracing-Structured-Internship-1.pdf

For a start this means subcategorising the 30%, then the 70%, so that a nuanced, granular view of the SME universe is possible. This will help policy makers etc analyse the group better, and hopefully lead to better policies to help SMEs.

Related to this segmentation is the need to create some kind of quality assurance mark to help credit providers and equity investors differentiate the sheep from the goats. 

As I’ve said before, I’ve given up investing in listed SMEs because. in the main, the management of listed SMEs are determined to reward the controlling shareholders (management) rather than create shareholder value for investors. Family members (daughters-in-law for example) are paid do nothing, while sons are overpaid to do simple jobs.

And as these SMEs go thru a vetting process before they are listed. What more about the vast majority of SMEs?

And that’s before the suspicion especially for non listed SMEs that the accounts are “fake” and that external financing for the business will find their way into the owners’ pockets. Hence all those personal guarantees that the banks ask for.

Even SME champion Inderjit Singn has privately conceded that there are badly run SMEs, though one of his pals told Chris K, when asked by Chris K, how many SMEs are really professionally and competently run,”We are not here to moralise issues”. 

But as Chris K  points out when commenting on commenting on a story about $40 million of bogus SkillsFuture claims

giving grants or providing soft financing to firms that are not professionally and competently run is a moral hazard.

While there are various platforms for SMEs to raise funds from suckers investors, there’s a need for good ways that financiers and investors can use to identify “good” SMEs. True there’s a SME credit agency (https://www.dpgroup.com.sg/smecreditrating/), but it ain’t enough.

So Turban and Toilet Men should be thinking of creating and administrating a methodology that can identify well run SMEs. An SME can then approach the organisation administering the methodology and for a fee get certified as a well run SME. If it fails to get certified, it and the certifier keep quiet, ensuring that the matter remains private and confidential.

Investors and financiers can then feel more comfortable when “certified” SMEs approach them for funds.

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SME wish list

  • Creating a single government agency focused on helping SMEs and start-ups with growth, financing and internationalisation;
  • Improving access to debt and equity financing by setting up institutions like an SME bank and a private equity exchange;
  • Setting up a cost competitiveness committee to address rising business and living costs;
  • Helping SMEs manage the cost of industrial rent and land by increasing the share of industrial space owned by JTC;
  • Making it easier for companies and research institutes to commercialise intellectual property, for instance by introducing short-term licensing; and
  • Introducing a minimum wage scheme tied to compulsory regular upgrading of skills.