Day 39 of Circuit Breaker Period

We have been staying 39 days at home under Circuit Breaker (more than 5 weeks). 18 days to go to the end of Circuit Breaker period including today.

The number of daily community cases was below 5 in the past five days.

Date Community daily cases
1-May 8
2-May 5
3-May 11
4-May 4
5-May 9
6-May 12
7-May 6
8-May 11
9-May 11
10-May 4
11-May 3
12-May 3
13-May 4
14-May 2

Community cases refer to Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Long-term Pass Holders and Visitors.

For unlinked cases, the table is shown below.

Unlinked daily cases    
Date Community Work Permit (not in Dorm) Total
1-May 5 2 7
2-May 2 2 4
3-May 2 1 3
4-May 2 3 5
5-May 4 4 8
6-May 3 5 8
7-May 3 5 8
8-May 4 3 7
9-May 2 0 2
10-May 1 1 2
11-May 1 1 2
12-May 2 0 2
13-May 3 0 3
14-May 0 0 0

For the first time, the unlinked cases were Zero yesterday. The unlinked cases remain very low since 9 May (about two each day).

The serious concern is the number of cases of foreign workers staying in dormitories. 23,758 residents were tested positive for Covid-19 as of 14 May. This is 7.36% of the total staying in dormitories (323,000). It was still few hundred cases tested positive each day.

Come 1 June when the Circuit Breaker period ends, we hope to see some easing of social distancing measures put in place since 7 April. Hopefully, Covid-19 infections do not flare up from now to that date.

Continue to be vigilant. Stay Safe.

Posted in Life Journey | Tagged

Population of Singapore

Total population in Singapore = 5,704,000 (May 2020 data, MOH Covid-19 Report)
Total land area = 722.5 square kilometres (2018 data, SingStat)
Population density of Singapore = 7,894 persons per square kilometre

Singapore is third highest population density in the world according to Worldometers after Monaco and Macau. Hong Kong ranks fourth after Singapore.

Out of this 5,703,569 total population (June 2019 data), the proportions of residents and non-residents are shown below.

Categories Number Proportion
Singapore Citizen 3,500,940 61.4%
Permanent Resident 525,269 9.2%
Non-resident 1,677,360 29.4%
Total Population 5,703,569 100.0%

Source: SingStat Singapore

Non-resident population made up nearly 30% of total population in June 2019. 6 persons in 10 are Singapore Citizens.

The breakdown of non-resident foreign workforce in Singapore based on The Straits Times Newspaper:

Pass Type Dec 2019 Mar 2020 Proportion Proportion
Employment Pass 193,700 193,800 13.8%
S Pass 200,000 194,900 13.9%
Work Permit (Total) 999,000 983,100 69.9%
– Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) 261,800 262,300 18.7%
– Construction 293,300 287,800 20.5%
Other work passes 34,700 33,800 2.4%
Total foreign workforce 1,427,500 1,405,600 100.0%

Source: The Straits Times, 11 May 2020

The above pertains to foreign workforce. Nearly 70% are Work Permit Holders. Of which, 18.7% are foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs), 20.5% are in construction sector.

Commentary

About 25% of total population belongs to foreign workforce. About 30% of total population are non-residents (including the foreign workforce). 1,677,360 number of non-residents is a large number. Singapore is a small island nation with a third highest population density in the world.

Total fertility rate per female for 2019 was 1.14 (preliminary figure). This is not enough to replace 2 parents. For economic growth of a country, one contributing factor is higher workforce number. This is not possible as the baby boomers are either retired or retiring. So there is this reliance on foreign workforce to drive the economy. Bringing in more and more foreign workers is also not a solution when land is tight in Singapore. There is a trade-off to be made here. Is Singapore willing to go for lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate or slow down fixed assets developments? Could her citizens go for lower wealth? It is a difficult balancing act and a whole host of economic policies to think about.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Economics, Social Issues

How is the STI?

The 52-week high for the Straits Times Index (STI) was 3,381.26 points on 25 July 2019. The 52-week low for the STI was 2,233.48 points on 23 March 2020.

Date STI Change (%)
25 July 2019 3,381.26 – – –
23 Mar 2020 2,233.48 – 33.9
8 May 2020 2,591.88 + 16.0

The STI nose-dived 33.9% on 23 March 2020 from its peak last year. It had recovered (but not fully) and rose 16.0% from its low this year. It is currently hovering around 2,550 points to 2,600 points in recent days.

Investors have this optimism that Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic will improve before this year ends. 2,600 points for the STI seems to be supported looking forward.

To me, it is still anyone’s guess where the STI will end this year. Much depends on the outcome of Covid-19 spread around the world and its impact on the economies of the world. No one knows until the companies’ results are released in the future. Situations could be as bad as the Great Depression of 1930s. Or if we were lucky, the economies pick up after the end of coronavirus pandemic.

Whatever the outcomes, we are in a bad shape due to Covid-19. Play it safe and keep safe from Covid-19. We can then live to tell the story.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management | Tagged

Interest rates for deposits are dropping

The last time I wrote about interest rates for fixed deposits was 10 March 2020. DBS or POSB has S$ fixed deposit interest rate for 12 months duration of 1.4% per year. Two months later, the interest rate for 12 months fixed deposit with amount up to S$49,999 is now 1.15% per annum.

 

This coincided with US Federal Reserve (Fed) announcing on 15 March 2020 that its benchmark interest rate was cut to 0.0% to 0.25% per annum from the previous target of 1.0% to 1.25% per annum to fight Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

 

The Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) for June 2020 issue also cut its average interest rate to 1.05% per year if the SSB is held to maturity of 10 years. This interest rate was lower than the previous month’s May Issue with average interest rate of 1.39% per year.

 

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

 

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management

Number of Daily Cases Not coming down for Circuit Breaker to be eased

“For Singapore to lift COVID-19 “circuit breaker” measures, the number of community cases daily should fall to zero or single digits over a sustained period of time”, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Monday (May 4).

“Community cases should ideally fall to zero or single-digits daily, with very low numbers of unlinked cases, not just for one day, but sustained over a period of time.” Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

The number of community cases daily was 13 on 6 May. It is not single digit yet! See table below for last ten days.

Community here refers to Citizens/Permanent Residents/Long Term Pass Holders/Visitors.

Date Community daily cases  
27-Apr 18  
28-Apr 10  
29-Apr 11  
30-Apr 9  
1-May 11  
2-May 6  
3-May 13  
4-May 5  
5-May 12  
6-May 13 Today

As for unlinked daily cases, the total was 15 on 6 May. It had been double digits since 5 May. See table below.

Unlinked daily cases    
Date Community Work Permit (not in Dorm) Total
27-Apr 4 5 9
28-Apr 5 3 8
29-Apr 7 8 15
30-Apr 6 3 9
1-May 6 5 11
2-May 2 4 6
3-May 4 2 6
4-May 3 4 7
5-May 6 4 10
6-May 3 12 15

Looks like it will be a while before we see better results. The Circuit Breaker Stay-at-Home measures will be on for some time (until at least 1 June 2020).

We should not let our guards down with this Covid-19 coronavirus.

Posted in Life Journey | Tagged

One month of Stay-at-Home

My hair got longer
I read borrowed books from NLB on-line
Not my preferred choice
While my wife and daughter did Yoga
I did Taiji in my bedroom

We were careful when opening our windows
The handle broke the other day
You do not want happening
Home repairs have to put on hold
This was not the only thing broken, sigh

When one of us coughed or sneezed
Oh no, did we catch it
Covid-19?
We measured our temperatures
No fever and we could smell!

When I go out to buy take-away lunch
Do not forget to wear a mask
With the mask I feel like not talking
I look down while walking
Do not stare at others
(or risk assault from this person)

I yearn for the outdoors
Missing my walk at nature reserves
So I appreciate nature from my windows
The beautiful sunsets and morning sunrise
I become sensitive to sound of birds

I go to my favourite food eateries
They smile and thankful
They get to cook for us
We get to savour their food
Food cooked with love

I look forward to home-cook dinners
We are eating at the table together
It has become a ritual
My wife cooks
And I wash up

Sleep another night
One day just passed
Restful and to refresh
Put the worries aside
We live another day

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey | Tagged

Circuit Breaker Stay-at-Home stopped community transmission of Covid-19

It has been four weeks when the Circuit Breaker Stay-at-Home was imposed on 7 April. Back then the daily new cases on 7 April was 106. Total number of confirmed cases was 1,481. We had no inkling that the work permit holders staying in the dormitories were going to present a huge spike of Covid-19 infections in Singapore. The total confirmed cases ballooned to 18,205 as of 3 May.

It would be disastrous if we did not have this mandatory Circuit Breaker stay-at-home measures in place. The work permit holders are confined to their dormitories. The work permit holders and S Pass holders in the construction sectors (not staying in the dormitories) are confined to their homes under the Stay-Home Notices. This way we contained the spread of infections from foreign workers to the community. The infections in the community had come down to an average of 11 cases per day in the past week. The unlinked cases in the community had come down to an average of 5 per day for the past week. This was a significant improvement.

This Circuit Breaker was further extended for another four weeks to end on 1 June. Having gone through four weeks of stay-at-home, have we adjusted to this kind of lives? We will be going through another four weeks of extended circuit breaker.

Because most businesses were shut in April and further closures in May, the impact on Singapore’s economy is going to be unprecedented. First Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had slumped 2.2% year-on-year basis. On the quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy shrank 10.6% (based on advance estimates). Second Quarter GDP will be even worse than the first quarter because of the shut-down of most businesses starting April.

Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has done serious damage to the Singapore economy and the global economies, much worse than SARS in 2003. Though we have seen some successes in passing the peaks in the spread of infection rates, it will still take significant amount of time to get global economies up to speed pre-Covid-19.

The sacrifices we made in staying at home during Circuit Breaker period is to firstly keep us from getting Covid-19 coronavirus and secondly to get the economy going again so that people can earn a living. We are in it together to fight this pandemic. Stay united and do our part.

When this nightmarish pandemic ends, we should look at some of the policies Singapore had been making in the past in several areas. There are many learning points arising from weaknesses in these policies. If things were to remain status quo then we have wasted the sacrifices that the citizens have to endure.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey | Tagged