Singapore incomes to rise more slowly than before?

Working couples in Singapore, you have been warned.

The median income of households with two working members is likely to increase a little less in the next 10 years than it did in the past decade, based on what the minister said.

The government wants individual median income to go up from S$2,400 now to S$3,100 in 2010, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

That's less than a one-third increase — and less than the growth in the median household income in the last decade.

Median household income from work rose by a third from S$3,638 in 2000 to S$4,850 in 2009, according to Key Household Income Trends 2009, a paper issued by the Singapore Department of Statistics. Based on that report, I made this chart to write about the growing gap between average income and median income in Singapore.


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Lee Kuan Yew, Manmohan Singh, Amartya Sen, Sachin Tendulkar among world’s most influential people: Time

Lee_kuan_yew1 Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is on the 2010 Time 100 List — not as a leader but as a thinker."There is no better strategic thinker in the world today," says former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Time  entry on him. Wow!

Asians who make the Time list as leaders are Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatayama, United Arab Emirates President and ruler of Dubai Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Baidu founder Robin Li, Acer Group chairman JT Wang and Bo Xilai, boss of the city of Chongqing in China.

On the Time list of thinkers are the Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen and social worker Sanjit "Bunker" Roy, both from India.

Among other Indians on the list are cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, writer Chetan Bhagat, eye surgeon Perumalsamy Namperumalsamy and Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. Here's the full list with links to Time entries on these movers and shakers.

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Singapore 2nd freest economy, 1st in labour freedom

Singapore remains the second freest economy in the world but ranks first in labour freedom in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom compiled by the conservative Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. Labour freedom is used by the index to mean freedom to hire and fire workers. Singapore, described as "a nominally democratic state" in the report, scored 98.9 out of 100 for labour freedom and got an overall score of 86.1.

Hong Kong remained the world's freest economy with an overall score of 89.7 but only 87.4 for labour freedom. Australia is ranked third followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, America, Denmark and Chile. You can download the full report here.

Singapore was ranked the second least corrupt country in the world, with a score of 92 out of 100, just one place behind New Zealand, which scored 93.


Singapore got its lowest marks for financial freedom, scoring only 50 out of 100, as "the government seeks to maintain the domestic bank share of deposits above 50 percent".

What the Index of Economic Freedom stands for is freedom for companies and investors to do business as they please — within the rule of law. The less the government regulation, the greater the economic freedom, according to the index, which supports limited government and freedom from corruption. It does not support heavy government spending. That is one reason why America dropped from sixth to eighth place — because of the economic bailouts by the Obama administration. The report says:

The U.S. government’s interventionist responses to the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 have significantly undermined economic freedom and long-term prospects for economic growth.

Total government expenditures… are relatively high and rising rapidly. In the most recent year, government spending equalled 37.4 percent of GDP.

That is why America got a low score of 58 out of 100 for government spending.

Singapore, in contrast, with government spending equalling just 12.5 percent of the GDP, according to the report, got 95.3 out of 100.

The index gives each country a score of 0 to 100 on 10 counts — business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labour freedom. The 10 component scores are then averaged to give an overall economic freedom score for each country.

Here is the full report on Singapore:

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Singapore’s per capita GDP likely to top Japan’s

The Singapore economy is expected to grow by 3.8% this year and 4.5% next year, according to the World Bank. Private consumption after falling 3.1% last year is expected to grow 3% this year and 4% next year. Government consumption after rising 5.1% last year is projected to grow 3.4% this year and 3.2% next year. See this World Bank page for country snapshots. It opens on Angola but scroll through the search box and click on Singapore.

Malaysia is expected to grow by 4.1% this year and 4.8% next year — and Indonesia by 5.4% this year and 5.8% next year. Thailand and Hong Kong are expected to log slower growth — 3.5% followed by 4.2% for Thailand and 2.8% followed by 3.8% for Hong Kong.

The World Bank says:

Contrasted with earlier episodes of global downturns (for example the 2001–03 “dot-com” bust), the rebound and recovery path of GDP in East Asia is expected to be more muted, reflecting weaker global demand and less buoyant financial conditions…

For more information, you can download the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects 2010 full report here.

Singapore, however, is expected to overtake Japan as the country with the highest per capita GDP in Asia. Look at the charts.


Singapore's per capita GDP, according to the World Bank, fell from $41,654.70 in 2008 (when it was higher than Japan) to $39,112.40 in 2009 (when it was overtaken by Japan), but is expected to go up to $42,923.70 this year and $44,317.40 next year.

In Asia-Pacific only Australia has a higher per capita GDP — over $47,000 in 2008, down to nearly $43,000 in 2009, but expected to edge close to $50,000 this year and rise still higher next year.

But look at Norway, which has North Sea oil. Its per capita GDP was more than $98,000 in 2008! That fell to $80,000 last year but is expected to rise to more than $90,000 this year.

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