Blaming “strong Singaporean currency”, the Singapore central bank Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that they lost S$13.8 billion in the Official Foreign Reserves (OFR). During the annual report press release yesterday (Jul 4), the Managing Director of MAS Ravi Menon played down the figure advising Singaporeans “the best way to interpret”:
“Investment gains … are inherently volatile. The best way to interpret the number is to look at the 10-year average (which is a) good judgment of the kinds of investment gains that MAS is making over a long-term period. Year to year, there will be fluctuations. Over the last 10 financial years, investment gains, derived after stripping out currency translation effects, averaged S$12.1 billion per annum.”
For the financial year of 2017/18, the OFR grew by only 2.3%. As of 31 Mar 2018, there is only S$376.5 billion. The return is lower than the CPF interest return of 2.5%, which is already at a record low since inception.
There has been increasing worries over the financial health of Singapore’s reserves and CPF funds as the Singapore government have been relentlessly increasing taxes. Last month (Jun 2018), sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings announced that they need to raise money from the public. The CEO of Temasek Holdings is the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, a former engineer who had no prior experience managing investment funds. The Chairman of the other sovereign wealth fund company GIC is the Prime Minister himself. Lee Hsien Loong was only a career politician and military officer, similarly, with zero fund management experience. In 2017, GIC reported an undisclosed loss estimated at at least S$43 billion.
Aside from drawing S$2.2 million a year as Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong draw an undisclosed salary as Chairman of GIC – estimated at S$10 million a year (benchmark against salary of the Chairman at state-owned bank DBS). Ho Ching is believed to draw no less than S$100 million a year, based off her former successor Chip Goodyear’s remunerations at BHP Billiton.
The Singapore dictator controls the MAS, Ministry of Finance, corruption bureau CPIB and the Singapore President, whom he installed last year through undemocratic means.