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Last Week in Numbers: Singapore Aims to Be Cheque-Free by 2025

The growing popularity of e-payments in Singapore has led the government to aim for the country to be cheque-free by 2025. According to Education Minister and Monetary Authority of Singapore board member Ong Ye Kung, more than 80% of consumers have already adopted e-payments, and almost 60% of merchants are accepting forms of online payment. The total value of e-payments have grown by more than S$10 billion a year. At the same time, ATM withdrawals have dropped by more than S$300 million a year. ATM cash withdrawals have dropped from 60% of e-payment transacted value to 40% at the end of last year.

The share of cheques as a proportion of all payments dropped to 28% last year, compared to 37% in 2015. Mr Ong said that Singapore should aim to reduce that to 15% by 2020 and become completely cheque-free by 2025, a feat achieved in Sweden.

The first promise of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un has been met. President Donald Trump announced that the remains of 200 US troops missing from the Korean War had been returned. However, about 7,700 US military personnel remains still remain unaccounted from the war. A total of more than 36,500 US troops died during the conflict.

According to economists, the escalating US-China trade conflict could have significant damage to the Chinese economy, cutting the nation’s economic growth by as much as half a percentage point. Trump, on Monday evening, had ordered the identification of US$200 billion in Chinese imports for an additional 10% tariff, with another US$200 billion after that if Beijing retaliates. He had already placed 25% tariffs on US$50 billion worth of goods, starting July 6, with an initial US$34 billion worth of imports.

UBS Group estimates the initial round of tariffs could drag economic growth by 0.1%, with the additional tariffs dragging growth by between 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points. The Chinese government had set a growth target of 6.5% for the current year. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is, however, more positive saying that the Trump threats are more of a bargaining strategy.

Meanwhile, construction of US homes accelerated to a near 11-year peak. Housing starts jumped 5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.35 million units last month. This was the highest level since July 2007. However, two straight months of a drop in the number of permits suggests the housing market activity will remain moderate.

Singapore’s non-oil exports reported another strong month of growth in May, jumping 15.5% year-on-year. This beat April’s 11.8% rise and analysts’ 3% estimate. Shipments of electronic products slipped 7.8%, but a 26.2% surge in non-electronic non-oil domestic exports more than made up for it.

According to a Capgemini report, rich Asians are getting richer faster than their global counterparts. Wealth assets held by high-net-worth individuals in the Asia Pacific region jumped 15% to US$21.6 trillion in 2017. Accelerating economic growth and equity market rallies have helped increase the global total to a record US$70.2 trillion. The report, which defines high-net-worth individuals as those with at least US$1 million in investable assets, also expects global wealth to exceed US$100 trillion by 2025.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Jeremy Chia doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.