What with the PM promising goodies in the Febuary Budget; the news that the supply S’pore citizenships and PRs was halved ; measures meant cool property prices and more to come if necessary; and with the “removal” of comrade Mah from the PAP politburo, it would seem that a general election is on the cards soon, possibly as soon as March.
But there could be an economic problem brewing, if the worse fears of a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst materialise, that could derail any plans for a March GE.
Last week, it was announced that Singapore’s key non-oil domestic exports (NODX) in November had its biggest monthly fall in eight years. The NODX fell 12.9% month-on-month in November, the largest monthly drop since December 2002. Blame it on pharmaceutical exports which are always very volatile.
So analysts are pretty relaxed except for one who has concerns.
A Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist noted that even if pharmaceutical export is removed,”the NODX’s slowdown in November contrasts with the robust export performances of South Korea (+24.6 per cent vs +27.6 per cent in October), Taiwan (+21.8 per cent vs +21.9 per cent in October) and China (+34.9 per cent vs +22.9 per cent in October).”
He raised the possibility of Singapore exports facing structural problems such as the “stronger Singapore dollar and stricter foreign labour policy”, but he said more indicators are needed to confirm it.
My guess is that if the December or January NODX numbers do not show a recovery from November’s numbers, the election will be further delayed. Remember the latest possible date is in early 2012.
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