Reply to Parliamentary Question on the need for more monetary policy tightening and targeted measures to rein in food and accommodation prices
QUESTION NO 3718
NOTICE PAPER 1493 OF 2022
FOR ORAL ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 9 November 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Yip Hon Weng, MP, Yio Chu Kang SMC
To ask the Prime Minister in light of Singapore’s core inflation at 5.3% in September 2022 being at the highest since November 2008 (a) whether Singapore will consider tightening its monetary policy again; and (b) whether the Government will consider more targeted measures to rein in food and accommodation prices.
Answer by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Board member of MAS, on behalf of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. MAS began tightening monetary policy in October 2021. It was among the earlier central banks in the world to do so, at a time when the pickup in global inflation was still quite modest. In October, it tightened monetary policy for a fifth time in the last 13 months, by re-centring up the mid-point of the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER) policy band.
2. MAS expects core inflation to stay firm for the rest of this year and into the first half (H1) of 2023, before slowing more discernibly in H2.
3. Monetary policy takes time to affect inflation. The effects of MAS’ successive monetary policy moves are still working their way through the economy. It will also take time for external- and domestic-induced price pressures to ease more discernibly. The cumulative effects of the five monetary policy tightening moves are estimated to dampen core inflation by an average of 1.5% points each year over 2022–23.
4. MAS will continue to deploy monetary policy as appropriate, to ensure medium-term price stability while recognising near-term risks to economic growth from a slowing global economy.
5. The Member asked about whether the Government will consider more targeted measures to rein in food and accommodation prices. On food, the Minister for Trade & Industry had in October 2022 spoken about how the appreciating Singapore dollar, the diversification of Singapore’s food supply sources, and Government assistance to lower-income and vulnerable Singaporeans, should mitigate the effects of higher global food prices.
6. As for accommodation prices, the Ministry of National Development, Housing Development Board (HDB) and MAS have, as Members know, taken steps to promote sustainable conditions in the property market. The Government has also increased market subsidies to ensure that prices of new HDB flats remain affordable, as well as increased supply in both the public and private housing markets.