The Week In Numbers: Singapore Budget 2018

The much-awaited Singapore budget for 2018 was announced on Monday.

First off, Singapore reported a budget surplus of $9.61 billion last year. This makes up 2.1% of Singapore’s gross domestic product and is also the highest sum in 30 years. It also exceeds early estimates of $1.91 billion by about five times. Of the total surplus, $5 billion will be used for rail infrastructure fund. A further $2 billion will be used for subsidising ElderShield premiums and other forms of healthcare support for Singaporeans. The remaining amount will be dished out to adult Singaporeans as a one-time SG bonus of $100 to $300.

The goods and services tax will be increased from 7 to 9 percent. This is the first increase in over a decade. The increased GST will be implemented between 2021 to 2025. To help lower-income households cope with the increase, the permanent GST Voucher scheme will be topped up to $2 billion from the current $800 million.

The top marginal Buyer Stamp Duty will be raised from 3% to 4%. The new top marginal rate will apply to the portion of residential property value above $1 million. The change was effected on February 20.

In an effort to decrease tobacco consumption, tobacco excise duty will increase by 10%. The change means that excise duty for clove cigarettes and other cigarettes containing tobacco is raised from 38.8 cents to 42.7 cents per gram or part thereof.

A carbon tax will be imposed on facilities that produce 25,000 tonnes or more in greenhouse emissions a year. The tax will be $5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023. After which, the tax rate will be reviewed. The government has stated that it plans to increase the rate to between $10 and $15 per tonne of emissions by 2030.

Overall expenditure of the ministries in Singapore is expected to increase by 8.3% in FY 2018 to $80 billion. This will result in a budget deficit of $0.6 billion, the equivalent of 0.1% of Singapore’s GDP.

Meanwhile, Eurozone businesses growth remained strong this month. IHS Markit’s composite flash PMI for the eurozone, a guide to economic health, was 57.5 this month. An index measuring expected output in a year also increased to 68.3 from 68, the highest reading since IHS Markit started collecting the data in 2012.

Finally, Thailand’s economy grew by 3.9% last year, its fastest pace in five years. For the fourth quarter, the economy grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.5%. On a yearly basis, the fourth quarter grew by 4%. The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) maintained its 2018 economic growth forecast at 3.6% to 4.6%. The government raised its exports growth forecast to 6.8% from 5%. Thailand’s exports, which make up about two-thirds of the economy, increased by almost 10% last year.

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