The Week In Numbers – Achievements Of A Great Leader

There is probably only one number that should really matter to the people of Singapore this week. It is the economic value of every person in Singapore that today stands at US$55,000. At the time of Singapore’s independence in 1965, it was just US$500. But thanks to the foresight and the vision of Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away this week, he has elevated the economic output of Singaporeans 110-fold in 50 years.

Elsewhere, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) reckons that Asian economies could be buffeted by storms outside the region. The ADB points to a rapid build-up of debt in some of Asia’s developing economies; the reversal of capital flows from advanced to emerging economies and gyrating oil prices. The bank expects economic growth in the region to come in at 6.3% both this year and next.

Further signs of a slowdown in China’s economy were provided by disappointing factory numbers. The Flash Purchasing Manager’s Index sank to an 11-month low of 49.2. A reading below 50 implies contraction.  What happens next could be pivotal in terms of China’s economy. Some believe that the Chinese government could ease monetary policy again to help alleviate the challenges facing the country’s manufacturing sector.

What should we make of Singapore’s latest inflation numbers? On the one hand, the headline figure of minus 0.3% suggests that consumer prices are falling. But on the other hand, core inflation, which ignores accommodation and private transportation costs rose 1.3%.

So, are consumer prices going up or are they going down? Well, food prices went up, thanks to the Chinese New Year effect, and so did the cost of services. But as to what the Monetary Authority of Singapore could do next is anyone’s guess.

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