COL goes Up, Up, Up!

Oops, The Economy Broke: Reasons for Singapore’s Inflation Scare

Did you have breakfast this morning? I sure as hell didn’t. Or rather I did, but then I read the news and upchucked four hot cakes from sheer shock. The consumer price index was at 5.2% in March, and may hit 6%. Our inflation’s growing faster than my waistline, and I’m Singapore’s most popular model…for the “Before” pictures in weight loss ads. But what’s causing our economy to bloat like Steven Segal after 40? Read on and find out:

How Bad Is Our Inflation?

The consumer price index (CPI) checks the price difference of a market basket of goods over time. So a CPI of 5.2% suggests, in a very simplified way, that most of what you buy will cost 5.2% more.
Unless you’ve gotten a matching raise in your pay, it means you now have less money. And apart from everything costing more, the inflation eats into your bank savings. Your bank’s interest rate (even for fixed and structured deposits) are nowhere near the 5.2% inflation. So if you have a savings deposit, you may as well lock your money in a room with a lighter and an arsonist.

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Electricity tariffs to increase by 4.3% from April 1 to June 30

The electricity tariffs will increase by 4.3 per cent for the period from April 1 to June 30.

The electricity tariff for households will increase by 4.3 per cent (or 1.19 cents per kwh) from 27.59 to 28.78 cents per kwh.

This will increase the average monthly electricity bill for families living in four-room Housing Board flats by $4.18

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Gas tariff for households raised from May

SINGAPORE - Gas tariff for households are set to rise again, with City Gas announcing today a 3.3 per cent increase with effect from next month.

The tariff will be increased from 21.45 cents to 22.16 cents per kWh for the period of May to July. The increase in the average town gas bill for households will range from 35 cents a month for one-room Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats to 61 cents a month for five-room HDB flats.

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What's the plan to blunt spike in domestic inflation?

TUESDAY'S report ('Inflation hits 5.2% in March') on the surprising big spike in inflation last month cited the usual suspects - car prices and housing costs - as the main culprits.

This is unsurprising given, for instance, the acute increase in certificate of entitlement (COE) prices.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced two weeks ago ('Cost of living likely to rise further this year'; April 14) that it would let the Singapore dollar appreciate at a faster pace to check imported inflation.

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Blue-collar workers: Food is a headache with inflation rise

According to the latest figures, inflation hit 5.2 per cent in March. But what this does not show is that the impact on the man on the street differs depending on which segment of the population he belongs to. Some groups have been hit harder, while others say they have yet to feel the pinch from higher costs.

For blue-collar workers and those on low incomes, inflation has long been a worry. But in recent months, they have really begun to feel the pinch.
The Straits Times interviewed 10 people who live in one-, two- or three-room flats. All of them named food and utilities as the two main causes of concern.

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Elderly: Health-care, utility costs are worries

Rising health-care and utility bills are the leading concerns for retirees.

Those who spoke to The Straits Times said they felt their medical costs would only increase. And with no source of income, they were worried about how they would cope.

Former accountant Eileen Chan, 62, told how a recent consultation at a public hospital cost her $65, which she felt was expensive.

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Housewives: Cutting back on eating out with rising costs

To beat inflation, housewives try to save on food items, which they say is where rising costs have hit them the hardest.

Of the 12 homemakers who spoke to The Straits Times, all expressed concern over their growing bills as prices for most kinds of meat and vegetables have gone up in recent years.

'I used to spend around $500 a month on groceries, but the amount had gone up to as much as $800 last month,' said Madam Nipunika Edirisinghe, 38, who is married with a six-year-old son.

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Higher costs still bearable for professionals

Professionals say they have noticed prices creeping up following last month's sharp rise in inflation but, so far, the pain has been bearable.

All 14 who spoke to The Straits Times said they had felt the effects of the unexpected increase to 5.2 per cent.

Yet the majority said that inflation was still manageable because daily necessities such as transport and food remained affordable, even after price rises.

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Consumers may have to bear brunt of higher rents and wages

Consumers face the prospect of even more price rises this year as businesses prepare to pass on the expense of soaring rents and wages.

Bosses told The Straits Times on Wednesday that the relentless pace of cost increases could leave them with no choice but to make their customers share some of the pain.

'Rent and labour costs are creeping upwards,' said Mr Douglas Foo, chief executive of home-grown chain Sakae Sushi, noting that they have risen 'easily 10 to 20 per cent over the last one to two years'.

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Singapore's Inflation Surged 5.2 Per Cent In March 2012

SINGAPORE, April 23 (Bernama) -- Singapore's Consumer Price Index (CPI)-All Items inflation rose to 5.2 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in March 2012 from 4.6 per cent in February 2012, on account of a sharper increase in COE (vehicle certificate of entitlement) premiums which led to higher car http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifprices.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
In a statement, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Ministry of Trade and Industry and said private road transport cost added 1.3 percentage points to CPI-All Items inflation in March, slightly more than twice its contribution in February.

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Singapore Inflation Accelerates More Than Expected

RTTNews) - Singapore's inflation increased more than expected in March on higher car prices, a joint statement released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Monetary Authority of Singapore showed Monday.

Annual inflation rose to 5.2 percent in March from 4.6 percent in February. The rate also exceeded the 4.7 percent expected by economists. Month-on-month, consumer prices climbed 0.8 percent largely due to higher car prices.

At the previous monetary policy meeting, the Monetary Authority of Singapore lifted the headline inflation forecast for 2012 to 3.5-4.5 percent from 2.5-3.5 percent. Today's report said inflation would average around 5 percent annually in the first half of the year before easing gradually in the second half.

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Singapore Inflation Jumps, Keeping Heat On Central Bank

Singapore's consumer price index rose at a faster-than-expected pace in March, driven by a surge in costs of private road transport and housing, highlighting a stubborn inflation problem that the central bank moved to tackle last week with a surprise tightening in monetary policy.

The CPI rose 5.2% from a year earlier, accelerating from a 4.6% rise in February, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said Monday. It was the fastest rate since December, when inflation hit 5.5%.
The median estimate in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of 10 economists had pointed to a 4.7% rise.

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MOM reports 9,990 workers laid off in 2011

Amid more moderate economic growth, layoffs of workers increased slightly in 2011 with some 9,990 workers made redundant.

Findings from the Redundancy And Re-entry Into Employment, 2011 report released by the Ministry of Manpower's Research and Statistics Department on Thursday showed that the figure was slightly up from 9,800 in 2010. This translated to 5.5 workers made redundant for every 1,000 employees in 2011, down from 5.7 in 2010.

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Oh, the pain of food inflation!

Earlier this week, the Government revealed that Singapore’s inflation rate is 5.2 percent in March, 2012. From 1962 until 2010, the average inflation rate in Singapore was 2.73 percent with an historical high of 34.00 percent in March of 1974 (following the oil price shocks) and a record low of -3.10 percent in September of 1976.

I should point out that the terrible high inflation rate almost 40 years ago was matched by bank or finance company deposit rates that were sky high. I remember mum enjoying 13 or 14 percent per annum interest while property prices were only a fraction of today’s prices. Mum sold a Grange Road walk-up flat for $64,ooo while our local helper and her husband bought a 3-room HDB flat in Avenue 2, Clementi for $12,000.

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How do Singapore's poor families get by?

Nurhaida, 29, who is unemployed with six children in Singapore, says it is difficult to make ends meet

Nurhaida Binte Jantan is making dinner. She is roasting otah-otah, a Malay dish of fish paste wrapped in banana leaves, over a portable stove.
She is a 29-year-old unemployed single mother with six children from five to 13 years old. She lives in a tiny flat, just 30 square metres, with little furnishing.
There is no dining table, so the children eat their otah-otah with rice and chillies crouched on the floor.

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