Singapore had 73 total berth moves per hour in 2013 .http://www.joc.com/sites/default/files/u48502/Charts/Singapore-Transshipments.jpg
Singapore had 73 total berth moves per hour in 2013 .http://www.joc.com/sites/default/files/u48502/Charts/Singapore-Transshipments.jpg
Likewise stocks with sustainable, decent dividend yields like Temasek’s Fab 5
“The Fed rate projections have been significantly lowered over a three-year horizon. This points to a later lift-off,” FT quotes a BNP Paribas economist.
In simpler English:
“The Fed is in no rush,” said Ward McCarthy, chief US economist at Jefferies.
“At the current juncture, the timing of the liftoff is still indeterminate and will depend upon the inflation data. The policy statement eliminated the use of ‘patient’ in forward guidance, but the FOMC also described the new forward guidance as being “consistent” with the prior forward guidance.”
He added: “The word ‘patient’ was removed, but the meaning of patient remained.” (BBC)
Or as Reuters puts it: The Federal Reserve on Wednesday moved a step closer to hiking rates for the first time since 2006, but downgraded its economic growth and inflation projections, signaling it is in no rush to push borrowing costs to more normal levels.
Govt wants higher inflation.
– Singapore’s consumer price index fell 0.4 percent year-on-year in January, its biggest decline since December 2009. Core inflation in January was 1 percent, the weakest since March 2010. (Reuters)
— Singapore’s headline inflation rate fell into negative territory in both November and December, leading to Q4 2014 inflation of -0.1 per cent.
For all of 2014, consumer price inflation fell to 1 per cent from 2.4 per cent in 2013, as housing and car prices eased.
- Core inflation – which excludes accommodation and private transport costs – rose to 1.9 per cent in 2014, from 1.7 per cent in 2013. But this too, has eased in recent months.
- In 2015, the authorities expect headline inflation and core inflation to ease further due to low global oil prices. Also, businesses’ ability to pass on higher wage costs to consumers may be constrained by slow growth, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said.
– See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/snapshot-the-singapore-economy#sthash.ey1FvGyA.dpuf
[B]road and persistent deflation is not a healthy thing for a modern economy. It will make big debts harder for households and governments to repay. Think of the mortgages and the monies owing to CPF account holders if there is deflation.
A more effective way is to increase GST rates. And GST rises are coming soon say a tax expert, constructive, nation-building MediaCorp and junior minister for finance Jos Teo. We must ask loudly and at every appropriate opportunity :“After GE, will the PAP administration raise GST rates and by how much?”
The answer, we should want to hear is what Tharman said in 2011 about future GST rises:“As Finance Minister, I have made that very clear in Parliament that at least for the next five years – it does not mean we will raise it in five years’ time – but at least for five years, there is absolutely no reason to raise the GST, because this was the whole idea – we strengthen our revenue base in time. (CNA)
So says tax expert: PricewaterhouseCoopers tax partner Koh Soo How … said any hike would probably take place in 2016 or 2017*. (CNA last week)
And constructive, nation-building MediaCorp:While the Government has raised income tax rates for top earners in Singapore for a more progressive tax system, taxes paid by a broader swathe of Singaporeans, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), will probably go up in the coming years to pay for social spending, said tax experts and economists.
The GST could go up after next year to 9 or 10 per cent, in line with the Asia-Pacific average. Other taxes the Government could raise include consumption taxes, stamp duties and property taxes, they said. (CNA)
Err, wonder if Mr Koh and the MediaCorp executives are secretly rooting for the SDP which said around the same time:The people must also beware that while the Government makes these concessions before the elections, it can always make the money back after the next GE through a myriad of taxes, fees and levies.
Is Jos Teo also a subversive and secret SDP member?
Jos Teo double confirms GST rise?
At a forum on 26 Feb organised by government feedback unit Reach to discuss Budget 2015, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo said that Singapore is in the unusual position of being able to tap more sources of revenue to fund its increased spending needs.
“Many other countries around the world actually need additional revenue sources to help pay for programmes that benefit citizens, but not that many have the courage to raise taxes,” she added.
“But we think that it is the responsible thing to do.”
Seriously, it’s very, very important, as I said last week, to ask loudly and at every appropriate opportunity :“After GE, will the PAP administration raise GST rates and by how much?”
The answer, we should want to hear is what Tharman said in 2011 about future GST rises:“As Finance Minister, I have made that very clear in Parliament that at least for the next five years – it does not mean we will raise it in five years’ time – but at least for five years, there is absolutely no reason to raise the GST, because this was the whole idea – we strengthen our revenue base in time. (CNA)
If we don’t get this answer, then we can expect GST rises after the GE, as sure as Zorro smiles at his monthly CPF statement everytime he receives it.
If we get this answer , then this lady is right:Ernst & Young Solutions head of tax Chung-Sim Siew Moon does not expect a hike in the GST before 2020. “The minister has indicated that the revenue measures that have been put in place will be sufficient for the increased planning needs until the end of the decade,” she noted.
But in the long term, we have to be be realistic if we want more welfare for the born-loser cybernuts who expect something while biting the hand that feeds them: Nanyang Technological University economist and Assistant Professor Walter Theseira said taxpayers can expect to pay more in the medium and long term, with higher-income earners contributing a larger share. The proceeds can fund social initiatives to help the unemployed, and support medical expenses and retirement provisions for middle- and lower-income groups.
“After GE, will the PAP administration raise GST rates and by how much?”
After all, an ally and cheer leader of the PAP administration wrote about the Budget:
Mr Tharman flagged this gap … about the 1 percentage point projected gap between long-term revenues and long-term spending. The latter is tipped to go up to 19 to 19.5 per cent of GDP from now, as Singapore opens its coffers to spend on health care, retirees, and on infrastructure and investment in education. The former hovers around 18 to 18.5 per cent of GDP.
How to make up the shortfall of about 1 per cent of GDP?
This is a structural issue that will have resonance beyond this Budget.*
As it’s unlikely that the Wayang Party will raise the issue about the rise in GST rates after the GE in Parly* because it may still be hoping to curry favour with the MIW by not asking difficult questions, responsible bloggers and cyber-warriors should ask the question.
So should all voters (pro PAP or anti-PAP alike, GST affects everyone) who meet their PAP MPs and their
PA grassroot hangers-on when they come to lobby for votes. Especially when the MPs and hangers-on boast of all the goodies voters are getting, parroting a gushing a PAP apologist, if ever there was one,who wrote in ST:.
I tried frantically to keep up with noting down the giveaways as Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam reeled them off as he announced the Budget 2015. …
All in, it can be said to be a sensible yet generous Budget, albeit at the expense of the very high-income. It may disappoint those who wanted a big SG50 Bonus to celebrate the nation’s Jubilee. But it does give out a mass hongbao to all Singaporeans, via top-ups to education funds for children and students, and via the new $500 SkillsFuture Credit for workers. – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/columns/story/singapore-budget-2015-7-reasons-why-years-robin-hood-budget-matters-20150#sthash.CK7uOl8a.0xjbXaNf.dpuf
The answer we want to hear is what Tharman said in 2011
Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has reiterated that the goods and services tax (GST) will not be raised for at least another five years …“As Finance Minister, I have made that very clear in Parliament that at least for the next five years – it does not mean we will raise it in five years’ time – but at least for five years, there is absolutely no reason to raise the GST, because this was the whole idea – we strengthen our revenue base in time. (CNA)
And finally let’s remember that all this money the PAP administration is throwing at us is our money, not that of the PAP’s administration.
*Yes, Yes I know: Mr Tharman has a way to close that 1 per cent gap: Use projected long-term returns from Temasek Holdings.
The Net Investment Return formula framework was implemented in 2009. He said: “Under the framework, the Government is allowed to spend up to 50 per cent of the expected long term real returns on its net assets managed by MAS and GIC.”
Temasek was left out as it was undergoing a major change in investment strategy. Mr Tharman said it was a good time to add Temsek to the mix.
So this Budget is important for signalling the long-term gap in revenue and spending.
It is also significant for using a new framework that allows Singapore to tap a wider pool of money from expected investment returns on its reserves into the future.
“The move will bolster our fiscal resources at a time when we have to fund long-term critical infrastructure and develop the human talent and capabilities to secure our future.”- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/columns/story/singapore-budget-2015-7-reasons-why-years-robin-hood-budget-matters-20150#sthash.CK7uOl8a.0xjbXaNf.dpuf
Doubtless, the cybernuts will say that their heloo, Roy the Hooligan is responsible for this change in govt policy, though I’m sure s/o JBJ would dispute this, saying Tharman stole his idea.
But do remember that the other cybernuts’ hero Ong Teng Cheong wanted all the returns from the resreves locked away for good. It’s in the DNA of the PAP to make life tough for us. So unless we get the PAP to rule out a GST increase after the election, we could get screwed.
This is what a FT based here says: Ten years ago, the Singapore’s preferred choice would have been to raise its goods and services tax. Levies on consumption are easier to collect and less flighty than the incomes of high-earning expatriates. But that option is now politically infeasible. The People’s Action Party, which has ruled Singapore throughout its 50-year history as an independent nation and must call an election by January 2017, is wary of upsetting voters.
But this cock (Trash?) forgets that the administration can raise GST after the GE, if no-one holds its feet to the fire on the issue in the run up to the GE.
**Mrs Chiam may have other issues that she thinks are more important and this batch of NMPs are not the kind to rock the boat. And I don’t blame them, if the co-driver (each MP getting $15,000 a month) sets a bad example, what can one expect?
Pay ministers millions for this type of economic management?
What do you think?
The u/m aricle in early Feb reminded me of something I read last yr about an SME bank in the UK
DBS Bank has launched a programme to provide financing to technology start-ups and expand capital-raising options for technopreneurs.
Tech start-ups can tap the new DBS venture debt programme for working capital, buying fixed assets and even project financing*.
Our SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are always KPKBing money not enough. Govt says got plenty of schemes. Why no use? SMEs reply that terms too stringent, and the people administering the schemes are clueless about their businesses. .
Well the UK, where SMEs too are cocal in complaining about funding, has the British Business Bank. It does things differently
BBB devolves responsibility for choosing its investments to private-sector expertise by allowing the Angel CoFund board, composed of independent bankers and investors, to make the investment decisions. “This is a financial strategy to complement the government’s industrial strategy”, says Mr Morgan. It also uses the expertise of peer-to-peer lenders like Funding Circle, to which it has given £40m. Mr Morgan says the bank can thereby avoid crowding out the private sector. Its investments are always in the equity of a business, but it never takes a majority share.
*To qualify, tech start-ups must be backed by DBS’s partner venture capitalists, who include Vertex Venture, Monk’s Hill Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures. They should have raised at least $1 million of Series A funding, been in operation for at least a year, been incorporated for at least two years and have demonstrated that their business model is commercially viable.
“Start-ups in Singapore primarily rely on venture capital to fund their operations,” DBS said in a statement on Thursday.
A Hard Truth is that mandatory entitlements are bad for S’pore because costs will escalate and there will be a subsidy is good and necessary mentality.. These two facts show that this isn’t BS. There is some basis
— Since 1963- mandatory spending (on welfare and other entitlements) as % of the Federal budget has more than doubled in the US
— There is an assumption among Western left -leaning liberals and socialists that subsidies to interest groups are a necessary function of government ; that cuts are an unthinkable personal injury rather than a judgement about the rights of taxpayers relative to transfer recipients.
The other Hard Truth is that a shrinking population is not good: FTs (even if they are trash) are needed. Even Japan is thinking of allowing mass immigration.
The reports say the figure being mooted is 200,000 foreigners a year.An advisory body to Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, said opening the immigration drawbridge to that number would help stabilise Japan’s population—at around 100m (from its current 126.7m).
Interestingly Japan is trying to increase fertility S’pore style Last year a 20-member panel under the ministryproduced a desperate wish list to reduce what it calls “deterrents” to marriage and child rearing. It included a proposal to assign gynaecologists to patients on a lifelong basis and even to provide financial support for unmarried Japanese who undertake “spouse-hunting” projects.
BTW, this obviously doesn’t apply here
One of the first things Japan would need to do, says Kathy Matsui, chief Japan equity strategist at Goldman Sachs in Tokyo, is make it easier for mothers to work. “Evidence shows that work-forces with a higher female participation rate also have higher birth rates,” she says.
In S’pore, women too are wage slaves: “affordable” public housing makes this a necessity.
All animals and slaves are equal.
Esp in SMEs: They are not daft.
The latest figures show the manufacturing sector contracted by 2% in the same period, a reversal of the 1.7% expansion seen in the previous quarter. On a quarterly basis, manufacturing contracted by 5.8%, the MTI said.
And this very late Dec CNA report paints a gloomy picture of the sector. Better not to work, rely on parents and KPKBed against PAP administration in cyberspace?
The Republic’s manufacturing sector has been undergoing a transition as manufacturers seek to revamp their businesses and move up the value chain. With an uneven global economic outlook, analysts have said growth in the sector could continue to remain depressed.
This year, Singapore manufacturers continued to grapple with rising labour costs and structural shifts in the economy.
Some firms are starting to look ahead, in the hope that regional initiatives such as the ASEAN Economic Community could unlock more opportunities.
Mr Douglas Foo, president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, said: “It continues a work in progress in terms of transformation. With the ASEAN Economic Community 2015, there will be on-stream a lot more harmonisation within the whole ASEAN community, and that actually creates a huge opportunity because right now, there are a lot of different barriers, trade barriers and different types of areas which people have to manage and work with in terms of challenges.”
“But with that push at the top end to move and try to harmonise the whole ASEAN Economic Community, I think the manufacturing (sector) will have a very key potential in playing a much bigger role in how you place yourself within that bigger ecosystem,” Mr Foo added.
Electronics – a mainstay of manufacturing – accounts for almost a quarter of output annually. However, the cluster has remained sluggish in 2014, partly due to a global shift in technological preferences from computers to mobile devices.
Economists said restructuring efforts and a concerted shift toward manufacturing services are especially critical for the cluster if it wants to remain relevant.
Mr Francis Tan, an economist from United Overseas Bank, said: “Increasingly, we are seeing semiconductor firms transforming themselves, no longer making the product in Singapore but doing a lot more higher value-added services in Singapore.”
“By that I mean looking at things like research and development, or design or even looking at the logistics distribution or product testing capabilities, and these are actually the kind of services that will attract even higher value-add. And if you attracting even higher value-add, it means you are seeing an increase in the labour productivity, and I think in the long term, this is a good strategy and a good way to go,” he added.
ECONOMISTS WARN OF POSSIBLE PERIOD OF MUTED GROWTH
Looking ahead, economists said an uneven global recovery going into next year would continue to weigh on the manufacturing sector.
With the majority of manufacturing going to Singapore’s external economy, they warned that if global conditions do not pick up, the sector could be in for a period of muted growth.
Ms Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, said: “If you still continue to see that uneven growth and demand trajectory you saw in 2014, then you are going to see some of these pockets of volatility in the manufacturing sector.”
“So I am cautiously optimistic but I will not say I am really optimistic about manufacturing per se, because I think the growth story for Singapore going forward is going to be one that is fairly steady, but not quite spectacular. So you will not get any outperformers on a sectoral basis like what manufacturing used to do in the past recoveries,” she added.
Manufacturing remains a key pillar for Singapore, contributing almost 20 per cent of the country’s GDP. In the third quarter of this year, the sector grew 1.9 per cent year-on-year, mainly driven by the biomedical and chemicals sectors.
CNA 26 December 2014
“We have to move on because I don’t think we can tie ourselves to the past forever. The past is there for us to learn from, not for us to be shackled by,”Ms Aung San Suu Kyi recently said to the FT.
The Hard Truths are all about individual responsibility, selfless collective effort (example: LKY’s and other of the old guards’ salaries), lean social security and growth over distribution (growing the pie, not slicing it or eating it: waz the point of not eating it, juz growing it, I must ask?),
Whatever, Hard Truths were the basis of a successful social contract: S’poreans’ voting for and acquiescing in an authoritarian one-party (defacto) state in return for material prosperity. The critics of the social contract like JBJ and Dr Chee argued (when they were rational and not on ego trips) that the cost was too high: an elected government that captures the courts, silences media critics and tinkers with the constitution to perpetuate its rule.
It was a winning formula notwithstanding their rants (or should they be prophetic warnings?) because many S’potreans (think me, despite having voted Oppo all my life because I tot PAP hegemony would not be good for the PAP and S’pore) judged that the PAP way as the right way to “get on and better ourselves”. After all Dr Chee and JBJ were upper middle crusts, not middle, middle class, lower middle class or working class. The latter even sent his kids to a posh English private school that prided it on turning out upper class English gents. To be fair to him and his sons, the boys didn’t go to the really posh schools, Eton, Winchester or Westminster. They went to a school more akin to St Andrews, where JBJ studied. As for Dr chee, he attended ACS: need I say more?
But, snide remarks aside, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.” (Alfred Tennyson,”Morte D’Arthur”).
The facts have changed. That social contract – optimal for places with young populations, rapid growth, full employment, and rising real wages – “would not be sufficient to ensure equitable and inclusive growth in the face of the changes unleashed by globalization, rapid technological change, and our own policies,” argued five economists in a paper released Monday on the IPS website. The authors include academics and former senior civil servants who carry significant heft in policy-making circles, including Manu Bhaskaran, a partner at consultancy Centennial Group and adjunct research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Donald Low, a former senior bureaucrat at Singapore’s finance ministry; Tan Kim Song, an economics professor at the Singapore Management University; and Yeoh Lam Keong, former chief economist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.
Analysts widely believe that the days of double- and high single-digit growth rates year-in, year-out are things of the past; Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently said the city-state would do well to average annual growth of over 3% in the coming decade.
In simple English these five were saying (my translation), “What is happening now is that ordinary people no longer have a sense that improving one’s lot in life is possible. Many S’poreans find themselves stuck, not getting on, doing their best not to go backwards.” They were like the Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass:running frantically to stay in place.
These economists were making public in 2012 an argument that has been around since the late 1990s and early noughties. Something that s/o JBJ should remember when he claims that his ideas are being “borrowed” by the PAP: there is nothing new under the sun.
Happily for those of us who do not a one-party state, the PAP instead of listening continued to repeat, even louder, the Hard Truths of one LKY, especially the one on FTs being the future.
The PAP forget that politics is all about adapting to changing circumstances and navigating change. It was a deep intellectual failure of the PAP to understand and adapt to changed circumstances. It continued with its politics of growing the pie but not allowing people to eat more.
In 2014, we had Hard Choices. Two Singaporeans, Donald Low (the same as the one mentioned above) and Sudhir Vadaketh, published a book that argued against the way the PAP govt provides housing and social support, and questioned how it has dealt with values such as meritocracy and identity.
At the launch of “Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus”, they said they wanted to encourage us to question the public policy beliefs and practices that had become hard truths.
Low said: “We think that policymakers, and Singaporeans in general, should be less guided by hard truths, the ideologies, policies and practices that have served us well in the past 30 to 40 years, and be more guided by this idea that perhaps there are few hard truths, there are very few eternal truths.
“The far more meaningful debate we should be having is what are the choices we realistically have.”
One such choice is whether Singapore must be a global city, said Vadaketh. He said the antagonism towards foreigners in Singapore is a result of tensions between those who see Singapore as a global city with a global identity and those who want it to have a more local identity. I would disagree with him here, it’s more about the belief that FTs help repress the wages of local PMETs and the PAP’s administration ignoringpeople’s concerns about the impact on wages and employmentof an FT flood.
Mr Low and Mr Vadaketh wrote most of the 15 essays in the book, which also includes contributions from Dr Linda Lim, professor of strategy at the University of Michigan, and Dr Thum Ping Tjin, research fellow at the Asia Research Institute in NUS.
Mr Low hoped for a return of “the debate that used to characterise the Singapore Government” He referred to a 1972 speech by former deputy prime minister Goh Keng Swee that raised concerns over Singapore’s continued reliance on foreign investments and foreign workers for economic growth. “I think we have regressed,” because debate had been “sucked out of the system” because of the Government’s success.
I disagree with him here. Unlike the likes of Dr Goh, Ngiam Tong Dow, Pillay, Howe Yoon Chong, the younger ministers and senior civil ,servants are more Catholic than the pope. They had to: who chose them to succeed the old guard, ministers and senior civil servants?
But let’s not think that the PAP is doomed like the dodo.
Bear in mind that Donald Low is the associate dean for executive education and research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Yeoh Lam Keong* is an an adjunct professor there too (in the days of Hard Truths), they’d be in exile to avoid the ISD) and that Hard Choices saw the light of day (would have been banned)
Finally, pls note the policies advocated in Hard Choices are not too dissimilar in spirit and outline from those that the SDP is proposing (spin on the latest version). They are about
— whether people’s hard work would be rewarded by an improvement in their living standards (or how o make surepeople who worked hard to build a good life for their families got a fair deal); and
— controlling the quantity and quality of people that come into S’pore (which incidentally is a primary duty of government that this PAP administration has seemingly forgotten).
*One of above five and former chief economist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corp
Top destinations for foreign direct investment in 2014
Money keeps on rolling in despite what the anti-PAP cyber warriors claim about mismanagement of the economy. And it’s not “hot” money but the most desirable type
And since I’m smiling while looking at my bank and CPF statements, he (and Tharman and others) must really must doing something right. I’m juz not grateful, isit? And 40% of voters are like me?
As the charts below show, real interest rates here are still +ve (juz), and deflation is a’coming. Retirees should love a bit of deflation. But if got mortgage https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/
[T]he private sector in Asia-Pacific now owes 1.5 times the region’s combined annual output, according to the Bank for International Settlements. As a big chunk of the borrowing is in the opaque shadow banking system, particularly in China, the debt could be even larger. Either way, servicing the loans requires incomes to increase quickly. Yet, real GDP growth is slowing almost everywhere in the region.
The threat of slowly rising consumer prices slipping into outright deflation is making things worse. Producer prices are sliding across Asia-Pacific. Falling energy costs provide a convenient excuse for margin-starved employers to skimp on pay hikes, just as they did in the late 1980s. That makes the situation harder for borrowers in Malaysia, Korea, Thailand and Singapore, all of which have high household leverage. Persistent lowflation will leave borrowers with higher debt burdens than they expected.
Demographics aren’t helping. Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand are ageing rapidly.
(Or “New Citizen tells us the truth about the economy” or “Funny time for PAP to call a yr-long party” )
I didn’t realise the double burden S’pore (and the PAP administration) is facing economically in 2015 until I read this (emphasis mine):
Speaking at a DBS Private Bank event, DBS’ chief executive officer, Mr Piyush Gupta, said the credit cycle in Asia is turning and Singapore will be affected by higher rates and falling oil prices. Domestically, restructuring would pose further challenges.
… “I really think that 2015 is a very important year for our country. It is important because this whole scope of transitioning the economy and restructuring the economy is very sensitively-poised.”
… “Fundamentally, we are trying to do two things at the same time – restructure the manufacturing sector to be productivity-driven and more technology efficient, and at the same time, slow down the asset prize inflation, particularly in the property market.
“Both of these have deflationary drives and to be able to balance this and nuance these two deflationary engines at the same time is not an easy job.”
CNA 7 January 2015
Not gd news for mortgagees what with rising rates. Maybe taz why Frenvale Lea buyers are trying to rat out of their flats: they are not NIMBYS, juz opportunists. Remember they’d have bot their flats in 2012.
Related article: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/
But oil prices at around these levels or even at US$60 — 80 will help us and the PAP administration. It’s like a tax cut or bonus payment.
All of which means that even though I was one of the few who had suggested (before it became conventional wisdom and at a time when oil was around US$85 having slipped from above 100) that an election could be held in 2015 before National Day, I now predict that PM will delay calling an election until June or August 2016. Lower inflation, more $ to spend and more goodies in 2016 Budget could shore up his support: people are less too lan with him and his party because they got more to spend i.e they’ll be more forgiving because life is more comfortable even if it wasn’t the PAP can’t take credit for the comfort.
Btw, Gupta is the kind of FT (he is now a citizen), we should welcome (Juz like O’Connor, ex CEO of OCBC and this guy). We should boot out Trashes like the CEO, president and head of IT at SGX, and the president of NTU over his use use of the term “academic decision” when talking of NTU’s refusal to give Cherian George tenure caused a smoldering volcano to erupt.
(Updated on 9 January 2015 to include bit about clueless “consultant”.)
2015 is likely to begin in a merited atmosphere of gloom …
“Lowflation”, basically stable prices, is set to make everything worse. The already heavy debt loads of both consumers and governments will become more burdensome as nominal GDP growth slows down. The sharp fall in commodity prices may increase spending power in some countries, but it could turn lowflation into outright deflation.
But if mortgaged yr eyeballs …. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/ and
A key interest rate that housing loans in Singapore are pegged to rose sharply for a second day, indicating home owners may face higher mortgage payments.
Bloomberg data showed the three-month Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (Sibor) was fixed at 0.62052 per cent at 11.30am on Tuesday (Jan 6), up from 0.57762 per cent on Monday.
Sibor is the rate at which banks lend to one another and is a widely used measure of the cost of funds. The three-month Sibor had been creeping up previously, rising from around 0.4 per cent in October to around 0.45 per cent at the end of last week.
Many housing loans are pegged to three-month Sibor. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), for example, is currently offering home loans at three-month Sibor plus 0.85 percentage points for the first three years, according to its website.
The lending rate is reviewed every three months.
Assuming mortgage rates in Singapore rise to 2 per cent from around 1.5 per cent currently, a home buyer with an outstanding loan of S$500,000 and 20 years remaining will need to pay around S$2,530 a month, up from S$2,410. Should the rate rise to 3 per cent, the monthly payment will increase to S$2,770.
But here’s one mortgagee who lives in lala land. She obviously is not into finance.
New home owner Huang Sijia, 26, who took out a Sibor floating loan last year, is sticking to her package for now. “I am not too worried because the interest rates have been quite stable for the past three years,” said the consultant.
3% this yr 3.1% next yr from 3.3% and 3.7% respectively say the worse than fortune tellers forecasters
Private sector economists are less upbeat about the growth outlook for the Singapore economy this year, and have moderated their growth expectations for almost all sectors, according to a quarterly survey released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Wednesday (Dec 17).
The economists polled in the survey said they expect Singapore’s economy to grow by 3 per cent this year, down from their median forecast of 3.3 per cent in the previous survey in September.
The latest estimates are in line with the official growth forecast of 2.5 to 3.5 per cent, which was announced in August.
The lower forecast comes after gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter was weaker than expected. The economy expanded by 2.8 per cent during the quarter, lower than the median forecast of 3.2 per cent in the previous survey.
Manufacturing is now expected to grow by 3.5 per cent this year, down from the 4.2 per cent in the previous survey. Construction is now expected to grow by 3.4 per cent, down from 4.7 per cent. The forecast for wholesale and retail trade has been revised to 2.4 per cent from 2.6 per cent, while the forecast for accommodation and food services has been revised to 1.2 per cent from 1.5 per cent.
Finance and insurance was the only sector that had its forecast revised upwards. The sector is now expected to expand by 7.3 per cent, up from the 5.5 per cent in the previous survey.
INFLATION LIKELY TO SLOW
Inflation is expected to slow, with the economists forecasting the consumer price index (CPI) to come in at 1.1 per cent for the full year, down from the 1.8 per cent forecast in September. Core inflation – which excludes accommodation and car prices – is expected at 2 per cent, down from 2.2 per cent in the previous survey.
Looking ahead, economists expect GDP will expand by 3.1 per cent in 2015, down from the 3.7 per cent in the September survey. Headline inflation and MAS core inflation are forecast to be 1.1 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.
The MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters is conducted every quarter after the release of detailed economic data for the preceding three months. The median forecasts in the latest report were based on the estimates of 22 economists
(CNA late last yr)
The final sign of winter: lemmings have made M&A deals
Michael J. de la Merced writes in DealBook. Some 40,298 transactions ‒ worth nearly $3.5 trillion ‒ were announced worldwide in 2014, according to Thomson Reuters. It was the biggest year in deals since 2007. Goldman Sachs and the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom led the global M.&A. tables for financial and legal advising.
Sure, debt financing was cheap and stock prices were climbing. But perhaps the biggest change, deal makers say, is that corporate boards and management teams realized that their ability to expand their companies on their own had become more difficult. And with some semblance of predictability in the markets, boards now feel more comfortable taking the plunge, Mr. de la Merced writes. The busiest sectors for the year have been the oil and gas industry and the pharmaceuticals industry. But the biggest deals of the year, including the assumption of debt, have been takeovers in the telecommunications industry, including Comcast’s $45 billion proposal to buy Time Warner Cable.
“The question now is whether the confluence of factors that enabled the merger revival will carry over into 2015,” Mr. de la Merced writes.
PM Lee warned Singaporeans of the economy’s weak productivity after registering a negative 0.5 per cent performance for the third straight year.
Mr Lee reiterated that economic growth remains important for Singapore. While it is “not the be-all and end-all”, growth helps provide resources to improve on social well-being and social safety nets for citizens. (CNA a few days ago).
Well productivity has been a problem here since the days when he became DPM in 1990.
He has tried all the Hard Truths to improve it and failed.
Productivity: The New Age way
Less fear (including fear of losing job to cheaper FTs) and shorter working hours are the key to increased productivity
Life@Work: Why Fear Kills Productivity It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear, Tony Schwartz writes in the Life@Work column.
As the productivity expert Edward Deming once put it: “Drive out fear, so that everyone may work more effectively and productively.” It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear. Obvious as that seems, it isn’t always the intuitive move.
In the endless quest to minimize costs and maximize efficiency, companies demand more of us than ever. But the fatigue and feelings of being overwhelmed that result often push us into survival mode, bring out our worst instincts, and actually diminish our capacity and effectiveness.
Trauma theory has applicability here. “A continuum exists between mental health and mental illness related to the degree of stress a person is forced to endure,” writes Sandra L. Bloom,a psychiatrist and leading thinker in the field of trauma. “To develop normally, children require environmental stress sufficient to promote skills development and mastery experiences (positive stress) combined with sufficient buffering to prevent them from being overwhelmed.”
Adults are no different. The enemy of sustainable productivity is not stress. Rather, it’s the absence of intermittent rest and renewal — and not just physically.
At the emotional level, the most powerful source of renewal is the experience of feeling valued and appreciated, which explains why studies consistently show that the most engaged employees are those who answer “yes” to the survey question “My boss genuinely cares about my well-being.” When leaders deeply care, it serves their own interests as well as their employees.
Conversely, leaders who express anger, frustration and impatience – even in relatively small doses – may prompt action, but those emotions also drive their employees into states of fear and survival. People perform best when they feel best. Leaders’ negative emotions not only leave a long tail, but also progressively deplete the reservoir of capacity and motivation their employees bring to the table.
Reducing hours, say, from 55 to 50 hours a week, would have had only small effects on output. The results are even starker when we are talking about very long working hours. Output at 70 hours of work differed little from output at 56 hours. That extra 14 hours was a waste of time.
“Of course longer hours reduce productivity. As an employer I am certainly under no illusions about that. Above a certain threshold, longer hours ultimately reduce output and increase employee churn. But my experience is that the threshold is well above 40 hours per week.”—on “Proof that you should get a life”, December 9th 2014
Remember earlier this yr, when GMS, Gilbert Goh and various anti-PAP paper warriors were proclaiming victory when the Pinoys called off their “trespass” (taz how GMS spun a Pinoy plan to hold a party at a public space in Orchard Rd)?
They were cock-a-hoop, trumpeting their “victory”. Pinoy pride was badly hurt.
Very recently, the Philippines’ ambassador to Singapore Antonio A Morales says that Filipinos are moving into more sectors of employment
The estimated number of Filipinos working in Singapore tripled in the past decade to about 167,000 as of 2013, according to Philippines census data.
Filipinos are willing to take on jobs for lower salaries, with working conditions unacceptable to Singaporeans.
The trend has made Filipinos “easier to exploit”, disadvantaging both them and Singaporeans, said migrant rights activist Jolovan Wham.
And this at a time when the PAP adminitrastion is saying that it,s tightening FT employment rules. If so how come Pinoys are are moving into more sectors of employment
So it seems the Pinoy colomisation of S’pore continues despite what the PAP administration and Meng Seng says.
What do you think?
Btw here’s more about the PAP administration love of FTs, and Pinoys sliming us. I wrote this in July 2014 but decided not to publish it as I didn’t want to come across as anti-Pinoy (I like being served by Pinoy service staff), nor did I want to be associated a man who helped ensure the PAP’s preferred candidate won the presidential election (I had no issues with the Pinoys partying at Orchard Rd if they could meet the requirements).
But since the ambassador is raising the temperature with his comments (the embassy has form in this respect), I’ll add my my two-pence worth on the issue of Pinoys sliming us and the PAP’s administration love of FTs.
Pinoys vilify us
The education minister said last week [week before 26 July] it is important to go beyond understanding the “main races”.in embracing diversity.
“Singapore has thrived because of our openness to international trade flow, knowledge and cultures, all of which have brought us opportunities and progress. As Singapore moves towards a more diverse landscape, it is important that we continue to embrace diversity,” said Mr Heng.
“We also need to go beyond understanding the main races to respecting all people regardless of race, language or religion, who live and work in Singapore – for the happiness, prosperity and progress of our nation.”
Given that there are about 200,000 Pinoys working here, the largest group outside the “main races”, one can only assume, he is trying to tell us to be nice to the Pinoys.
No wonder there are Pinoys who think that the PAP stands for “Pinoy Action Party”.
It’s the Pinoys in PinoyLand who should learn to understand S’poreans.
Two recent examples of Pinoys defaming us.
Singaporean officials* has assured the Philippines their government is taking steps to address the hate campaign on Filipinos working there.
The assurance was made by the Singapore delegation who participated in Informal Consultations on the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP).
Hate campaign against Pinoys meh?
So how come they were laughing and chatting away last week-end at Lucky Plaza. And Goh Meng Seng is still in HK, and quiet? Juz like Gilbert Goh. Surely if there is a hate campaign, these two men would be shouting themselves hoarse?
What more Pinoys in PinoyLand want? An excuse to burn our flag in PinoyLand and then give us two fingers? They not happy no get visas to come here to earn money and live in a place without fearing goons with guns. Are they being stirred by Pinoys here unhappy that what they tot were the Pinoy Action Party, Pinoy Minister, Pinoy Minister’s Office and Pinoy Police Force they make sure that Pinoys could party in a busy shopping area on a Saturday afternoon. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/pinoys-still-ng-kum-guan-about-8-june-fiasco/
And this vilification of us is only the latest. A few weeks ago, former ambassador Roy Seneres said the OFW Family party-list will file a protest with the International Labor Organization for violations of relevant ILO conventions relative to the right of workers to decent work and to be treated as human beings not as slaves and/or chattels.
Seneres, founder of the party-list, was reacting to reports that Filipino service workers in Singapore are being put on display in malls in the city-state to attract prospective employers.
Singapore must come out with a clear-cut statement that they have stopped the despicable practice or else the OFW Family party-List will file a protest with the [ILO]” on the matter.
He obviously doesn’t read the newspapers or if he does, doesn’t trust what a S’pore-based diplomat said, or the S’pore govt.
This report appeared a day earlier in the same newpaper.
The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said a Filipino diplomat in Singapore cast doubt on an online news report that Filipina household workers were being displayed for sale at some of the city-state’s malls.
In a statement, MOM responded “to recent Filipino media reports, based on an online Al Jazeera story, about the treatment of Filipino foreign domestic workers (FDWs) while they are placed with employment agencies (EAs) in Singapore.”
The statement said “we note that when contacted by The Straits Times, the Filipino labor attaché in Singapore, Mr. Vicente Cabe, was quoted as saying that based on his observations, the online article ‘doesn’t seem to have basis’ and that while he saw some FDWs sitting on one side of a room at some agencies, waiting to be interviewed by clients, “ . . . it seems a bit exaggerated to say that there is anything wrong with that.”
The MOM said it visited the EAs in the two shopping centers concerned and did not find any inappropriate “displays of FDWs.”
Its statement added that “the Al Jazeera story also mentioned that some FDWs could be seen demonstrating household or care giving chores within the premises of EAs. As some EAs have training facilities in the same premises as their front offices, it is not unreasonable for FWDs to be performing such chores at the EA’s premises.”
Furthermore, “the same story also suggested that some FDWs were not treated well while in their EA’s care. MOM’s rules are clear that EAs have to ensure the well-being of FDWs in their case.”
The ministry said “inappropriate display of FDWs” at EAs’ premises or advertising them as being “available for hire at cheap or discounted prices” are unacceptable practices. MOM requires EAs to be responsible and accord basic respect in their practices to both their clients—the employer and the FDW—and expects them to exercise sensitivity when marketing their fees or services.”
Btw, S’poreans don’t go round decribing mixed-parentage S’poreans as mongrels. Pinoys call mixed race Pinoys “mongrels”.
Juz go home pls: Bank president Jim Yong Kim has described the Philippines as the next “Asian miracle” and a global model in fighting corruption, as it emerges from decades as a regional economic laggard.
Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/event-planning-pinoy-style/
*I pass no comment on whether our officials agreed there was a hate campaign. I sincerely hope that our officials will always defend S’pore and S’poreans against such comments.
Further to this, another measure that the govt could consider is rental rebates for conceiving couples renting HDB flats. More temporary flats will be set aside for couples waiting for their new Housing Board flats under a rental programme which, as National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan put it, has been “delivering results, and babies”.
Under the rental programme, called the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), more than 100 babies were born to those living in 1,000 or so flats – a hit rate of 10 per cent.
Better still do things the Hard Truth way: no conceive, rents doubled?.
This appeared in Forum on 17 December
Act on rising cost of raising children in Singapore
I am a parent of three children, two of whom are attending pre-school. It disturbs me that their fees are rising yet again next year – by a significant 20 per cent.
I tried to look for another pre-school that was near my home, and found out that those that had not raised their fees were planning to do so.
It was reported in September that three of five major pre-school chains – which are required to keep fees affordable in return for regular government grants – will increase their prices next year (“3 major pre-school chains raising fees next year”; Sept 27).
This comes after the median monthly fee for full-day childcare rose in a year by $80 – the biggest increment in at least eight years – to reach $830 last year.
The other two pre-school chains are not raising their fees because their current fees have hit the maximum allowed for anchor operators.
What is the Ministry of Social and Family Development doing to stem the fee increases?
More families have parents who are both working and have no choice but to enrol their children in pre-schools. Moreover, a cheaper school may not be an option as there may be no vacancies, or the family may live too far away.
The article (“It costs twice as much to feed your baby today”; Monday) reported that the average price of baby milk has more than doubled in the past decade.
Clearly, the cost of raising children has risen exponentially over the years.
While the Government may be powerless to stop milk powder prices from rising, it should step in where it can exert control, such as childcare costs, especially since it aims to get Singaporeans to have more children.
Ng Keng Nam
And the really Hard Truth way to make sure couples conceive during sex:
Update at 6.40am: Just read in ST that some lovely old flats (in a shady area) in Tiong Bahru have been assigned as “love nests”. The govt should do the same for the flats in the Old Airporty Road area that it’s taking back. Another romantic spot.
Oil price-led disinflation is desirable as it helps competitiveness gains by reducing cost and price differentials analyst at Lombard Street Research quoted by FT. So gd for economic growth and property prices?
True but then:
Household debt in Korea, Malaysia and Thailand is now in excess of 80 percent of GDP; it’s 76 percent in Singapore. When borrowers loaded up on debt, they expected three things: Money-printing in rich nations would keep borrowing costs low for an extended period; domestic property prices would keep rising; and steady inflation would boost wages, reducing the real household debt burden.
The third part of this equation has buckled. Inflation is low – and slowing – across Asia. As oil prices fall, the slide will accelerate. In Korea, China and Singapore, deflation is now a real threat.
Deflation means real interest rates go up.
The born losers who read TRE will be happy to see their fellow S’poreans go bust. Uniquely S’porean.
Blog E-Jay* posted this on Facebook to prove point that “PAP, will be voting against you again in 2015/2016. Thank you for making my life difficult.”
Well, there are other, reasonable legtimate ways of looking at the chart:
— Wah flat owners got windfall if they willing to retire to Batam or M’sia
— I should have used bonus for one yr to buy 3-room HDB flat for cash in early 90s . Only thing allowed for us oppressed singletons then: maybe taz why I’m so hard on those who KPKB about being discriminated for trivial things like being gay. Only a real sleaze bas got prosecuted by AGC under 377A. Had to client of M Ravi.
— HDB owners so ungrateful: property worth so much all ’cause of SuperLoong and sidekick Mah. Instead of being grateful, HDB owners fret for their children’s inability to afford “affordable” housing. PAP makes them rich, must also make their kids reach. WTF!
Seriously, what the chart tells us is that Ah Loong allowed Mah Bow Tan to screw S’poreans. And he wants us to vote for him? And not to have better checkers than the Worthless Party is now providing. One of these days, I’ll blog on why PM is behaving like scholar Eng, and how two really rich and privileged kids, to the manor born, so to speak, can teach him some humility and common sense. Then maybe, he doesn’t need checkers. In the meantime, we need better checkers than the Worthless Party’s MPs.
But we got to play our party, deprive the PAP of its two-thirds majority.
*Actually, a revised Magnificent 7 list should include him and Uncle Leong [Added at 11.00am]
Singapore’s next General Election will be a “deadly serious” fight between the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and the opposition … every seat, GRC and SMC will be a national contest, and not just a local one … every seat will be a General Election, not a by-election. (CNA)
Ah yah, why PM like to talk big and cock? Juz do the right, fair things by S’poreans and trust S’poreans to be fair-minded. After all, daddy, for all his bullying and intellectual thuggery, made sure public housing was really, really affordable. and the heartlanders willingly gave the PAP their votes. Earlier, he made sure that the streets were kept clean, portholes mended, and clean water, electricity and sanitation provided at affordable prices.provided. And the votes followed. (and taz why I don’t begrudge him the office that many say he has in the Istana.)
An example comes to mind where PM can ensure that his administration does what’s fair and reasonable and that will benefit most S’poreans.
The price of oil has fallen from almost US$115 a barrel in June to around US$70.
This fall in oil prices makes it a no-brainer for a fair, reasonable govt, with a GE coming, and S’poreans unhappy with stagnant real wages for the PAP administration to make sure that public transport fares don’t rise in 2015*, and if oil remains near US$70, in 2016.
After all, SMRT’s Vice-President for Corporate Information and Communications Patrick Nathan said in November: “We seek a better alignment of fares and operating costs, and will be submitting our application for a fare review in the coming weeks.”
Well with oil at US$70, one of the two major component for operating costs, is dropping rapidly. The other,btw, is wages.
So is there a need for fares to rise in 2015? Bet you when fares are raised, as they are likely to, the excuse will be that fares were held down when the price of oil was above US$100. So only fair to raise them now.
Let’s see if the PAP administration is smart enough to deviate from the Hard Truth of “Always make S’poreans pay and pay”, what with a GE coming and S’poreans facing stagnant real wages. Anti-PAP born-losers should be hoping that the PAP sticks to its hardest of Hard Truths.
*The Public Transport Council (PTC) on Wednesday (Nov 19) announced it has started the annual fare review exercise.
Public transport operators may submit their applications for fare review to the PTC for consideration by Dec 19. The decision will be announced in the first quarter of 2015, according to the press release.
To evaluate applications robustly, the PTC will take guidance from the fare review mechanism and fare adjustment formula recommended by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee and accepted by the Government in Nov 2013. (CNA)
The new fare adjustment formula is now based on core inflation (excluding property and car prices), average wage increase and an energy component.
PAP administration must always ensure that they make good money or can screw the taxpayers to indulge themselves (Btw, one of these days, when I really make up on the wrong side of the bed, remind me to blog on why Dr Eng’s actions show that while she may have a passion for the arts — like she had — when was interviewed for her scholarship, she had a passion for scientific research, she doesn’t have a clue about the way to craft a narrative that pleases the audience. She must belong to the school that believes in upsetting the audience, unlike Stanley Kulbrick, John Ford or even Shakespeare who entertained while provoking them)
Sorry, for the digression. I got the impression that property developers think that they like GLCs and Dr Eng can screw the public when I read that REDAS president Chia Boon Kuah said at the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore’s (REDAS) 55th anniversary dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on 26 Nov, that the real estate industry could be heading for major trouble unless the government takes “supportive measures” to help property developers.
“[The slowdown and added pressures in the residential market] pose significant challenges to the property sector, and there could be wider impact on the economy,” he said.
Mr Chia is worried that the looming supply of 68,000 completed new residential units in the next few years is likely to cause home vacancy rates to head towards 10%. Presently, the private home vacancy rate is estimated to be at 7.1% in the 3Q of this year.
“This will add even more pressure on the residential market,” Mr Chia said.
“Developers are concerned. Genuine home buyers from the Singapore market have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. The situation poses significant challenges to the property sector, and there could be wider impact. It is in no one’s interests to witness unintended outcomes.”
“We urge the Government to stand ready, to take supportive measures to prevent a tipping point, should the market turn volatile and worsen further.”
With National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan present at the dinner as REDAS’ guest-of-honour.Mr Chia took the opportunity to KPKB that the government’s cooling measures continue to bite and dampen property buying sentiment.
“The data and facts truly speak for themselves,” pointing out the falling transaction volume and declining prices or properties. Private home prices have declined in the last 4 consecutive quarters, while transaction volume has also dipped 50% from 18,000 last year to less than 9,000 expected this year.
Mr Chia also highlighted the importance of the property sector to the Singapore’s economy, “Real estate accounts for about half of the total fixed capital formation. One in 5 people in the workforce is employed by the real estate and construction industry.”
As usual our local media did not criticise the self-seving nature of his comments*. But let’s be thankful. Once upon a time, MediaCorp’s ace columnist (now reired. Wonder how many houses he got at big discounts?) would have come out in support of the developers.
So it was with great pleasure that I read this in Forum a few days ago.
Where was Redas when home prices were rising?
Published on Dec 1, 2014 12:47 AM
LAST Thursday’s report (“Property sector ‘needs govt support'”) reads like a case of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) wanting to have its cake and eat it, too.
Redas president Chia Boon Kuah warned of grave consequences for the country, noting how property prices have declined amid falling sales in the last four consecutive quarters.
Did Redas make any such warning when property prices ran ahead of the growth in household incomes, and did it ask the Government to take action then?
It was only last year that we saw the second-quarter private residential property price index hitting an all-time high despite a few rounds of cooling measures.
Did Redas not realise that rising property prices caused the public to fear that homes would be beyond their reach, and that many have bought property even though they may not be able to service the housing loans?
The supply of 68,000 completed residential units over the next few years will be built by the association’s members.
More properties may have been put on the block due to mortgage defaults (“More homes go under the hammer in weak market”; Nov 21), if not for the cooling measures and the total debt servicing ratio framework.
Khong Kiong Seng
Developers must long for the days when Mah was the property minister
*But ST said that if the restrictions were not lifted, developers will make less than usual profit margins, and some may lose money: as though making huge profits is the natural state of things, like scholars entitled to indulge their fantasies? [Update at 10 am)
“GDP is growing, but you can’t eat GDP. You can’t even eat employment. Incomes you can eat, if you spend them,” says the Economist, the PAP’s bible, in a post on the US economy, two days ago.
Well going by this tot, the PAP should be afraid, very afraid going into 2015 and a probable election before 2016. The recent data released by MoM. S’porans have no growth in real income to eat. And if they don’t have real growth in income before next GE, 60% mark may not hold.
Because going by MoM’s data, S’poreans are seeing “peanuts” real growth in wages in 2014.
S’pore’s real median income (i.e, income after adjusting for inflation) growth is at its slowest pace since 2009 with the real median earnings rising to just 0.4%, inclusive of the employer CPF contributions.
A DBS economist said that the real income growth of 0.4% for this year is disappointing, compared with 4% last year. “Should the trend continue, it will raise questions over whether the policies made so far to boost productivity, and real median incomes, are working.”
A Barclays Capital economist blamed the slowdown in growth and the property sector as the main reasons for median incomes stagnating. “There are a lot of professionals in the sector, such as lawyers and bankers. When property slowed down, companies were not able to pay good raises since the profit margins were constrained at the top.”
Worse, the “exceptional” 4% in 2013 was partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched last year, whereby the Government co-funds the wage increases given to Singaporean employees.
Good piece from TRE (it’s editorial stuff is usually very decent: taz the adv of having a scholar, unlike TOC which has no scholars, only anti-PAP fruscos) dated 29th November.
*MOM said, “The employment rate rose to a new high, as more women and older residents were in the labour force amid a tight labour market and low unemployment. There was sustained growth in incomes in the recent five years, with the income growth of lower income earners keeping pace with that at the middle.”
However, upon reviewing the data, it was observed that Singapore’s real median income (i.e, income after adjusting for inflation) growth is actually at its slowest pace since 2009 with the real median earnings rising to just 0.4%. This is inclusive of the employer CPF contributions.
A DBS economist said that the real income growth of 0.4% for this year is disappointing, noting that it was 4% last year. He said, “Should the trend continue, it will raise questions over whether the policies made so far to boost productivity, and real median incomes, are working.”
A Barclays Capital economist blamed the slowdown in growth and the property sector as the main reasons for median incomes stagnating. He explained, “There are a lot of professionals in the sector, such as lawyers and bankers. When property slowed down, companies were not able to pay good raises since the profit margins were constrained at the top.”
However, the “exceptional” 4% in 2013 was partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched last year. Under the scheme, the Government co-funds the wage increases given to Singaporean employees.
The following table was drawn up by ST in its news report today (29 Nov) quoting figures from MOM’s Singapore Workforce report:
Notice that MOM did not report the figure for the real median income growth if the employer CPF contributions were excluded (i.e, employees’ take-home pay does not include employer CPF. It’s locked inside the CPF till old age). ST reported it simply as “n.a.” or “not available”.
However, thanks to a TRE reader, Win battles lose war, he was able to work out that the real median income growth excluding employer CPF contributions is actually -0.6% for this year.
The reader said:
“Actually, you can calculate this missing statistic from the data in the table.
Since nominal and real income growth (including employer CPF) was 1.8 and 0.4% respectively – doesn’t it mean that inflation was 1.4% (1.8 – 0.4%)?
Therefore, with nominal income growth (excluding employer CPF) at 0.8% – doesn’t it mean that the real income growth was -0.6% (0.8 – 1.4%)?”
“What is the reason for this statistics becoming ‘n.a.’ (disappeared)?” he asked.
“Could it be because it may be embarrassing for real income growth to be negative, despite inflation being at around a 6-year low?”
The reader further illustrated that the real income growth is getting worse for Singaporeans in the past 5 years (2009 to 2014) compared to the previous 5 (2004 to 2009):
With this missing statistic, and the real income growth (excluding employer CPF) at -0.1, 1.3, 2.6, -1.9 and 5.8% from 2009 to 2013, we can calculate the annualized real income growth from 2009 to 2014 as 1.4%, compared to the 1.9% (including employer CPF) in media reports.
Even so, with this 1.9% annualized real income growth (including employer CPF) in this past 5 years (2009 to 2014), it is worse when compared to that of the previous 5 years of 2.5% (2004 to 2009).
And these numbers would even be worse for the corresponding figures of real income growth (excluding employer CPF)!
Note that the salary figures in the table above only reflected the incomes of full-time workers. Those of part-time workers were not included.
The reader asked a pertinent question – are the policies of PAP government working? Whatever happened to the following usual rhetoric from the government?
Life getting tougher for Singaporeans
Retiree Michael Ng, 67, reportedly told a Financial Times reporter that life has become “more stressful” of late [Link].
Mr Ng said, “My children have to work very long hours. People have to work hard to maintain their lifestyles, transport costs have already increased these past two years and housing has gone up a lot.”
Indeed, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced this month that it has started the annual fare review exercise. Public transport operators may submit their applications for fare review to the PTC for consideration by Dec 19.
SMRT’s Vice-President Patrick Nathan told the media, “We seek a better alignment of fares and operating costs, and will be submitting our application for a fare review in the coming weeks.”
Public transport fares were only last adjusted in Apr this year. There was a fare increase of 3.2% – just half of the total fare cap of 6.6%. It means the remaining 3.4% will be brought forward to this year’s fare review exercise.
And MOE has just announced that students entering polytechnics and the ITE next year will have to pay more school fees, with tuition fees raised by 2 to 5%.
Locals enrolling in the polytechnics next year will pay $2,500 in tuition fees per year, up from the current $2,400. For ITE, students will have to pay about $17 and $13 more for the Nitec and Higher Nitec courses respectively. But those hoping to enrol in the ITE’s technical diploma course will have to pay $106 more annually.
Middle-income Singaporeans losing sense of belonging to Singapore
Even the academics noted that the sense of security typically associated with being middle-class has given way to anxiety among such Singaporeans.
“When we think about the middle class, we think of security, comfort and social mobility. But all these are sort of in decline,” said NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser at a recent forum, which focused on the state of Singapore’s middle class.
Exacerbating the anxiety is the rise in living costs, which has led to many middle-income Singaporeans no longer being able to afford what they think they deserve.
“If the middle class itself is facing threats of long-term unemployment and socioeconomic insecurity, then its value as an aspirational category becomes open to question,” said Dr Lionel Wee, the vice-dean of NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
SMU economics professor Ho Kong Weng also noted that middle-class Singaporeans now feel less proud about their national identity. Prof Ho said they felt a weaker sense of belonging to the country. And unlike the more mobile rich, they may not have the option to leave the country, Prof Ho said.
Meanwhile, the MOM report also mentioned that unemployment for Singapore residents in their late 20s stood at 5.8% this year, the highest since 2009. For those under 24, the rate was 8.8 per cent.
OK it’s Thailand but given the performance of ex-genewrals like BG Yeo, NOL’s CEO and SMRT’s CEO (still can’t fix security issues, let alone get the trains to run on time), if SAF stages a coup after a freak election, we’ll be like Thailand in no time..
Six months after the military coup in Thailand
The latest GDP figures have eked out small increases, leading the government’s economic forecasting agency to predict growth of just 1% this year.
Worryingly, since the coup, tourist numbers have fallen by 20% as travel warnings issued by governments have deterred some visitors.
Diners could soon be paying more for their plate of sushi as the price of fishmeal, the crucial feed for shrimp, prawns and salmon leaps to an all-time high.
The commodity has surged to a record [US]$2,400 a tonne, as rising sea temperatures have led to a sharp drop in anchovy catches in Peru, the world’s largest exporter. Prices have surged fourfold in the last decade as supplies have been affected by a change in climate as well as demand increases.
The increase in fishmeal costs comes as seafood prices reach historical highs.
(FT report last week)
Beautiful painting to cheer you
A floral painting by the late US artist Georgia O’Keeffe was sold for US$44.4m at auction recently, setting a record for an artwork by a female artist. Works by great male artists command higher prices.
Racist joint-exercise at dormitory?
Khaw Boon Wan had said the exercise was to “test our response capability” so that when “quarrels erupt, leading to fights or worse” the police will know what to do. it was not that obvious that they knew what to do in Little India.
Going by the KPKBing by people like Kirsten Han*, Alex Au** and Andrew Loh***, accusing the National Development Minister and the police of “racism” after he posted photos of a police training exercise involving a staged riot of South Asian workers, http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201411111855-0024331, I can only conclude that some people don’t know the facts about the Little India riot, and who lives in the dormitories.
I didn’t realise until I read the trio that there was doubt on the identity of the Little India rioters. Everything I read said that it was the South Asians that did it.
On the racial mix in dorms, all the evidence that I have heard is that the dorms in the main (if not only) house people from the Indian sub-continent. Evidence:
— The supermarkets serving the dorms sell extra-strength imported beers from India. They don’t carry imported beers from PRC or Thailand or elsewhere.
— Someone who visited a dorm or two only saw only people from the Indian sub-continent.
So if the purpose of the exercise was to “test our response capability”, waz wrong with using people who reside in the dorms?
Why must the “fake rioters” include other races?
Let me be clear: if the dorms are not predominantly (if not exclusively) used to house South Asian workers, and the Little India rioters were multi-racial or from another ethnic group, I would agree with the criticism especially that of Alex Au cited below. But they ain’t. (Now attacking the racial composition of the dorms might be a better bet, depending on the mix of FTs here).
Sometimes I wonder if the diabolical trio so hate the PAP administration and its works that when it comes to analysing the administration’s actions, they resemble the looney TRE ranters who scream,”PAP is always wrong” whatever the facts.
As the UK’s Guardian (I assume this left-wing paper is their favourite newspaper) says, “Facts are scared”. It also says “Comment is free”.
The diabolical trio should leave bad analysis and mis representations to the ex-minister, now chairman of Temasek who lamented how a surplus of millions turned into a deficit of hundreds of thousands when the WP took over the running of Aljunied, conveniently forgetting that the surplus was “locked away” when Aljunied voters liberated themselves.
*The racist prejudices on display in the exercise are so stark that I’m surprised Khaw has failed to recognise them, let alone be bold enough to share the photo on social media.
In the aftermath of the Little India riot the government was quick to reassure Singaporeans that this was a “one-off” incident (although their actions – and the coverage of the mainstream media – repeatedly suggested that the whole issue was being treated otherwise).
Yet Khaw has now centred the issue of violence and unruly conduct on migrant workers, linking the “possible scenario” of “fights or worse” to the “concentration of foreign workers in one locality”.
As the exercise showed only South Asian-looking men, it doesn’t take a very deep reading to get the message: when there are many foreign workers of a certain race in one area, violent clashes are more likely to happen.
It’s a sentiment built upon prejudice and ignorance. It completely fails to take into consideration context, or acknowledge the double standards that we so openly practise. The South Asian men who work in the construction and marine industries in Singapore endure conditions that no Singaporean will tolerate. Their wages are embarrassingly low for the responsibilities they have and the hours they work. Overtime is a staple of their working lives, because their basic salary is so meagre. Dormitories are sometimes cramped, their whole lives crammed into the size of a bunk bed. I’ve met men who told me about sharing a bathroom with a hundred others, making a simple task like taking a shower require an hour of standing in line to achieve. Sleep is sometimes hard to come by if you’re sleeping in a large room with about 80 others – there’s always someone going in or out, or talking on the phone.
In this environment, is it still so surprising that nerves fray and tempers flare, resulting in occasional clashes? Yet we would rather carry out simulation exercises that allow the state to triumph over these men than to address roots causes of animosity and anger.
The assumption that South Asian migrant workers are more prone to violence is itself problematic. Fights don’t only break out among these workers. The same goes for drunkenness and disorderly behaviour. Yet we don’t see law enforcement carrying out simulation exercises with Caucasian expats or white-collar workers – or God forbid, Singaporeans — hanging out in Clarke Quay or any watering hole downtown.
A lot of high faluting words and sentiments from this ang moh tua kee lady (even though she fingers them for hooliganish behaviour). But she forgets two things:
— the people who rioted were not ang mohs but from the Indian sub-continent; and
— where got riots in Clarke Quay or any watering hole downtown? The riot was in Little India.
So spare us the sanctimonious BS. They reveal her prejudices and hang-ups more than enlighten us on the misdeeds of the wicked PAP administration.
**Significant numbers of Singaporeans just feel it to be wrong to single out any group by race or nationality in a way that casts aspersions on them. This is a morally illegitimate approach, they were saying. It indicates a much more acute sensitivity in the post-independence generation to using race and nationality categorisation thoughtlessly. It may also indicate a resistance to drawing a distinction between migrant workers and ourselves, such that targetting migrant workers in this way struck them as unacceptable.
Maybe “significant numbers” (though I doubt it unless it means significant numbers of ang moh tua kees or anti-PAP paper warriors) but I don’t think the majority has an issue here. Minorities do not rule OK. Being in the majority has its privileges.
But Alex makes serious and valid points when he says a much more acute sensitivity in the post-independence generation to using race and nationality categorisation thoughtlessly. It may also indicate a resistance to drawing a distinction between migrant workers and ourselves.
It’s juz that, given the facts, using the photos and the exercise is a lousy example of casual, unthinking racism and class distinction .
***And here perhaps is why asking both Indian and Bangladeshi “ambassadors”, as Mr Khaw described them, to participate in the drill held at a dormitory where they stay, is offensive to some.
The insinuation is that these – Indians and Bangladeshis – are more prone to rioting or causing unrest.
It feeds into the misrepresentation that South-asians are more susceptible to violent means than others – although evidence does not support such a claim.
And here perhaps is why asking both Indian and Bangladeshi “ambassadors”, as Mr Khaw described them, to participate in the drill held at a dormitory where they stay, is offensive to some.
The insinuation is that these – Indians and Bangladeshis – are more prone to rioting or causing unrest.
It feeds into the misrepresentation that South-asians are more susceptible to violent means than others – although evidence does not support such a claim.
Clarke Quay, where Caucasian expats and Singaporean executives spend their time when away from work.
Just one and a half years ago, the Chinese newspaper Shin Min reported a rather alarming statistic:
It said that “each year, an average of 170 fights or violent acts break out in the Clarke Quay area.”
Read that again – “170 fights or violent acts”.
In the Clarke Quay area.
That’s an average of one fight or violent act every other day.
Is there any foreign workers dormitory which comes close to such a situation in comparison?
Isn’t this missing the point? Who rioted in Little India? The first riot since 1965. Ang mohs and theie SPGs? Where got riot in Clark Quay?
Come on. pill the other leg. It’s got bells on it.
I came across the u/m in FT. It was a reader’s comment on the UK political scene. But it applies here too.
“The current generation of politicians understand two things: how to attain power and to use the powers of office to retain power. There is very little evidence that they understand how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”
GCT and LHL (and their gangs) knew that to get into positions of power and retain the posts, they had to get top grades from one LKY. To do this end they applied his Hard Truths.
But they didn’t understand (like he and the Old Guard did) “how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”
So Hard Truths were applied mechanically as a way to pass their exams and earn the “reasonable” mega-salaries
Take the issue of globalisation and the rise of income inequality. The PAP administration until recently, did not really acknowledge inequality as a problem that merited serious policy action; simply blaming globalisation for the growing wealthy disparity here. It only started doing something because the voters were unhappy.
If it had not applied LKY’s Hard Truths mechanically, it could have realised, that the world has experienced two great eras of globalisation. The first combined minimal redistribution with minimal political power for non-elites. The second combined universal suffrage with substantial redistribution. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that redistribution is the price democracies pay for globalisation. - See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/07/inequality#sthash.7O8p4Lrl.dpuf. Emphasis mine.
In an essay in “Governing Asia: Reflections on a Research Journey” by Donald Low, author of “Hard Choices”, Donald Low wrote,That Goh Keng Swee was so ready and willing to question not just the country’s growth model but also its population strategy in 1972 – seven years after Singapore’s independence – speaks volumes about the state of the policy discourse in Singapore today. Goh’s remarks also hint at the fact that we have many more policy options than subsequent generations of government leaders have presented to Singaporeans, that our economic choices are not as stark and binary as they are made out to be, and that we are better off – as a society and economy – to have a robust and vigorous debate on these issues.
In 1972, there were no Hard Truths, juz pragmatic ideas to solve real and serious problems. Hard Truths hadn’t chiseled into tablets of stone to be memorised and deified by succeeding generations of PAP leaders.
Telling oil cos that the oil price falls MUST be passed on to motorists.
And to other users of oil-based products.
But as this is S’pore, pigs will fly first. PAP doesn’t do populism even when its the right thing to do economically and popularly. The Hardest of Hard Truth is “Be popular by being unpopular”.
The Daily Telegraph’s front page story focuses on a Treasury warning to petrol companies and supermarkets that oil price cuts must be passed on to motorists.
The main UK fuel suppliers and distributors have denied pump prices have not been reflecting recent falls in the price of oil but Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is to write to them.
The Daily Mail suggests critics are likely to say that Mr Alexander should be proposing further cuts to fuel duty rather than just pleading with the petrol giants.
And the Sun concurs. Its leader column also says there is “plainly scope for more cuts” from the fuel companies and wonders about the “crippling fuel surcharges airlines slapped on flights” when the wholesale prices soared.
We’ve been told that COEs is the price we pay to keep our streets free of traffic jams.
So it was great interest that I read that a recent study calculated that the cost of traffic jams in the UK, USA, France and Germany was 0.8% of the GDP. http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/11/economist-explains-1
Translating it into the S’pore context via back of envelope calculations and Google searches:i n 2011, S’pore.s GDP’s was S$326.1bn. 0.8% amounted to S$2.6bn. CoEs cost S’poreans around S$2bn. So the cost of CoEs seems worth it that yr to avoid jams.
Interesting. Maybe Roy Ngerng or Uncle Leong might want to do more research? I chose 2011 because Google searches had the data for these yrs most easily available. Maybe other yrs, more precise numbers, more precise calculations might throw up different results. Hint using GDP at 2005 prices gives a figure of $2.4bn as 0.8% of the 2011 GDP.
On the face of it, CoEs are gd for the economy and those who can afford to own motor vehicles (including motor bikes and trucks).
Private vehicle owners should be voting for the PAP to thank the govt for making travel jam free.
Update at 6.00pm
So LKY was right on CoEs and Ngiam Tong Dow was wrong. Were GCT and LHL as smart as LKY.
Gay rights in Singapore
On permanent parole
The above headlines encapsulate the issue male gays face more than TOC’s and M Ravi’s pontificating, sanctimonious, self-serving anti-PAP rubbish. Their comments are more aimed at sliming the PAP govt, than advancing the cause of gay men.
I was a supporter of the govt’s studied ambiguity on the issue. And that the gay community in pressing for abolition were pushing their luck.
But the Economist’s headline made me realise the problem that male gays faced. The repeal of 377A is necessary to ensure that male gays can come out to play, hold hands or kiss publicly without the fear of the govt of the day deciding that it, after all, wants to enforce 377A: not enforcing it was an “honest mistake”. Remember the decision not to use 377A is by way of administrative fiat. What is decided by administrative fiat one day, can be changed without warning another day without public debate.
Accepting LGBTs doesn’t harm society, could even be beneficial as LT’s Lombard points out: The coming out of Apple’s Tim Cook is a chance to remind readers of Tomkins’ Rule. This proposes a nation is civilised in proportion to its tolerance of gays, because they are distinctly different in a way that does not harm others and are always in a minority. Works for a big company too.
Btw, ever wondered like I did about why gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals are lumped together? Here’s the reason, The term LGBT, representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, has been in widespread use since the early 1990s. Recent additions – queer, “questioning” and intersex – have seen the term expand to LGBTQQI in many places. But do lesbians and gay men, let alone the others on the list, share the same issues, values and goals?
Anthony Lorenzo, a young gay journalist, says the list has become so long, “We’ve had to start using Sanskrit because we’ve run out of letters.”
Bisexuals have argued that they are disliked and mistrusted by both straight and gay people. Trans people say they should be included because they experience hatred and discrimination, and thereby are campaigning along similar lines as the gay community for equality.
But what about those who wish to add asexual to the pot? Are asexual people facing the same category of discrimination. And “polyamorous”? Would it end at LGBTQQIAP?
There is scepticism from some activists. Paul Burston, long-time gay rights campaigner, suggests that one could even take a longer formulation and add NQBHTHOWTB (Not Queer But Happy To Help Out When They’re Busy). Or it could be shortened to GLW (Gay, Lesbian or Whatever).
An event in Canada is currently advertising itself as an “annual festival of LGBTTIQQ2SA culture and human rights”, with LGBTTIQQ2SA representing “a broad array of identities such as, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited, and allies”. Two-spirited is a term used by Native Americans to describe more than one gender identity.
The South Korean annual budget to boost birth rates has reached an equivalent of US$13.85bn this year, says Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest and oldest daily.
Though is almost sevenfold increase since 2006, the number of births has actually dropped by almost 12,000 to 436,500 last year. The birth rate, or the number of births per 1,000 people per year, also fell to 8.6. This is the lowest level since records began in 1970, and also among the world’s lowest indicators, according to World Bank data. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29598172
According to Chosun Ilbo, the main reason why the government appears to be failing in its efforts to boost the birth rate is because most of the money is allocated to childcare subsidies, rather than making Koreans want to have more children.
Well by going waz happening here, the problem here is the same: the incentives are allocated to childcare subsidies, rather than making S’porean couples want to have a child, lrt alone, more children. They prefer to have pets.
So what are the ways that the govt can persuade S’poreans to want to have children? What about a bigger “subsidy” and fast-tracking for that “second” bite at a “subsidised”HDB flat. The more kids a couple have, the bigger the “subsidy” and the faster they can get a second flat? (And the govt can give incentives to private property developes to offer bigger discounts to couples with more kids.)
And what about a discount on that CoE for a prime mover? The more kids a couple have the bigger the discount? Ten kids are a CoE is effectively free?
Finally, what about abolishing the maid levy if parents have a third kid? And a “free” maid if they have 10 kids?
Finally, cut working hours so that couples have more time for sex. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/improving-productivity-try-this-pm-tharman-possible-reasons-for-peanuts-real-wages-growth/
Sadly, a Hard Truth for the PAP is that populism is out. Only bullying, haranguing the voters allowed. Which is why the Pioneer Generation package, spending on public tpt and other “goodies” is a puzzle. PM is a populist in disguise? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/minister-you-thinking-of-yr-govt/
Or are we going to get screwed with a huge GST increase after the next GE. Remember 2006? A great piece by scholar on how the extra 2 percentage points increase in GST never went into social welfare as promised. http://thereformparty.net/blog/2010/12/24/further-tax-burden-to-enhance-our-social-safety-nets/. The piece was written in 2010 and my admittedly back-of-the-envelope calculations shows that the position is the same today. Perhaps someone should ask Uncle Leong or Roy to update the data.
Whatever it is, remember to ask the PAP when campaigning begins for next GE, “Will you raise GST after the elections, if you win?”
Shorter working hrs, greater productivity. Evidence cited below.
S’pore should try this if PM and Tharman and the govt is really seious when they say that “no stone will be left unturned” in the search to improve productivity. . But then it’s against the Hard Truth that hard work makes people happy. Actually I suspect the Hard Truth was propogated to ensure that S’poreans didn’t have the energy to engage in political activities. Sadly it also ensured that they didn’t have the energy to have unprotected heterosexual sex.
There is a growing body of evidence that shorter work weeks actually lead to more productive employees.
Right now, the US seems to value long work weeks for the sake of long work weeks. We put in more time at the office than other Western nations, but with less to show for it than one would hope.
According to Melissa Dahl, writing in New York Magazine, “The US is one of the most productive nations on the planet, second only to Luxembourg, but Americans work almost 20% more hours than individuals in Luxembourg. We’re working longer days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re achieving more.”
An earlier report found that there was little correlation between hours worked, productivity, and wages. Writing in MarketWatch, Quentin Fortrell calculates that Germany works almost 45% fewer annual hours than Greece, but is 70% more productive, while annual German salaries are higher.
Reducing work hours has also reduced unemployment, he says, noting that “countries with the largest reduction in work hours had the largest increase in employment rates since the Great Recession”.
The shorter work week is an idea that both corporate fat cats and tree-hugging environmentalists can love. Billionaires Carlos Slim and Larry Page have spoken publicly in support of shorter weeks, while CNBC cites a recent survey showing “that more than 69% of millionaires surveyed (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) said they believed the four-day work week is a ‘valid idea’.”
Btw1, here’s something to ponder about on productivity.
Productivity in financial services and other services miscalulated?
On a very technical issue could financial services and other services be miscalculated? Remember measuring productivity in services is not easy. That could be happening in the UK. See below.
Btw2, the UK’s could also give some clues as to why the growth here in real wages sucks.
Real wages not improving
UK has come out of a recession when real wages fell … as productivity tanked. but unemployment wasn’t as bad as feared.
The economy’s recovering, But those in work are now badly in need of some respite.
Possible explanations abound for the curious trend. Britain has more liberal labour markets than most European countries, which may have meant companies found wages easier to cut, keeping employment high. Some sectors, such as financial services, may have mismeasured productivity before the crisis. And low investment probably contributed too.
One mooted explanation for low wages is particularly controversial. UKIP, Britain’s insurgent anti-EU party, claims that immigration from Europe is holding down pay. Evidence on this is mixed: conflicting studies have separately found both a small increase and a small reduction in average wages as a result of migration. But there is better evidence that its effects are unequal; the lowest-paid workers, who face the fiercest competition from migrants, find their wages held down by the arrival of foreign workers. Higher earners are more likely to benefit. Division, it seems, is rife.
Conventional wisdom is that the next GE will be held after the 50th anniversary celebrations of S’pore’s independence which will be a celebration of all things PAP. So the Oppo parties are not gearing up for an early GE (end of this yr or before Aug 9 next yr.)
And this piece of news doesn’t disturb the narrative:With the January 2017 deadline for the next General Election looming closer, the Elections Department (ELD) has been calling up public servants for training to be election officials, as part of the electoral process … , the ELD said in an emailed statement: “ELD prepares and organises the Public Service to conduct elections in Singapore. Amongst other work, ELD selects and trains public officers on an ongoing basis to perform election duties during an election.” (CNA 17 October)
There have been early training sessions before with no elections following. The conducting of training sessions is a lousy leading indicator.
But think about the economic prospects of S’pore and the training could be a sign of early elections.
No govt wants to hold a general election in a recession or when a a recession is likely. Already the growth rates for this yr and next yr have had to be trimmed because the global economy isn’t doing too well.
And things could get worse: The global economy is in a woeful state [Skip the next few paras if pressed for time or an illiterate in finance and economics]. The euro zone, fully 17% of global GDP, is predicted to expand just 0.8% in 2014 according to the IMF. China and Japan, together 25% of global GDP, are slowing. Emerging markets are floundering: a report on the synchronised slowdown from the Fund puts much of it down to weak trading partners (a sort of trade contagion). As the world slows, America seems a prudent place to park cash. Chinese and Japanese holdings of US Treasury bonds—now $2.5 trillion—have doubled in five years, according to the TIC data.
… the euro area. Inflation is just 0.3% and the area is already awash with unemployed workers … end up with both fiscal and monetary policy being relatively tight.
What would happen next? American exporters would get hit twice—first by weak demand from abroad, then as their goods get pricier for foreigners to buy as the dollar continues to rise. But since America is a relatively closed economy, the impact abroad could be bigger. The big risk is that a runaway dollar topples emerging-market economies just as it did in the 1980s and 1990s. A pessimist would argue that many of the conditions now are exactly as they were then. Many emerging markets borrow by issuing bonds in dollars, rather than their own currency. Appetite for these higher-yielding dollar bonds has been strong in recent years: in January 2014 Indonesia issued its largest dollar bond since 1998; according to its Finance Ministry data, India has dollar debts of around $273 billion (15% of GDP). As the dollar rises, the local-currency cost of these debts goes up.
Floating exchange rates make things a little different when compared to the Asian crisis, but would not help that much. Take a country like Brazil, which has inflation of 6.75% (see the WSJ on this) and yet an economy in recession. If its currency continues to depreciate against the dollar then inflation builds up further. The central bank ends up in a bind: raise rates to cut inflation and stem the depreciation, or keep rates low to get the economy back on track. Both paths would be risky, and could cause a wider stress if the contagion of previous emerging-market crises is any guide.
With any luck none of this will happen. But it all could happen. And if you are in the business of forecasting and stress testing, you should prepare for the worst.
So what about the fact that oil prices are close to US$80 from US$105 a few weeks ago
[M]ajor Asian economies, though, will look at falling oil prices less as a stimulant and more as a signal that global growth is faltering. For export-dependent Asia, lacklustre worldwide demand could end up being highly disinflationary.
That’s a big worry for the likes of China, Hong Kong and Singapore. These economies have all seen private credit rise rapidly since the 2008 crisis and need tolerably healthy inflation to help bring down the real value of debt. But China’s 1.6 percent inflation rate is now the lowest since February 2010, while the annual rate of increase in Singapore’s consumer prices has slipped below 1 percent. South Korea, which has historically had a problem of high household debt, can’t afford to allow its meagre 1.1 percent inflation rate to slide further.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if 50th anniversary celebration events come fast and furious early next yr: to remind S’poreans of the role of the PAP in S’pore’s development from the second largest port in Asia to a global city state, with property prices to match those of global cities like NY and London.
But I’d be surprised if the PAP reminded us one LKY said in 1959,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”, because he said this when revealing that only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here.
*Btw two countries where I have investments will benefit: The big exceptions are India and Indonesia. Both governments supply gasoline and diesel to their consumers at fixed, affordable rates. For them, the 25 percent slide in the price of a barrel of Brent crude over the past four months translates into significant budgetary savings, which could be channelled into much-needed infrastructure investment.
Our constructive, nation-building media would never republish or tell this tale of where minimum wages didn’t do what the PAP govt claim it would do: raise unemployment. .
A higher minimum wage in practice – Christopher Flavelle of Bloomberg View argues a $10.10 [£6.27] minimum hourly wage would neither change America for the better nor destroy a million jobs, based on the case study that is Canada.
In 2014 every province in Canada had set its minimum wage at $10 Canadian an hour or higher. British Columbia, which had the biggest increase of any province, saw its unemployment rate fall by almost a full point over the same period, to 6.7 %.
On the other hand, the share of people with low incomes fell just 0.4% in four years, even as the minimum wage increased 16% in real terms during the same period.
“The link with poverty and the minimum wage is almost zero,” Stephen Gordon, an economics professor at the University of Laval in Quebec City, tells Flavelle. “Lots of people who earn the minimum wage are not in poverty, and a lot in poverty don’t earn the minimum wage – the problem is they’re not working, or the number of hours they get.
BBC Online extract
In a response to the PM’s latest remarks on FTs (“no more tightening” and “don’t blame FTs for everything”) at a public lecture organized by the National University of Singapore Society on 3 October, a TRE poster wrote
In the 70s and 80s, Singapore already had FTs (Japanese, Germans etc) into our country. They were few and they were the real talents; working alongside our Singapore workers and also taught us their skills and knowledge.
He has a point. I had a friend who was a PR in the 80s. Despite winning a gold medal from NUS, she didn’t find it that easy to get a job because she needed an employment pass. It wasn’t easy for anyone without working experience, even a gold medalist, to secure one in the late 70s. It was “S’poreans first and last when it came to fresh graduates”. And it wasn’t that easy to become a citizen either. Heck, it wasn’t even easy to get PR status unless one was a M’sian Chinese professional or an extremely rich Indonesian Chinese. Nowadays, PR is juz toilet paper: even a slutty looking, violent, cheating shop assistant can secure one.
Today, we have all the fake talents from PRC, India and Philippines and even from Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and also Europe and US – all with dubious degrees, knowledge and skills. Worst still, these are the people who are taking away the PMET jobs and also our fresh grads jobs. Lee Hsien Loong – let me repeat this into your ear again ! We didn’t say no FT – please can you define what FT is and bring in only the real FT ok ? Not your open leg policy in allowing any Ah Nieh or Ying and Yang to come into SG please.
I agree with the sentiments expressed, esp the bit about faked qualifications.
SG does not belong to everyone and certainly SG does not belong to you or … ! We will kick your butt out in the next GE !
Lots of S’poreans still want to kick PM’s butt. Issue is how many more (or as is more likely) less from GE and PE 2011 (Sadly, S’porans are easily satisfied, or shld it be conned?). A few weeks ago Alex Au blogged, heard from a friend who heard from another friend (whom I also know – this one’s in academia) that the People’s Action Party (PAP) was confident it had regained lost ground since the 2011 general election. Its confidence stemmed, it was said, from a huge survey that it had been conducting over the past few months and which, by the next general election, will have reached every household in Singapore …
Actually I had heard about the result of this “survey” but had not heard of anyone who had been approached, So I kept quiet. Alex gives more details. http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/survey-asked-about-my-confidence-in-the-lee-hsien-loong-government/
The govt has been throwing more of our money at S’poreans what with Pioneer Generation “goodies”, public tpt etc spending. Juz try to remember that our money the PAP govt is spending on S’poreans is “peanuts”. We’ll have another budget surplus this yr, not the estimated tiny “deficit”. I can say more about the peanuts we are getting, but I’ll leave it for another time.
S’pore isn’t California.
In 1989,Jonathan Ives, now Apple’s designer and Sir Jonathan, left England and made his first trip to Silicon Valley.
“I was just blown away by the optimism and enthusiasm [in California] that provided such a fantastic environment to try and develop new ideas,” …. “It’s very difficult to develop new ideas in the context of cynicism and sarcasm. It makes for good comedy but it’s a horrible way of trying to develop products.” (FT report)
In S’pore we can’t even make good comedy because we don’t do sarcasm, but the place is terribly cynical, so how to develop new ideas?
Singapore pays US$65m (S$83.3m) a year to bring F1 here. Only Malaysia and Abu Dhabi pay more.(BBC report).
Monaco is the only place that doesn’t pay.
So our “iconic” race is not cheap. Remember this when you read how much money F1 brings here.
The cost for organizing each race is approximately S$150 million dollars, with the government paying about 60% of the costs. And the fee is 55.6% of the cost). The government claims that each race generates about S$150 million in tourism receipts. So sounds like breakeven to me only, without taking into account the inconvenience to commuters and the lost sales at Suntec.
Worse, ticket sales are falling. More than 84,450 tickets were sold for the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, slightly lower than last year but the third highest attendance since the inaugural race in 2008.Back in 2008, 100,000 tickets were snapped up as Singapore successfully pulled off the world’s first F1 night race on a street circuit.
Could be govt wants S’poreans to get married and then breed earlier? Finish poly or vocational training, get a job, earn money and then get handcuffed and breeding is the master plan?
How did I come to think such tots? I had read an article in BT on S’pore’s latest population report, and a piece in the Economist on how the cost of a college education is forcing young Americans into later and later marriages.
BT on 26 September reported that according to the latest Population report released on Sep 25 by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD — the same people who came up with the population White Paper that was rubbished by scholars). the statistics show a growing number of singles in this country, and when they do marry, it’s at a much later age.
This is the bit from the Economist: the cost of college can delay the day when young people feel they can afford an engagement ring, let alone a family. A third cited their finances as the reason they were not yet hitched, compared with just 20% of those over 35. As one Eminem fan at a recent music festival in Atlanta romantically put it “I’m just trying to sort things one at a time. I’ve got a girlfriend but I’ve also got college debt.”
With voters annoyed with the govt’s, “We love FTs, even two-timing Raj and Hui Hui”, there seems to be a mnarked slowdown in the FT intake, so The Republic’s population growth has slid to its lowest in a decade, fertility rates have fallen further, and ageing continues at a rapid pace … negative repercussions on the economy …
Latest government figures released by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) on Thursday show that the total population grew at its slowest pace in 10 years, expanding just 1.3 per cent to 5.47 million as of June this year.
The easing in total population growth was driven by slower expansion in the non-resident population, which now stands at 1.6 million – an increase of 2.9 per cent compared to 4 per cent a year ago. This was, in turn, a result of the government’s tight restrictions on foreign labour inflows, which saw foreign employment growth slow to 3 per cent versus 5.9 per cent the previous year.
The spin for FTs like Hui Hui. (Ever heard of QC? Though thinking about it, Hui Hui’s a natural life insurance agent, second-hand car salesperson,more of this soon,, sans her looks and voice.)
By granting 20,000 new citizens and 30,000 new permanent residents (PRs) annually in the past few years, the government has kept immigration numbers stable. This is even as the citizen population continues to age, and as Singaporeans have fewer than enough babies to replace themselves. With increasing life expectancy and low fertility rates, there are more citizens in the older age groups today. The proportion of citizens aged 65 years and above rose to 12.4 per cent in 2014 from 11.7 per cent a year ago, while the median age of Singaporeans increased to 40.4 years from 40 years previously. This means the old-age support ratio – which is the number of citizens in the working age band of 20 to 64 needed to support one older citizen – is shrinking rapidly.
It fell from 11.4 in 1980 to 8.4 in 2000, before sinking further to 5.2 in 2014. At the same time, the resident total fertility rate (TFR) fell to 1.19 in 2013 from 1.29 in 2012, which was a “dragon year” on the Chinese zodiac. While NPTD said that the dip from 2012 to 2013 was gentler compared to previous post-dragon years, the overall TFR of 1.19 is far below the replacement level of 2.1.
Taken on their own, the latest population statistics paint a rather grey picture of Singapore’s future. A shrivelling old-age support ratio would mean greater pressure on the working population [Tot govt claims that the great thing about CPF is that it’s not dependent on younger workers unlike ang moh pension systems] and more stress on fiscal policy – worrying trends which population experts have long flagged. (BT 26 September)
*And we don’t know if post next GE, the floodgates will open again.
Especially not FTs like Hui Hui.
Government figures released by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD — the same people who came up with the population White Paper that was rubbished by scholars) last Thursday show that the total population grew at its slowest pace in 10 years, expanding just 1.3% to 5.47m as of June this year and generally painted a picture of doom and gloom.with have negative repercussions on the economy.
But according to the unhelpful, not constructive BT (26 September), * some economists say the situation may not be as dire as generally predicted, since more older citizens are opting to work past retirement age.
Said UOB economist Francis Tan: “The support ratio worsening is just one side of things. Other factors are also at play here: the government is incentivising older workers to stay employed; people are questioning whether their retirement savings are enough so they’re continuing to work; the government’s foreign worker quotas are forcing companies to provide higher wages and that has enticed more elderly people at the margins to join the job market.
“Taken together, these conditions should make us less worried about this scary 5.2 old-age support ratio. I’m not saying the downward trend is not a concern, but I think we can’t look at population numbers purely on their own – we need to look at labour market trends too.”
Indeed, according to figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the total labour force participation rate of residents aged 65-69 have increased dramatically from a decade ago. While this stood at 19.5 per cent in 2003, it climbed to 27.5 per cent five years later in 2008, before spiking up to 40.2 per cent in 2013.
After all despite or because of the tight labour market, MOM said in January this year that the labour force participation rate rose to a new high in 2013, driven by women and older residents, BT pointed out.
Noted OCBC economist Selena Ling: “If the retirement age changes to 67, that will skew the ratio for sure as more elderly (persons) rejoin the workforce. Then the reality may not be as bad as what the (population) numbers suggest.”
Whatever it is Mr Tan, Ms Ling, and other economists are concerned about the nation’s lacklustre fertility rate and swiftly ageing population.
Said DBS economist Irvin Seah: “This demographic shift is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Singapore… The situation isn’t easy to reverse, and it will take more than conventional economic policy to resolve. Mindsets will have to change.”
On this they are right
We are told that this will happen here if we have ang moh welfare type system
It’s not easy being overweight and on benefits, says 25 stone mother-of-two who wants MORE money from the government to help her diet: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2768442/It-s-not-easy-overweight-benefits-says-25-stone-mother-two-wants-MORE-money-government-help-diet.html
So, I was surprised to read in ST last week, that there are five cases of ComCare giving financial aid to elderly residents in Opera Estate. Now the houses in Opera Estate are going for a over $1m each, so really there is no excuse for ComCare to help these people.
Now I understand the emotional attachment of living in the same place for many yrs and preferring not to move, or renting a room out despite oddles of soace (I’m one of those people) but no-one is entitled to welfare when they own a multi-million dollar houses. Owning such a property is blessing. And yet the heartlanders are subsidising the people living in a landed property? Not right, ever. I mean elderly residents at Tanglin Halt have to move on. [Last sentence added at 5.47am]
That ComCare is helping them with financial aid is a worrying sign for two reasons. One is Opera Estate voted for the WP in the last GE, helping JJ to almost win Joo Chiat SMC. Could it mean the PAP govt is indulging in vote buying.
It’s also a sign that more and more S’poreans are thinking that they are entitled to feed at the trough of public money, even if they are very well-off. But are they wrong to do so, when minsters despite their above average salaries, insist on constantly reminding us that they could be making more outside govt? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/hen-jost-gracef-money-money-money/
(Btw, I juz came across this quote while reading FT, “money is by far the least [important factor]” when choosing where to work. At this level it can’t be painful, right? The job we’re doing is a vocation. All of us like to be paid whatever is deemed competitive in the market, but it’s not the main driver.”” said the CEO of Switzerland’s third largest bank who has had to cut his pay by 12% because shareholders were unhappy. [Added at 6am])
The govt can do a lot more to help the elderly poor, the children of the less well-off to get better education, and in healthcare for those without million-dollar salaries, given that we got the money, but let’s be careful of indulging the lazy and the greedy.
I’ll say no more because I read yesterday that, “A household that earns less than S$1,900 will get basic computing devices such as a tablet, and subsidised fibre broadband internet access for the next four years, from the Digital Inclusion Fund.”
Hmm a gd deal and my hsehold income is below S$1,900. The word is “earns”: dividends, rental income, interest or pension payment doesn’t count.
TRE ranters really have no money to fund TRE
In its report on the ANZ-Roy Morgan Singapore Consumer Confidence Index*, ANZ said
–[T]he confidence from the poorest in Singapore appears to have stagnated …one possible reason is that most of the wealth of the lower income earners is tied to their houses, and property prices have softened.
– [S]ome 44 per cent of respondents – down two percentage points from a month ago – expect Singapore to have “good times” economically over the next 12 months.
“The fact that less than half of respondents expect Singapore to have ‘good times’ economically over the next 12 months, is perhaps the strongest economic indicator of how average Singaporeans are reacting to the myriad challenges of current policies aimed at restructuring and reinvigorating the Singaporean economy.”
– The supply-side restructuring of the economy may be hurting some of the lowest income households as productivity isreplacing manpower.” (BT report 25 September)
So I was most probably wrong when I accused TRE ranters of being talk cock, sing song free-loading cheap-skates, refusing to fund their favourite site and their heloo Roy; they really have no money to help anyone because most of the wealth of the lower income earners is tied to their houses, and property prices have softened. But are too proud to admit it, because if they do, they’ll be asked, “If so smart to criticise people who make money i.e. PAP ministers), how come you so poor?”
No wonder they hate the PAP, and the S’poreans (Kong Hee, Sun Ho) and FTs who lead the gd life. Maybe they should spend less time ranting on TRE, working harder to improve their skills and wages. Or juz have this hobby http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28810578. Oh forgot, they have no money. Their birds will die of malnutrition.
Seriously, this survey does confirm two things thing that the TRE ranters and other anti-PAP activists (and others, though nor PAPpies and their allies in the constructive, nation-building media) have been saying, many S’poreans don’t expect Singapore to have ‘good times’ economically and most of the wealth of the lower income earners is tied to their houses, and property prices have softened.
More on the Index and ANZ Bank’s commentary:
[The Index] released on Wednesday, rose slightly in September from a month ago to 120.7 points.
The slight bump in confidence over the month – up just 1.7 points – showed more hopeful assessment of the financial situations of those polled.
This contrasts with a sharp 16.9-point dive in the index in August compared to a month ago.
The index reading now sits just below the 2014 year-to-date average of 121.1 points, with the report made public early this month.
Notably, 27 per cent of respondents said that their families are better off financially than a year ago – this is up seven percentage points from a month ago.
More respondents also think financial prospects will improve for their families in a year’s time, with 33 per cent of those polled seeing the glass as half full, up five percentage points from a month ago.
But a closer look at the numbers showed that the gains in the perception of current household income from a year ago are concentrated in the highest income quintiles, ANZ said.
Daniel Wilson, an ANZ economist who co-authored the report, pointed out separately that while income growth here was stronger on a percentage basis for the lower income, compared to the top earners – at about 35 per cent versus about 25 per cent over the past five years – the dollar gains translate to S$556 and S$5,033 respectively.
The disparity is less stark with their views of the economy over the next 12 months, though there remains a small skew towards high-income households.
The above was the headline by a Guardian (a UK newspaper whose views would chime with the SDP, NSP, AWARE, Maruah, Alex Au, TOC and the other usual suspects) journalist on a blog piece on the UK economy: economy growing, property prices flying, FTs flooding in, but real wages stagnant. Sounds familiar?
The statement is very true here here as the following excerpts from BT (16 Sept) quoting the govt (who incidentally still denies that FTs don’t affect the real wages of S’poreans: cognitive dissonance or is it double-speak?)
The tight labour market in Singapore has resulted in more jobs and higher salaries for locals, while the growth in foreign worker employment fell to its slowest quarterly pace since 2009.
So less FTs result in higher wages for local talents, and more jobs: “noise” correct.
Here comes the spin:
But productivity gains saw a reversal in the second quarter of 2014 with negative growth of 1.3 per cent, bringing to an end a run of three straight quarters of positive growth.
Local employment growth remained strong at 41,000 (4.2 per cent year-on-year growth in June), with the services sector accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the jobs created, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM) on Monday.
Last year, the real median gross monthly income for full-time citizen workers went up by 4.6 per cent, the ministry said as it released details of Singapore’s labour market situation for the first half of 2014.
The seasonally adjusted citizen unemployment rate was stable at 2.9 per cent in June, while the resident long-term unemployment rate remained among the lowest in the world at 0.6 per cent.
Total employment grew by 27,700 in the second quarter of 2014, moderating from the growth of 33,700 in the same quarter last year, but comparable to the 28,300 in the first quarter of the year. This brought total employment to 3.55 million in June 2014, 3.8 per cent higher than a year ago.
The spin continues:
The latest numbers are indicative of the government’s ongoing push to progressively raise the quality of the foreign workforce [Govt admitting we have Trash like the SGX CEO and the president?] and reduce the reliance on foreign labour.
This, said MOM, is in line with national efforts to achieve quality economic growth driven by sustained productivity improvements … the ministry said that it expects the strong hiring of Singaporean workers to continue for the rest of this year.
This is due to a confluence of foreign workforce constraints [And govt still saying FT influx doesn’t affect locals’ wages?] , higher wages, and employers adopting flexible work arrangements to attract more women and older workers into the labour force.
MOM … wages are expected to continue moving up, but these increases could only be sustained over the long term by improving productivity.
As for foreign …, MOM said that their total employment growth slowed to 11,200 for the first six months of 2014, which was less than half compared to the same period in 2013 … foreign employment growth in the second quarter of 2014 came in at just 3,800 … lowest quarterly expansion since the third quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis, when only 700 foreign worker jobs were created.
[700 seems about right, though to Goh Meng Seng and Gilbert Goh, even one is one too many.]
OCBC economist Selena Ling said that foreign employment growth was at a low as firms continue to adjust to manpower policy constraints, although the transition process for selected labour-intensive services and construction sectors was “probably more accentuated”.
“The consolidation process for firms will likely continue in the interim as the productivity performance of these few sectors are still falling short of targets,” she said.
The productivity push, meanwhile, hit a roadblock in Q22014 with negative growth of 1.3 per cent. This ended a period of three straight quarters of positive gains.
[Post next GE, this will be excuse to lewt the FTs in]
“Overall productivity growth is expected to remain uneven,” said MOM in its outlook for the rest of the year.
Michael Smith … employment services provider Randstad, said that, in order to maintain productivity, employers should continue to offer workforce-relevant upskilling and career growth opportunities to help fill the gaps for skills that are in demand.
Ho hum, this makes it clear that the FT influx made this upgrading of skills unnecessary.
On the whole, MOM said that the current manpower-lean environment in Singapore will continue to be a feature of the economy in the coming years.
Come on, after next GE, the floodgates will open. Remember the population White Paper of 6m people?
“As the economy restructures, some consolidation and exit of less-productive businesses are expected. MOM and the Workforce Development Agency stand ready to help displaced local workers re-skill and upgrade so that they are positioned to take on the new jobs created.”
So long as FTs are allowed in by the A380 or 747 cattle-class load, this won’t help.
Castro* was asking Xi Jinping, earlier this yr when Xi visited Cuba.
He went on,”S’pore’s an exemplar for our way of doing things, a one-party state that is economically successful. According to leading Cambridge economist, Ha-Joon Chang, The country is usually known for its free trade policy and welcoming attitude towards foreign investments, but it has the most heavily state-owned economy, except for some oil states. State-owned enterprises produce 22% of Singapore’s national output, operating in a whole range of industries – not just the “usual suspects” of airline, telecommunications and electricity, but also semiconductors, engineering and shipping; and its housing and development board supplies 85% of the country’s homes.
‘But I hear that being kinder, more compassionate, tolerant hasn’t worked for the PAP’s popularity. Can only get 60% of the votes. Harry got high 70%s votes by intimidating his opponents, and bullying, haranguing the voters . Still he couldn’t beat my 99.9%, or Mao’s, Deng’s and yr popularity.
‘Any idea why his son is called Pinkie? And can you bring back a box of Havanas for his birthday: S’pore’s juz a bit further South. Yes, I know he doesn’t smoke, but he should start. I smoke a Havana a day and I think I’m fitter than he is.”
Above waz what I tot when I saw the u/m caption, pix and remark.
Caption for this photo anyone? asks the BBC’s Carrie Gracie.
My way of sending one LKY a belated birthday greeting. I’m sure the curses of the TRE ranters and other born-loser anti-PAP activists will invigorate him. Sith lords thrive on being hated.
*Lest anyone forgets, Castro is LKY’s contemporary. Came into power the same yr as LKY did (1959) and is still the ultimate arbiter in Cuba, ruled by younger brudder. To be fair to LKY, he was a lot less brutal in dealing with dissidents than Castro was.
“Against the many racial and religious conflicts elsewhere that we read about almost every day, the state of affairs here in Singapore is truly extraordinary. We must treasure it,” said Minister Khaw at a ceremony to hand out 194 citizenships to new arrivals. A total of about 3,150 new citizens were given their citizenship
dog-tags slave collars papers in ceremonies across the island last weekend.
It’s precisely because we want to avoid racial and religious conflicts that we are concerned with the creation of new citizenas, the way we plant “instant” trees. The latter is good, while the former harks back to the bad old* days.
In 1959 (the 50s and early 60s* were according to the PAP and the constructive, nation-building media bad. (Actually they were
paid bad according to my parents, only PJ Thum, TOC’s favourite authority on the period, seems to think that juz because S’pore was second biggest port in Asia, things were great then.). In 1959, only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here. When one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”.
So waz his son doing? I tot it took the third generation to destroy the prosperity, fortune built up by the patriarch. Is Pinky trying to destroy dad’s legacy in the second generation, even if as it seems dad may have repented of his decision to integrate S’poreans?
So the PAP and other FT lovers like Kirsten Han and William Wan should stop calling those who are concerned about immigration, xenophobes. They should be talking about the unfairness of PRC thugs bullying old-age aunties trying to earn a living: the PRCs it seems came here to do what the old aunties were doing, scavenge for cardboard waste. Tot PM says S’pore imports FTs to do jobs S’poreans can’t, or wont do. So how come PAP govt allows these PR FTs to steal from aunties, the way Indian, Pinoy FTs steal jobs from local PMEs?
But being FT lovers, they won’t. Btw, be thank for small mercies: the FTs still don’t have their very own NMP since William Wan didn’t get to becpme NMP. Taz far, if the hard core anti-PAP voters didn’t get Roy Ngerng, FTs too shouldn’t get their very own MP.
*Racial tensions, racial riots, political riots, massive unemployment.
I’ve blogged before that the PAP doesn’t need that many smart people as it follows most of the Economist’s prescriptions (except on hanging, drug legalisation, free media and a liberal democracy). It has been an Economist mantra that market pricing is “betterest” because it uncovers the “correct” price. It is also a PAP Hard Truth.
But now the Econimist seems to have second tots.
What if the “correct” pricing level were so high that it prohibited all but the rich from driving in the city? Gulliver paid £9 ($15) to park for a couple of hours next to a horribly overcrowded Dorset beach over the weekend. It was a scorching day, there was only one parking option and it was the first weekend of the school holidays. Unsurprisingly by the time I left attendants were turning away a long queue of cars. There was no public transport, and even if there had been it would have been impractical for Gulliver’s family and its array of apparently-essential beach tat. Who knows what the sweet price-spot on such a day would have been? Enough to put a day out on a public beach out of reach for many, I suspect.
Think CoEs and public housing. Is the “correct” pricing out of reach of most without access to cheap credit? I suspect so.
“A Changing world means changing policies and a changed party,” Tony Blair told a flock of die-hard supporters in London on July 21st reported the Economist.
Trouble is that the PAP’s other bible is “Hard Truths” by one LKY. But given that Tony Blair is now rumoured to be worth more than US$100m (he denies the allegation), maybe the PAP should respect his views on the need to change. A PAP MP eye doctor surely would.
The recent dip in labour productivity has the govt denying that restructuring is a failure. This and PM’s NDR speech reminded me that on 7 May, BT reported: The government will help small and medium enterprises maximise their local and foreign workers’ contributions, amid the ongoing manpower crunch*.
They also reminded me about an article I had read about a US SME.
Big Ass is a US manufacturer of industrial and commercial fans. It makes its fans in the US (a high wage country), pays workers’ well (almost 30% above the national average wage, and nearly 50% above the Kentucky average) and is profitable and thriving. Surely it can teach the govt and our local manufacturers something about productivity in a high-wage environment?
The firm pays almost 30% above the national average wage, and nearly 50% above the Kentucky average. It also returns 30% of profits to its 500 employees in the form of bonuses or share programs. As a result, it can hire the best people, and keep them: in 2013 its retention rate was 88%, compared with a national average of 62%. It also gets a lot out of its workers: productivity is up by 175% since 2009 on one industry measure. Any profits that aren’t returned to workers are ploughed back into the firm. “If we have any money over at the end of the year, we’ve missed an opportunity to invest,” observes Mr Smith.
No rocket science or magic formula. It’s about paying gd wages and reinvesting in the biz, not being mean on wages, so that the SME owner can buy more properties or new super cars.
And its about growing “our own timber” (Ngiam Tong Dow, remember him?, not importing FTs:
Mr Smith’s biggest challenge today, he believes, is ensuring that Big Ass becomes what he calls “a 200-year company”. Part of that is down to people: he believes in hiring out of college, and moving those new hires through a range of different jobs. “We want young people to understand the whole company, because they’re going to be running it 40 years from now,” he says. Another part is hardwiring long-term thinking into the firm’s processes.
It’s also about spending on R&D
Big Ass invests nearly 9% of its revenues in R&D, more than twice the manufacturing-industry average in America. A lot is spent on hit-or-miss blue-sky research.
And it’s always about the long term future (think LKY in the 60s, 70s and 80s):
Privately held firms are not subject to the short-term whims of shareholders, but they face their own hurdles. Mr Smith’s son, Tristan, works for the company, but will his heirs want to cash out, offshore production or change the culture? To ensure that the firm’s values endure, Mr Smith is exploring ways to separate management and ownership, and embed the way the company does business into its formal structure. He has spent a lot of time looking at long-lived firms in Germany, Japan and elsewhere for inspiration. “For me, this is the most complicated and difficult problem to solve.”
If Big Ass was a local SME, it would have brought in FTs by the container-load so that the owners could buy that Ferrari and luxury pent-house.
*This was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s assurance to firms at the Malay-Muslim Business Conference held on Wednesday.
He said the government cannot ease up on the limits it has imposed on foreign worker inflows to Singapore.
However, Mr Lee added that the number of foreign workers in the country is still growing, though not as fast as before. [Interpretation: FTs will grow by the 747 and A380 cattle class, not by the container-load.]
He noted that small businesses are very worried about manpower and that many of them want more foreign workers. Those unable to find workers have had to turn away business.
Mr Lee’s advice to firms was to offer higher wages and exciting jobs as the best way to attract good people.
He noted that this is only possible if companies raise productivity and climb up the value chain.
Mr Lee said firms can tap the various government schemes available to do that.
He also encouraged companies to venture overseas, with the government’s help.
S’pore’s govt is forever trying to copy the successes of other places. Examples
— Israel’ and Silicon Valley’s tech prowess (forgot about Estonia meh?);
— Germany’s SMEs’ structure;
— China’s internet, social media censorship practices (thank god we got Yaacob, a Malay, doing it, not the People’s Voice, TKL who wants S’pore to adopt the Chinese practice of all bloggers and posters registering their identities with the govt before they can comment);
— Scottish biotech prowess (the imported Scots went home);
— American social conservatives’ values on family (though not on abortion).
The has been adding to global warming (all that hot air, and methane from BS) and a waste of effort, money.
The govt should heed the words of a reader of the Economist (required reading of cabinet, civil service but apparently not Jason Chua and the other morons of that pro-PAP FB page, “Fabrications about the PAP”):
“What politicians and policymakers are looking for is a panacea. Imitating Germany will not work. There have been many attempts to imitate Silicon Valley, but no one has succeeded. It is impossible to copy the culture, thinking and collective experience found in a company or a country.”—on “German lessons”, July 12th 2014.
I could add that stopping aping might even help the PAP . I mean we like Israel got NS and high tech weaponry. But why we no got Iseal expertise in civilian high tech meh?. Btw, why NS and the welfare state go hand in hand.
The PAP should walk the talk of what DPM Teo said on 21 July
Singapore has to strengthen its track record of trust, knowledge, connectivity, and livability to attract global companies to set up shop in the country, but must also position itself where it can add most value, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
“To achieve sustainable growth, Singapore cannot simply continue to do more of the same, or to put in more resources in a linear fashion,” said Mr Teo, who was speaking at an annual scholarship award ceremony for the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Monday (July 21). (CNA)
The govt should remember that the world class port and the airport and the financial centre were developed without aping any other place. As was SIA, and Keppel Corp’s rig-building businesses. The starting point was the expertise already here, expertise that juz needed nurturing. And Dr Goh aped no-one when he developed Jurong and let the MBCs in.
This is how our constructive, nation-building BT reported how GIC is adding insult to injury:
AMID a gloomier outlook for fund managers globally, GIC has racked up annualised real returns of 4.1 per cent over the past 20 years to end-March this year, up from 4 per cent as at end-March last year. This return – above global inflation – was underpinned by a strong recovery in global financial markets, said the Singapore sovereign wealth fund.
Waz the point of this inflation-beating return when the 2.5% CPF rate is below S’pore’s inflation rate? Remember that until recently, we were told the 2.5% rate was justified given that inflation was oneish?
In late July after the June inflation numbers were released which showed core inflation slowed for a second straight month to 2.1 per cent after May’s 2.2%, but a drop to below 2% will be unlikely this year, OCBC economist Selena Ling told MediaCorp..
Especially as our CPF monies do find their way into the pool of funds managed by GIC. Not that this s any secret exposed by Roy Ngerng. I blogged about this in 2009. And I think TRE reproduced it then.
But with domestic cost pressures remaining the primary source of inflation, the government reiterated that core inflation (which strips out accommodation and private road transport costs) will stay elevated at 2-3 per cent in 2014.
The impact of rising consumer prices on households varied across different income groups in the first half of this year. Worst hit were the bottom 20 per cent of households: their larger expenditure shares on food and healthcare costs meant they experienced a higher inflation rate (excluding imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation) at 2 per cent, compared to the middle 60 per cent income group and the richest fifth of households (both at 1.7 per cent).
CIMB and DBS economists agreed that much of the increase in food and healthcare costs was the result of ongoing restructuring efforts, where a tight labour market has pushed costs (and therefore prices) up.
Said DBS’s Irvin Seah: “Restructuring is inflationary in nature, and it will affect everything. Even if we are unable to bring healthcare costs lower, we should try to moderate the pace of increase.”
According to a report released by the Department of Statistics (DOS) yesterday, Singapore households experienced a 1.7 per cent inflation rate in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2013. This was lower than the 1.9 per cent rise seen in the preceding six months.
Excluding imputed rentals on owner-occupied accommodation, the consumer price index (CPI) went up by 1.7 per cent in H1 2014 – slightly higher than the increase of 1.5 per cent in the second half of 2013.
As for the second half of this year, the government expects headline inflation to ease, due to lower car prices and accommodation costs.
What the charts show us that we import ICT stuff (5th in the world), add value then export them (4th).
When TRE republished this, Chris K* commented:
In short there is as much risks in an economy growing too fast as in growing too slow. The authorities had to be counter-cyclical i.e. push in the opposite direction to lessen the risks. In Singapore, the govt is cheering on the economy on, adding fuel to the fire. Stratospheric property prices, elevated cost of living, growing disparity in incomes are the result. They are irresponsible and unfit to run the economy*.
Because of its housing policies (keep on raising the prices of affordable public housing ’cause not to do so would be raiding reserves), a property crash (not juz the expected 20% fall)will result in a gloomy 50th yr anniversary next yr and the possibility*** of a freak election result. All the govt’s attempts to spend more of our money on ourselves in the hope of shoring up the vote for the PAP will go to nought.
As it is, the 20% fall is among other things based on GDP growth this yr of around 3.5%. If this turns out to be too optimistic (remember analyss have been busily revising downwards their above 4% growth), maybe property prices could fall 40%? A crash.
Those who want a slowing economy, esp those TRE posters who want a property crash should think of the hard working S’porean home owners (many of who whom are their friends and relatives), mortgaged to their eyeballs for basic shelter, not speculators (whose ranks are alleged to include millionaire ministers who have plenty of spare cash) that will be affected by a crash. Why should anyone be happy or gloat that others will suffer if property prices crash, unless the gloaters are lifer’s born losers.
And engineering slowdowns can be tricky. Ask the Swedes. They tried and now face deflation http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21606895-interest-rates-are-back-crisis-lows-sub-zero-conditions.
Let me be clear, I speak as a retiree who stands to benefit if the economy crashes: prices come down and I can eat gourmet meals every day. So I’m not talking my book in understanding the dilemma that the govt faces, even if it is responsible for the mess we are in.
But don’t worry. All the PAP govt needs to do is to allow borrowers to borrow more: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/property-prices-valuations-are-irrelevant-its-all-about-credit/
All those TRE born losers will be left leaving frus and banging balls again.
*He knows his financial stuff esp risk mgt. He had better. He works as a risk mgr in a nearby financial centre that is bigger than ours.
**His preceding comments: The comparison to the UK right at this moment bears watching. 1 year ago John Carney took over at the head of the Bank of England. He said at the time that interest rates will stay very low for a long time to come. Then the economy began to pick up steam and is now at around 2.9%, strong by European standards and close to the top of its long term growth potential. Last month John Carney has signalled to the markets that the central bank will be moving up its time frame to raise interest rates and head off risks. What are those risks? Strong growth raising the inflation rate. House prices shooting up causing instability. At the same time, the new financial stability committee is called to look into measures to mitigate these risks.
***Only possibility ’cause of GRC system. Anyway WP will support PAP if PAP doesn’t get majority. Low has said as much. PritamS wants it.