Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The New Standards For Poor

Temasek Holdings Pte, which managed $223 billion (US$166 billion) of assets as of last March 2015 2014, was riled when Standard & Poor (S&P)'s new criteria lumped Singapore with riskier nations such as Greece and Jamaica. At risk was Temasek’s lack of direct ownership of assets, the challenges they face when selling in illiquid markets, and the volatility of assets held by them.

The new criteria for assessing asset liquidity of investment holding companies (IHCs) by splitting their main countries of operation into four baskets, based on a 30-year history of those nations’ share market swings, put Singapore squarely into the third. Sven Behrendt, a managing director at Geneva-based GeoEconomica, which researches sovereign wealth funds explained Temasek's ire: “It’s understandable to me that Temasek doesn’t want the country to be put in the same category as Greece, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago".

A day after the Budget was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, S&P issued a top AAA unsolicited rating on Singapore. S&P noted that investments in the $68.2 billion budget - including efforts to boost innovation, skills training, as well as funding to meet the needs of Singapore's ageing population - "significantly outsized" the $705 million transferred to households. Investments such as the $26 billion for trains that keep breaking down, while $9.3 billion is allocated for hospital grants and construction, and suspect "Medishield Life subsidies".

What is also impossible to miss is that the $10.5 billion to be harvested from Goods and Services Tax (GST) is second only to the $13.5 billion contribution from corporate income taxes. Even the poorest of the poor, who are spared the $8.9 billion to be collected from personal income taxes, will have to pay 7 percent extra for the bread and water to survive on. Lest we forget, our water bill is doubly taxed, the GST is applied on top of the 30 percent "Water Conservation Tax".

As long as there is sheep to be fleeced from, Singapore is in no danger of going broke.


  1. Temasek is furious with S&P's Standard for the Poor's and is getting Moody's. What the Fitch!

  2. The entire lot should be kicked out and sent to Greece. There they can apply their techniques with Greek people... showcase their wonderful capitalistic, political, capabilities.

    Perfect internationalisation of the PAP brand.
    Failure is not an option.

    1. They will be rejected by Greeks, as well as anywhere else in the world (which makes them "world class"); most if not all of these top 0.00001% will not even make it ni red dot if not for the GRC trick. If there is unlimited power to tax and sue and jail and monopoly over every important sector incl the press, even pigs without lipstick can become MP or perm sec or minister (in PMO).

  3. The trick of all politicians of ALL stripes is to feed the sheeple just enuf fodder every 5 years so they grow some wool to be fleeced during the next term. And this trick the pappies have perfected. But this time, it seems the legendary patient (and some claim dumb) red dot sheep have had enuf (or grown too little wool to be fleeced from over-shearing)... sadly I see the silver generation passing away at rather higher frequency. The pappies trick to put all their eggs to win back the white haired generation might be their one-trick pony which finally trip at the final hurdle.

  4. On the contrary, I was rather surprised to find a $96k income (= or >$8k monthly) is the new standard defined as "Upperclass". gasps!!!

    No wonder our Part time MPs on their $15k allowance will make them Upper Upper Class?

    And our millionaires Ministers must be what we now define as Ultra Upper Class?!! Machiam UHNWI is the new terminology.

    Wah, no wonder Singapore has so many Upper Class households/Individuals who are feeling poor lah.

  5. First, is there an error in the Year 2015 , Tattler ?
    The point is that TH will now be rated as a Stand Alone entity . SINGAPORE itself can be and still is AAA rated but TH cannot rely on its cosy relationship with the state to demand AAA rating. Cronyism is not recognized by S&P !
    The ruling party has been so used to the GRC type of "All for, and One for All" logic that the propose move by S&P just seems to be Very Unfair ! About time , someone tell the PAP off !

  6. Do you mean the new standards for those who rob the poor?