Singaporeans still among the richest

Singaporeans still among the richest

Wealth down, but Singaporeans are still among the richest

Singaporeans figure as the world's eighth richest while the number of millionaires living in the country is expected to rise some 60% to 249,000 over the next five years, informed The Business Times.

Despite the fact that the city-state's total wealth this year slipped by 2.5% or US$25 billion (S$30.76 billion) to US$1 trillion (S$1.23 trillion), Singapore continues to be the third richest in Asia and eighth globally, a recent Credit Suisse wealth shows.

However, Singapore has experienced a drop in comparison to last year when it ranked second behind Australia and was the fifth wealthiest at a global scale.

This fall is allegedly due principally to a decline in household financial assets measured in US dollars. The study defines household wealth as all assets –physical, property and financial – minus debt.

During the time studied, the Singapore dollar went down 4.3% and domestic stock market capitalisation fell by 8.2%, at the time home prices increased 2%. As well, the number of millionaires in Singapore fell by 9% to 156,000 from 165,000.

However, this hold-up is circumstantial as Credit Suisse predicts that in the next five years, Singapore millionaires will soar over 60% to 249,000 as a result of positive forecasts and on-going wealth growth.

"Singapore is a well-managed economy with high savings rate, and we are confident that the conduct of economic and exchange rate policy would sustain medium-term economic growth," said Chew Soon Gek, Head of Strategy and Economic Research, Private Banking Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse.

Fears decrease as inflation eases

Fears decrease as inflation eases

Recession fears decrease as Singapore's inflation eases

Recession worries in Singapore have been reduced after a new study showed that the city-state's inflation decelerated to some extent in October as the cost of housing rose at a slower pace.

According to a Reuters news agency poll, inflation in the country "probably slowed slightly in October," which has caused analysts and government officials to be positive that the city-state will escape a recession that has been troubling the economy in recent months.

However, the study warns that rising prices will remain a primary task for policymakers as the country's economy continues to head to a slowdown.

Singapore's consumer price index (CPI) rose by 4.6% in October from a year ago, marginally below September's 4.7% pace but considerably above past levels of 2-3%, according to the median forecast of 12 economists.

Core inflation –which excludes the cost of cars and housing as they are more influenced by government policy- possibly edged down to 2.3 per cent year-on-year from September's 2.4 per cent. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) carefully examines the core figure when settling policy.

"Headline inflation probably eased to 3.6 per cent in August, helped in part by a high base last year for transport and housing," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note to clients. "The lower inflation reading will likely give the MAS room to ease policy at the October meeting."

Over the past two years, Singapore has been suffering from greater inflation than usual mainly due to a spike in housing rents and car prices amidst a slow economy. Additionally, the manufacturing sector had already suffered a slowdown in production and exports over the past few months, which accentuated worries that Singapore was facing a recession.

Measures to make it harder for firms to hire low-cost workers from abroad have led to a tight job market which has also fostered inflation by pushing up the cost of services such as healthcare and cleaning services.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he is confident the city-state will avoid being the first major Asian economy to fall into recession this year as there are positive job numbers in the city.

Singaporean economy

Singaporean economy

Singaporean economy contracts 1.5% this year

Singapore's GDP this will likely grow only 1.5% or less, after the economy did a weaker performance than previously expected in Q3. Despite the economy's slowdown in the July to September period, the country has narrowly avoided a technical recession -two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said that the growth - which dropped to the bottom range of its prior forecast of 1.5 to 2.5%- may even slip under 1.5% if weakness in the externally-oriented sectors continues in the current quarter.

Declining exports to Europe, the US and China have slowed down Asian countries' economic growth. A weaker demand from those key markets has slowed down manufacturing in recent months and, consequently, shaken up Singapore's economy, which is heavily dependent on export.

The government was expected by many analysts to loosen monetary policy and weaken the Singaporean dollar, as a strong currency makes exports more expensive overseas. As a result, the profits earned by exporters are cut down.

Nonetheless, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it would uphold its policy of allowing a slight and steady appreciation of the currency.

"I am a bit surprised that MAS chose to maintain, given signs that global growth momentum has lost steam and many other central banks have chosen to ease," said Song Sen Wun, economist at CIMB in Singapore. The fact that we averted a technical recession and the worry about the impact of the tight labour market probably kept them from easing."

The Ministry of Trade and Industry added that Singapore was still on its way to reach the target growth of between 1.5% and 2.5% for 2012.

Singapore Facebook

Singapore Facebook

Singapore Facebook Usage Remains Solid

More than two-thirds of Singapore's population will use Facebook by 2013 and average usage levels will increase, according to a study of the social network usage by social media marketing firm Rock Publicity.

In 2012, there were 3,220,500 Facebook users in Singapore (62.2% of the city-state's population), and, according to the projections of the report, this figure will rise to 3,499,490 (67.5%) in 2013.

A significant proportion of Singaporeans (76.9%) of Singaporeans with household Internet access were Facebook users, and they averaged 19.6 hours of active use monthly on the social network this year, while 47.5 hours logged in per month. According to Rock Publicity forecasts, those monthly averages will increase next year to 20.7 hours and 50.1 hours, respectively.

Moreover, the study predicts that Facebook Singaporeans on Facebook will amount 38.1 minutes per session in 2013, compared to the current 37.9 minutes.

As to status updates, the figure will rise from 18.7 (2012) to 20.3 next year. In the meantime, the average number of friends in the social network is predicted to reach 372 next year, which is a considerable leap from the present 319.5.

The report also forecasts an increase in average from 37 "likes" per month (2012) to 39.1 in 2013 in the city-state. As to "shares" per month, Rock Publicity sees the 2012 average of 22.6 leaping to 30.1 next year.

The report also considered the possibilities of technologies and the exposure to marketing strategies anytime, anywhere. Therefore, in terms of accessing Facebook through mobile devices, the report predicts an increase from 64.4% of Facebook users in the country this year to 77.1 in 2013.