Written reply to Parliamentary Question on mechanisms for MAS to avail reserves managed by GIC
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 18 September 2023
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song, MP, Aljunied GRC
To ask the Prime Minister aside from redeeming the Reserves Management Government Securities, what are the other mechanisms in place for the MAS to quickly avail itself of the reserves managed by GIC.
Answer by Mr Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, and Chairman of MAS:
1. MAS holds Official Foreign Reserves (OFR) for the conduct of monetary policy. It has assessed that the amount of OFR needed to ensure confidence in the Singapore dollar in the event of a severe crisis in the global economy and financial markets is between 65% to 75% of GDP.
2. MAS’ OFR has been sufficient to manage any impact on the Singapore dollar arising from past crises. These include the Asian Financial Crisis, Dot-com crash, SARS, the Global Financial Crisis, the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, and the COVID pandemic. Separately, the foreign reserves MAS accumulates in excess of its needs have been transferred to the Government for investment by GIC for higher returns. In return, the Government issues Reserves Management Government Securities (RMGS) to MAS.
3. MAS’ current OFR stands at S$455.5 billion and 70% of GDP, well within the optimal range. Nonetheless, in unlikely tail-risk scenarios where MAS’ OFR buffer might prove insufficient, MAS will be able to redeem its RMGS holdings from the Government in exchange for OFR. Today, MAS’ RMGS holdings amount to S$237.6 billion, or 52% of current OFR. If MAS redeems this, it would bring the level of OFR up to 106% of GDP.
4. Should a crisis of unprecedented scale emerge that causes MAS’ OFR requirements to exceed what RMGS redemptions can provide, MAS can approach the Government for further support. The Government, as owner of the assets that GIC manages, will then decide how best to meet MAS’ need for additional OFR in a timely manner.