One can’t have too much of a good thing. Singapore is in such an enviable position that the government is trying to cool property prices and slow down employment growth. Apparently if they rise any higher, there could be economic overheating.
Singapore’s ministers remain the highest paid in the world even after proposed pay cuts, with even junior ministers getting more than President Barack Obama, as we saw in a previous post yesterday.
But then the Singapore economy has been doing well by various measures. While the economic growth rate fell from 14.5 per cent in 2010 to 4.8 per cent in 2011, unemployment is down to only 2 per cent.
So let’s look at the world’s highest paid leaders and their economies measured by various indicators.Continue Reading
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his New Year message the Singapore economy is expected to grow only 1 per cent to 3 per cent this year , down from 4.8 per cent last year, because the government is tightening the inflow of foreign workers. “Admitting fewer workers means forgoing business opportunities and slower growth,” he said. This chart shows Singapore’s economic performance together with its population growth from 2000 to 2011.
The figures are from the Singapore Department of Statistics website. The GDP figures are taken from this page and the population data from here and here. See the following table which shows how the total population has increased along with the number of Singapore citizens, permanent residents (PRs) and non-resident foreigners from 2005 to 2011. Continue Reading
Singapore is unusual in deliberately adopting policies that will slow down economic growth. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his 2012 New Year message that the government expected only 1 to 3 per cent economic growth this year down from 4.8 per cent last year because it is tightening the inflow of foreign workers.
This chart shows Singapore’s growth rate from 2000 to 2011. The next chart shows how the population has grown during this period. All the figures are from Singapore’s Department of Statistics website. The population data are midyear estimates.
Singapore’s sizzling growth in the first half of the year ended with the economy shrinking by nearly 20 per cent in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter. This is the worst quarterly performance in a year.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is toughing it out, announcing today that “the Singapore economy remains on track to achieve the overall forecast of 13 to 15 per cent growth for the whole of 2010″. It said:
“Advance estimates showed that the economy expanded by 10.5 per cent in the third quarter compared with a year ago.”
But – here comes the rub – the economy contracted by 19.8 per cent compared with the previous quarter.
A country's ranking in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report depends largely on an executive opinion survey. If the business executives in one country rate its infrastructure, government institutions or education system highly, its score goes up in those categories. These are used to decide overall rankings.
Singapore is the world's third most competitive economy, according to this year's report, for the second year in a row. Switzerland remains No 1 while Sweden has moved up to second place. America, which slipped to second spot last year, is down to fourth place.
What these rankings reflect is business confidence in a country.
In Singapore, the business executives who took part in the survey were chosen with the help of the Economic Development Board. In some countries, they were chosen with the help of non-government bodies. The London School of Economics helped in Britain, the Confederation of Indian Industries in India.
Singapore excelled in those categories where the rankings were based on the executive opinion survey. The executives, chosen with the help of the Economic Development Board, gave it near-perfect scores for quality of education, public trust in politicians and several other categories.
(These charts from the Global Competitiveness Report are based not on the executive opinion survey but on other sources.)
Singapore is first in the world for quality of higher education, first in math and science and Singapore's politicians enjoy the highest public trust in the world.
That's according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011, released by the World Economic Forum today.
Singapore remains the world's third most competitive economy, overtaken by Sweden, which has jumped to second place from fourth. Sweden also has the third most trusted politicians in the world, after Singapore and Qatar. (See the list of countries with the most trusted politicians at the end of this post.)
Switzerland remains the world's most competitive economy for the second year running, while America, the former No 1 which dropped to second spot last year, is now down to fourth place. Swiss politicians are the 12th most trusted in the world.
Singapore finishes in the top 20 in almost every category except judicial independence, in which it is ranked 21st, and intensity of local competition, in which it is ranked 28th.
The report is based on national and international data as well as an executive opinion survey. In Singapore, the business executives surveyed were selected with the help of the Economic Development Board. See How the Global Competitiveness Report is prepared.
Singapore remains the world's third most competitive economy, overtaken by Sweden, which moves up to the second spot from fourth place last year.
Switzerland remains No 1 in the Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011, released today by the World Economic Forum.
The big loser is America, dropping to fourth position after already ceding the top place to Switzerland last year. The report says, "There has been a weakening of the United States’ public and private institutions" and notes "lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets".
The report says Singapore ranks
- First for lack of corruption and for government efficiency
- First for the efficiency of its goods and labour markets
- Second for its financial market sophistication
- Fifth for infrastructure.
Singapore's competitiveness is "buttressed by a strong focus on education, providing individuals with the skills needed for a rapidly changing global economy," says the report.
However, Singapore could "encourage even stronger adoption of the latest technologies as well as policies that enhance the sophistication of its companies", it adds.
Singapore scores lower for innovation, market sophistication, and technological readiness than for health and education, infrastructure, institutions, and efficiency in goods and labour markets. You can see the full report on the World Economic Forum website.
Singapore is, by common consent, one of the most open economies in the world. Yet, more than 80 per cent of the Singaporeans live in public housing, the buses and trains are run by two government-linked companies, the mainstream media really state media – the television stations owned outright by a state investment firm, the print monopoly traditionally headed by former government ministers or officials – and many of the top local companies are also linked to the government.
And this economic model has worked very well for Singapore.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Joseph Stiglitz says in his book, Freefall:
Government has played an especially large role in the highly successful economies of East Asia… Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, and a host of other countries followed and adapted Japan's (government-led growth) strategy and saw per capita incomes increase eightfold in a quarter century.