Friday, 27 April 2012

Singapore Self-Inflicted Inflation

The Straits Time on Friday 27 April published an Insight Article on "Made in Singapore" Inflation which hit 5.2 percent last year!

Notable phrases in the article included :
  • Trader Leon Tham, 29, who is based in New York and back here for a visit says," The cost of a car here is astronomical compared to that in the United States. And the price of a condo in Singapore might soon be more expensive than a similar one in New York. It is becomming very unaffordable even by global standards."
  • Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Mr Singh says " the Government has responsibility here, because the demand and supply imbalance was caused by planning issues." He adds : This was created internally because of our rapid population increase. So in housing, or transport, the pressure is to be expected."
  • What has caused the change? One factor is monetary policy in Western developed countries. They are keeping interest rates near zero in order to boost their anaemic economies, causing a raft of foreign money to flow to this part of the world and pushing asset prices, especially in the property market.
  • Similarly for cars. To fight congestion, a decision has been taken to reduce the annual rate of growth of the vehicle population from 1.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent from August. That could see COE prices already at a 20 year high soar past $100,000 in the next few months, warns Dr Chua.
Even anecdotal experience shows that actual inflation is more than 5.2 percent. Manual Car Wash has increased from $6 to $8 ! 33% increase! Even a bowl of mango sago dessert is now $4! compared to $3 previously!

Mr Singh says "The Governement knows what to do to make things comfortable. Unfortunately it cannot happen overnight."

Well here are some solutions that will immediately slow inflation down.
  1. Mandate that only Singaporean citizens are entitled to purchase COEs and they cannot be resold to PR or Foreigners. PRs and Foreigner can rent or take taxis or public transport.
  2. Mandate that new launches of Private Housing can be sold to all, but all resale Private Housing must be sold to Singaporeans. Make the PRs and Foreigners rent from Singaporeans.
  3. All foriegn capital influx must be taxed at 15% interest rates when put into Singapore banks or financial institutions, a corresponding increase in deposit rates for Singapore Citizens will then apply.
These measures will put money directly into the pockets of Singaporeans. All the useless COE and 10% additional buyers stamp duty for foreigners just put money into the Govt coffers! So that they have so much $$$ to give US$ 5 bln of Singaporean's money to IMF.

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