Friday, October 12, 2012

Technical Issues About Money

In April 2012. the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had restated Singapore’s fiscal data in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) database. The restatement increased the figure for the cumulative government surplus for the period 1990-2011 from $271bn as reported in the WEO database in September 2011 to $429bn.

So what were the "technical issues" (in IMF language) that resulted in a increase of the cumulative government surplus? "Factually yours" would like you to believe that the restatement of data in the WEO database was due to "technical errors".

There's no error. The IMF presentation format (Government Finance Statistics Manual - GFSM 2001) includes all receipts, including land sales proceeds, and total investment income.

The presentation format of the Government Budget is different, deviating even from the government finance data reported in the Yearbook of Statistics published by the Singapore Department of Statistics.

The official explanation per FAQ #8:
"1) The Overall Budget Balance excludes proceeds derived from the sale of land, as these are not available for spending and are part of Past Reserves. This is because the sale of land converts a land asset into a financial asset, with both comprising part of Past Reserves. To spend the financial proceeds from land sales will mean drawing down Past Reserves."

Moreover, only up to 50% of net investment returns on a real basis can be included in the Budget for spending by the Government, thanks to the Reserves Protection Framework in the Singapore Constitution. They are hence not included in the Government Budget, which provides the fiscal resources available to the Government to spend on public infrastructure, health care, social welfare, education, and the insatiable appetite of the war machinery.

In simple terms, not all of the profits harvested from property sales and investment of our CPF savings are distributed for the good of the people. That portion of the housing price tag attributed to "opportunity cost of land" is squirrelled away beyond touch. The acclaimed double-digit returns from CPF funds converted into "special securities" for investment deals translate to only 2% for the original owners. That how the math works in Singapore. Nobody outside a select coterie  is allowed to peek at the true picture of the reserves, save the President, that's the uncle in the family tree.

After it was announced that the economy shrank by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter, analysts said there was a good chance of Singapore entering a technical recession. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's solution hinted on Tuesday was that Q2 figures may be revised upwards into positive territory. See, they do it all the time. All done by restating numbers.

"I think that's another reason why we must keep our economy strong, because there's a very big impact on the mood of the people on the confidence of the population and of investors when they see an economy which is able to continue to make progress steadily." Technically that's as accurate as it gets. When the economy is down, the mood of the people tends to sour pretty quickly.


  1. You mean the mood of the MIW because their bonus is affected? lol

  2. That bunch of low hanging grape called the GDP bonus is just too juicy for their picking, cannot resist. They can always claim "best practice", or "peer group pressure" or "market practice" for fudging the numbers - the CPC does it monthly, they hit "market estimates like all the Nasdaq listed companies, and Obama did it to their unemployment rate last month. And so, the PM got a call from his top civil servants while playing with the kiwis and roos down under, informing him that it's perfectly normal to "use the same "methodology" and ordered a "recount" of 2Q GDP.

    A far more serious problem is that IMF-uncovered "hidden reserves" which has since been re-hidden thanks to our $4b leverage when IMF came begging. So if the IMF was correct the second time round (now they are at the 3rd iteration), land sales profit and 50% of investment income of roughly $160b would be beyond our reach "by law". In form, that is no different from the japanese and korean slush funds, in practice, its worse than Suharto's public pension funds, "reserved" for their private use only.

  3. The discrepancy is pointed out by Christopher Balding. I trust his words more than PAP govt's one. Afterall, he has nothing to gain from all these. The stupid 35% that voted for Tony Tan should all be sent to hell.

  4. " Factually "should be renamed to "Factually Wrong" can you possibly trust the only newspaper in town who tries to sell you the news he wants you to read?!!

    Who sanctioned the facts that are produced by the 'newspaper"?
    Are they independent writers/journalists who share the same sense of political standards who often peddles outrageous slant as "objective" news. Who pays them to do this? Everyone knows their partisanship, thus their "factually right" bias. Is there an independent NGO group/researchers/Accounting firm who could forensic or verify these "facts" issued by their own "facts team"?

    Go sell their facts to the primary school kids or those adults who can't think!
    Until the freedom of press is liberated, don't insult us with yours f**king truth. Fucking jokes.

  5. When a politician loses his credibility and the trust of the people;
    How can he continue as a politician?

    Politics is all about talking and inspiring through words.

  6. //When the economy is down, the mood of the people tends to sour pretty quickly.//

    And when the economy is up, and half the people who benefited are foreigners, the mood of the people tends to anger pretty quickly too.

  7. There is nothing factual about "Factually." Just show us the facts. Open the book for all to see!

  8. "That's how the math works in Singapore. Nobody outside a select coterie is allowed to peek at the true picture of the reserves, save the President, that's the uncle in the family tree."

    Does the relatives who sit in the throne put their hands on their heart everyday and ask those questions or have they lost their ability to do so because it is "their property" and entitlement, paid for by the people for the people?

    Is Conflict of Interest or Nepotism a crime that is punishable by law in the stated ethos of our CPIB? In ANZ it is, but here, we have seen zero exposure...perhaps closer to 2016?

  9. don't see the point of your writing. factually is wrong on this issue. they are answering the questions of balding.

    in fact they lied.

    so why are you promoting the site

    1. Not everybody knows lies come from "facts".

    2. dun believe the writer is promoting the Factually Yours website. rather he is pointing that it is not that factual after all/that facts can be fudged. the errrr fact of the matter is we not be given all the real facts.

  10. if TH/GIC did make the return they claimed then it is illogical that the balance sheet of Singapore expanded so little - less than 1 percent - over the past 2 decades.

    even ft/pr population grew faster than 1 percent per annum.

  11. "... nyah! nyahh!.. nyah!.. you cannot catch me..!

    For a thousand years.. you cannot catch me.. and if and when you do... there is nothing in the jar!!

    Daft as a door nail.

    1. Old Mother Hubbard
      Went to the cupboard
      To get her poor doggie a bone,
      When she got there
      The cupboard was bare
      So the poor little doggie had none.

      If the numbers keep getting revised.
      You have to wonder if anything is still there.

  12. If they are completely honest about the opportunity cost of our land utilized for public housing, why are they not revealing the true facts and figures considering the fact that they keep insisting the HDB subsidies is causing a big deficit to the annual budget? At least reconcile the actual costs to show us where the alleged deficits come from ?

    If in any case they are actually profiteering from the sale of HDB housing but instead tells us they are giving us a big subsidy, are they not guilty of lying to the public?

  13. Let me just comment on the "re-instatement" of the last Quarter growth rate to advert a technical recession.

    I bravely announced since last week that, somehow, unless the govt wanted a new mandate, meaning a GE, there will be no 2 consecutive negative Quarters to my close friends/ relatives and colleagues.

    No, I am no prophet. Fortune telling is also not my hobby.
    Just plain deduction from many pronouncements by our Authority and observation of the real Singapore "economy " over the past few years.

    Anyone care to comment?

  14. Money will be a big problem for most
    Singaporeans. Remind yr family and friends not to donate to charity drives.

    1. Instead. Make donations to Opposition parties.

    2. " will be a big problem for most singaporeans.."

      1.Resale flats still vibrant
      2.New flats sales still rising
      3.Private homes sales still buoyant
      4.COE prices still above 50K
      5.NATAS travel fair sales highest
      6.Singapore stock market best performer
      7.Budget airlines report higher sales
      8.Employers still employing
      9.No technical recession
      10.Singapore dollar best performer in Asia
      11.Retail sales higher YoY, QoQ
      12.Changi airport reports highest traffic
      13.Casino revenues up QoQ,YoY
      14.New Iphone sales snapped up
      15.Construction sector reports 14% increase
      16.Orders for oil rigs backed up till 2014
      17.More singaporeans buying overseas properties
      18.CRE reports strong interests in malls
      19.Singapore attracts billionaires
      20.Graduates find jobs within 2 months
      21. More millionaires per household
      26...must I go on???

      No money????? the evidence points 180 degrees the other way.

    3. "Do you believe everything you read in the Straits Times?"
      Prime Millioaire Lee Hsien Loong

    4. No.. I dont believe everything... and neither should you..

      Wai Ho Leong, an economist at Barclays, says consumer confidence remains strong because the employment picture is robust. The economy is among the few in the world that enjoys full employment, with a jobless rate of around 2 percent.

      The wealth effect from high property prices also provides a major boost to spending, he added.
      Fri 12 Oct 2012

      SINGAPORE—Home prices in this city-state have kept surging almost without interruption since the global financial crisis, even as residential real estate in many big global markets—including major U.S. cities—has continued to drag.

      Now, some experts are starting to wonder how long Singapore's residential high-wire act can go on.

      In many ways, the market still looks solid. Singapore remains one of Asia's most dynamic economies, although its growth rate is falling, and low interest rates are likely to persist for some time following recent stimulus steps by the world's major central banks.

      Asian Wall Street Journal

      The Asia-Pacific region now has the highest number of millionaires in the world, according to a report by the Royal Bank of Canada and consulting firm Cap Gemini.

      The study said the number of super-wealthy people in Asia is growing at twice the global average.

      George Lewis, the global head of wealth management at RBC, told the BBC's Leisha Chi that the new millionaires had given a boost to Singapore and Hong Kong's position as global financial centres.

      20 September 2012

      Singapore's private home prices in the third quarter rose 0.5 percent from the previous quarter, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed, making it the highest rate of increase so far this year.

      "Slower price increases in the high-end market were offset by stronger mass-market price growth," said CIMB in a report.

      Mon Oct 1, 2012

    5. So, which one to believe?




    1. Re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

      It's Foreigners and PRs that's buying the gold & luxury items.
      CNA can't recognize a Sinkie even if one slapped them in the face.

    2. CNA and All the other State Medias are the Greatest Propaganda Machinery staff by the Most Sycophantic People.

    3. Of the Regime in Sin.

  16. Very simple to settle lah.

    If you feel happy. Vote PAP.
    If you feel unhappy. Vote Opposition

  17. Idiot asshole @ 10/13/2012 12:40 PM

    And his list of 21 items to prove increasing wealth of Singaporeans.
    Hey stupid!
    Do you know the difference between wealth and inflation?