The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday (Jan 29) posted a half-truth on the sale of Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB), giving an impression that the government debt program is popular. Calling the first issuance in January “oversubscribed”, the MAS said that a total of S$172 million of bond have been applied when there are only an issuance of S$150 million in January.
However a look at past SSB sales record says otherwise. Comparing year-on-year, the 2018 January issuance of S$150 million is only half the size of the S$300 million target in 2016 January. MAS did not explain why the target was sneakily reduced by half, but it appears the government has been embarrassed by the low take-up rate of the debt program.
In 2015, the Singapore government launched the SSB to borrow between to S$2-S$4 billion. The government launched similar debt programs to borrow more money thereafter, S$4 billion target in 2016 and S$2 billion in 2017. However, according MAS Board member Minister Ong Ye Kung, there were only S$1.1 billion in March 2017.
SSB pays interest rates as low as 2.13% over 10 years, but according to state media Straits Times, the portfolios in the SSB “achieved double digit growth” up to 17.7% in 2017 alone. The fake news media however did cautioned that the “double digit” was only “simulated”.
The MAS reports directly to the Prime Minister’s Office, while GIC is headed by Chairman Lee Hsien Loong. The world’s most expensive Prime Minister claimed that he has no conflict of interest and he is ready to sue anyone who accuse him of corruptions in his Singapore Court.