According to the latest release from the Singapore Department of Statistics, personal disposable incomes in Q3 in Singapore have grown by 9.8 per cent on a year-on-year basis — the fastest pace in a decade.
This is a result of both rapidly accelerating employee compensation (consisting salaries, bonuses, CPF contributions etc), which has grown by 10.2 per cent — the fastest pace since Q1 2011 — as well as GST voucher scheme’s cash payouts: a total of S$1.5 billion disbursed by the government to help Singaporeans cope with this year’s high inflation.
This alone likely bumped the personal incomes by about 2 to 2.5 percentage points — what is particularly important for those less well-off who are recipients of the programme.
This puts real annual incomes, corrected for inflation, on a positive trajectory, particularly given that core inflation eased to 5.1 per cent in October while headline inflation figure stood still at 7.5 per cent.
Consumption and savings follow the money
Following the exit of the strict lockdown restrictions, Singaporeans continue to part with money at an increasingly higher rate, having spent 17 per cent more in the past quarter than a year ago — though given the massive lag caused by the pandemic, it seems like it’s just a return to business as usual and a growth trajectory that the economy was on prior to the pandemic.
Fortunately, however, they appear to be replenishing their savings accounts as well, as the personal saving rate bounced back up over 30 per cent and is likely to seasonally peak a few percentage point above it in Q1 2023.
What’s notable is that Singaporeans are entering 2023 — which many warn could be a more tumultuous year, given the prospects of an economic slowdown or even recession in the West — with quite a solid support in savings (not something that was the case 20 years ago, as you can see below).
All in all, despite stormy, volatile conditions in 2022, growing transportation, energy and food prices this year, Singaporeans appear to be among those better off in the world (all things considered).
Of course, these are just broad statistical averages and personal situation may vary between individuals and families.
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