High living costs, low wages & purchasing power?

by: Leong Sze Hian~

I refer to the latest issue of the UBS Price and Earnings report, which is a study of purchasing power around the world (see HERE). Out of 73 cities ranked, Singapore comes in at 10, 42 and 47, for Price Level, Wage Levels and Domestic Purchasing Power, respectively.

Triple whammy?

What this may mean is that Singaporeans may in a sense, be squeezed in a triple whammy – high cost of living, low wages and low purchasing power.

Another world first?

Singapore comes in at number 10 among the top-10 cities ranked according to Price Levels.  The other cities ranked better than Singapore are Oslo, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tokyo, Sydney, Helsinki and Toronto.

What is perhaps ‘Uniquely Singapore’, may be that Singapore has the distinction of having the worse Wage Levels and Domestic Purchasing Power rankings, amongst the top 10 Price Level cities.  In other words, none of the top nine above Singapore at number 10, have lower wages or domestic purchasing power rankings than Singapore.

In fact, the worse Wage Levels amongst the top nine, was Tokyo, at 19, which is 23 places above Singapore.  Similarly, for Domestic Purchasing Power, the worse was Oslo, at 26, which is 21 places above Singapore.

Therefore, on a relative basis, Singapore may be much worse off than many cities in the world.

Perhaps we should do some serious soul-searching, as to whether and to what extent our policies may have contributed to Singaporeans’ current predicament of what I would call the “Triple Whammy Squeeze”?


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.