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Singapore Singapore

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Singapore – Quick View
ECR score87.48 (Mar 2011)
ECR rank6 (Mar 2011)
GDP at current prices 2010USD 222,872.48 million
GNI 2009USD 179,363.71 million
FDI inflowUSD 364,263.35 million
Inflation 20102.8%
Central bank assetsUSD 285,898.07 million
Unemployment rate 20102.2%
Government deficit 2009USD 2,999.15 million
Tax revenue 2009USD 24,276.52 million
Government typeSocialist Democracy
Recent Political CrisisNA
Economic freedom score2nd
Freedom of information score137th
Corruption perception index 20101st
Birth rate 20099.9 per ‘000
Population balanceUnder 14 – 16.3%
Population balanceOver 60 females – 16.2%
Population balanceOver 60 males – 14.2%
Life expectancy yearsMale - 79 years
Life expectancy yearsFemale - 83.7 years
Mortality rate 20102.2 per ‘000
Literacy rate 200996.3%
Internet access77.8%

[Top] Economic Overview

Singapore has a free-trade economy. The currency is the  Singapore Dollar (SGD) and the central bank is called the  ‘Monetary Authority of Singapore.’

The manufacturing and service sectors make important contributions to the economy. Singapore is one of the progressing Asian economies, with stable and healthy trade relations with the US and other Asian countries.

(Sources:Monetary Authority of Singapore)

GDP at current prices

(Source: National Statistics)

Singapore’s GDP has experienced continuous growth since 2001. The main industries contributing to GDP growth are the pharmaceutical, financial and tourism industries.

(Sources:Monetary Authority of Singapore, National Statistics,Monetary Authority of Singapore)

GDP growth rate


(Source: National Statistics)

Singapore's GDP growth rate fluctuated moderately between 2001 and 2007. Since 2007 the growth rate declined from 8.8% to -1.0% in 2009. However, in 2010 the growth rate increased to 14.8%. This has been attributed to the growth in the manufacturing sector (primarily equipment produced in the ICT- information communication and technology industry), improvements in education and the level of labour skills and high levels of foreign investments. The growth rate declined again to 4.9% in 2011.

(Sources:Monetary Authority of Singapore, National Statistics, Monetary Authority of Singapore)

Gross national income (GNI) and gross national savings (GNS)

Singapore GNI and GNS (at current prices)

(Source: National Statistics)

Singapore’s GNI and GNS show a steady rise between 2005 and 2008, however in 2009, it declined marginally due to the effects of the recession.

(Source: National Statistics)

Tax rate

Since January 2011, the income tax rate in Singapore for individuals ranges between 3.5% - 20% and the corporate tax rate is 17%, while VAT is 7%.


Income Range (SGD)

Individual Tax Rate (%)











Above 320,000



Corporate tax rate

The corporate tax rate in Singapore is 17%.


Inflation rate

(Source: National Statistics)

Singapore’s inflation remained close to 1% between 2000 and 2005. Between 2005 and 2008, inflation rose continuously, reaching 6.6% by the end of 2008. In 2009, the inflation rate declined sharply  to 0.6% and increased again to 5.2% in 2011.

(Sources:  Monetary Authority of Singapore, National Statistics,Channel news Asia)

FDI Inflow


(Source: National Statistics)

Banking sector assets

In March 2010, banking sector assets amounted to USD 285,898.07 million compared to USD 264,750.89 million in March 2009.

(Source: Monetary Authority of Singapore, page: 66)

[Top] Financial Indicators & Government Financial

Consumer price index (CPI)


Singapore Consumer Price Index

(Source: National Statistics)

Singapore's CPI increased steadily between 2002 and 2010, with 2010 recording a 2.8% annual inflation rate.

(Source: National Statistics)

Money supply

Singapore Currency in circulation
(Source: Monetary Authority of Singapore)

The currency in circulation has steadily increased from SGD 15,318.51 million in 2004 to SGD 23,295.88 million 2009.

(Source: Monetary Authority of Singapore)

Government expenditure

Singapore Total expenditure

(Source: National Statistics pg no.4, table 17.2)

The total expenditure in 2009 was SGD 55,809.40 million, an increase of 35.35% from SGD 41,234.20 million in 2008.

Exchange rate

Singapore Exchange rate

(Source: National Statistics)

In 2010, the exchange rate of the Singapore Dollar (SGD) was 1.29 per USD and Singapore's overall exchange rate declined slowly between 2001 and 2010. Increasing FDI’s and controlled monetary policies by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the nation’s central bank), has strengthened the value of the SGD against the USD.

(Source: Channel news Asia)

Government finances

Fiscal balance

Fiscal Balance (SGD million)







Revenue & Grants







Expenditure & Lending minus Repayments







Fiscal Balance







(Source: National Statistics pg no.4, table 17.2)

Singapore’s fiscal balance was in surplus between 2004 and 2008. The surplus amounted to SGD 24,100 million in 2008. In 2009, government expenditure exceeded revenues resulting in a deficit of SGD 4,357.6 million. 

Total revenue


Singapore Total revenue

(Source: National Statistics pg no.4, table 17.2)

The total revenue in 2009 was SGD 51,451.80 million, a decrease of 21.25% from SGD 65,334.30 million in 2008.

Tax revenue


Singapore Tax revenue

(Source: National Statistics)

The tax revenue collected by the government in 2009 was SGD 35,272.4 million compared to SGD 37,518.6 million in 2008.

Current account balance


Singapore Current Account Balance

(Source: National Statistics)

In 2007, Singapore’s current account balance recorded a surplus of SGD 73,060.60 million. Between 2007 and 2008, it fell sharply to SGD 39,076.20 million. In 2010 the current account balance was SGD 67,430.8 million.

Balance of payments


Singapore Balance of Payments

(Source: National Statistics)

Singapore had a positive balance of payments between 2007 and 2010. In 2010, the surplus balance of payments amounted to SGD 57,480.5 million.

(Source: National Statistics)

[Top] Labour Force and Employment Overview

Labour force

The total labour force in 2010 was 2.81 million compared to 2.71 million in 2009.

(Source: World Bank)

In 2010, the labour force participation rate was 66.2%.

(Source: National Statistics)

Unemployment rate

(Source: Ministry Of Manpower)

There was a decrease in the unemployment rate between 2004 and 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, the rate increased to reach 3% in 2009 and then declined to 2.0% in 2011.

Minimum wage

Singapore has no minimum wage laws or regulations.



‘The National Trades Union Congress’ is the main trade union in Singapore. The union has 60 affiliated unions, 12 social enterprises, 6 related membership communities and 4 other organizations.   

There have been many programmes initiated by the union to train workers and protect their rights. These include work-related advisory services, leadership training, network services for new officers, workplace representation and wage negotiations.

(Source: National Trade Union Congress)

[Top] Political Stability

Singapore is a socialist democracy and is known for low levels of corruption, high education and healthcare standards.

Singapore has been governed by the PAP (People’s Action Party) since 1965. The government has been authoritarian and legalistic. Most political positions are selected by appointment, rather than by election. The president is the formal head of state. Sellapan Ramanathan has been the president since 1999. Lee Hsien Loong is the prime minister and heads the government (since 2004).

The president is elected by the citizens and has tenure of six years.

All racial groups, religious groups as well as minority communities are represented in politics.

 (Sources: Prime Minister’s

Regulatory environment

Singapore Economic Freedom Indices


Singapore ranked second on the economic freedom index with a score of 87.2. This makes it the second freest country in the world in the 2010 Index. 

Corruption perception

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Singapore is ranked 1st in Corruption Perceptions Index with a score of 9.3. Singapore has one of the lowest corruption levels in the world acording to this index.


Freedom of information

In 2010, Singapore ranked 137th on the Press Freedom Index with a score of 47.50. Restrictions are imposed on the media/press on how they express and write about their views and opinions on the government and political authorities.  

(Source:, UNDP)


The main newspapers in Singapore include –

  • Singapore Press Holdings
  • The Straits Times
  • Business Times
  • Today

(Source: BBC)

Judicial system

The constitution is the supreme law of the state. The highest authority is the Singapore Court of Appeal, followed by the Singapore High Court, the District Courts and the Magistrate Court.

The common law system has been successful in enforcing strict rules, regulations and policies across the nation. In Singapore,  judges follow an accusatorial method rather than a civil method under common law.

(Source: Singapore Law)

[Top] Demographic Overview

The population of Singapore was approximately 5.31 million in 2012, with an annual growth of 1.8% over the past decade i.e. between 2000 and 2010. The population density in 2011 was 7,257 people per sq. km.

(Source: National Statistics).

In 2010, the total population of Singapore was classified as urban.

(Sources: National Statistics, UNDP)

(Source: National Statistics)

Gender equality

In 2010, Singapore was ranked 27th most gender balanced country in the world. (Source: UNDP)

There were 974 men per 1000 women in 2010. The female ratio is slightly higher than the male ratio and this change can be seen since 2000.

(Source: UNDP, National Statistics, National Statisticspg: 7)

Population balance

In 2009, 16.3% of the population was in the  0-14  age group. The population above the age of 60 included 16.2% women and 4.2% men in the same period.



Median age

The median age of the population increased from 29 years in 1990 to 38.4 years in 2012, primarily due to increasing life expectancy.

(Sources: National Statistics, UNDP,

Life expectancy

The life expectancy in 2009 was 83.7 years for women and 79 years for men.

(Source: National Statistics) 

Mortality rate

The mortality rate in Singapore in 2010 was 2.2 deaths per 1000 births.

(Source: National Statistics)

Birth rate and death rate

Singapore has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. In 2010, the crude birth rate was recorded at 9.3 per 1000 population. The crude death rate was 5 per 1,000 people.

(Source: National Statistics,

Fertility rate

Singapore Fertility rate

(Source: National Statistics, National Statisticspg-27/ table 1.10)

Singapore’s fertility rate increased marginally between 2005 and 2007, however between 2007 and 2010 there was a steady decline  from 1.29 to 1.16 (per female).

Dependency ratio

In 2010, 35.7% of the population was classified as dependent.

(Source: National Statistics)


In 2010, the total migration in Singapore was approximately 2,264,000 people, where emigrants made up approx. 297,000 i.e.  6.1% of the population and total immigration was about 1,967,000 people, which was approximately 40.7% of the population.

(Source: World Bank)

Ethnic environment

In June 2010, the ethnic groups in Singapore were:

Ethnic Groups

Population ('000)









(Source: National Statisticspg: 17, table: 2.2)

HDI (Human Development Index)

Singapore ranked 27th on UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)’s Human Development Index (HDI) 2010. It falls under the category of ‘Very High Human Development.’ HDI integrates a country’s life expectancy, schooling education and income. This signifies the overall social and economic development of a nation. A rank between 1 and 42 indicates ‘very high human development’ on UNDP’s Index.

(Source: UNDP)

[Top] Soft Infrastructure

Singapore is one of the 16 developed non-OECD countries.

(Source: UNDP) 

According to the Global Peace Index survey 2010, Singapore is the 30th most peaceful country in the world. Only four other Asian countries ranked higher than Singapore (Japan, Qatar, Oman and Malaysia).

(Source: Vision of Humanity)


Six years of basic education is compulsory in Singapore.

(Source: Ministry of Education)

In 2010, the literacy rate in Singapore was 95.9%.

(Source:National Statistics)

In 2010, 57.3% of women and 64.8% of men (aged 25 and older) were reported to have acquired at least secondary education.

(Source: UNDP)

Singapore future development plans include the implementation of infocomm technology in the education sector for better learning. The IDA (Infocomm Development Authority) has charted digitalization programmes: iN2015 Education and Learning plan, EdVantage and BackPackLIVE! These are supported by the Ministry of Education and Microsoft Singapore.

(Source: Infocomm Development Authority)


Singapore has maintained a highly efficient healthcare system. Foreign expatriates from neighbouring countries travel to Singapore’s medical centres in more serious cases. Singapore has sophisticated and well-equipped healthcare facilities. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has rated the healthcare industry in Singapore as one of the most advanced and well developed sectors in the world.

The Ministry of Health governs the healthcare sector in Singapore. Health facilities are provided under five categories :Alexandra Health Pte Ltd, Jurong Health Services, the National Healthcare Group (NHG), National University Health System and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth).

The private sector provides approximately 80% of primary healthcare services. Residential healthcare centres such as community hospitals, rehabilitation centres, shelter-homes for the elderly and nursing homes are present across the country.

The government subsidizes public hospitals and clinics to make healthcare affordable to all. It is mandatory for citizens to keep a medical savings account called ‘Medisave.’ Only financially stable income groups pay for their share of medical service.

The health sector also provides employment to a large population. In 2009, the healthcare industry employed 60,800 people.


The IDA, along with the Ministry of Health and the Enterprise Challenge initiated a programme- ‘Healthcare Call for Collaboration’. This programme applies infocomm solutions to the healthcare industry. General practitioners can connect to the national network, co-ordinate with other hospitals and plan patient’s treatment through accessible clinical databases.

(Sources: Ministry Of Health, National Statistics, Telegraph)


[Top] Hard Infrastructure

Public Transit

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) is the regulatory transport authority. Its divisions include: air, land and sea transport; in addition to international relations & security, corporate communications, corporate development and the air accident investigation bureau.

(Source: Ministry of Transport)

Singapore’s public transportnetwork consists of taxis, buses and the MRT: Mass Rapid Transit railway system.


The total paved road-length at the end of 2009 was 3,356 km.

(Source: Land Transport Authority)

The Electronic pricing system (ERP) was installed to charge a toll during peak hours. The system reports are reviewed by the LTA (Land transport Authority) to calculate congestion timings on roads. This reviews help traffic regulation.

(Source: Land Transport Authority)


The national regulating port authority is “The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA)” of Singapore. All marine licensing and servicing activities are controlled by this authority. The maritime industry contributed to approximately 7% of GDP in 2009.

The MPA invests in research and development towards advanced maritime activities. On average, there is an inflow of approximately 140,000 vessels to Singapore.

PSA and Jurong Port are the main port operators.

(Source: International psa)

PSA International Pte. Ltd. is the second largest port operator and the largest trans-shipment centre in the world.

(Sources: Maritime and Port Authority,International psa, NY Times)


Singapore has a well developed telecommunication network throughout the country. 80% of residential households have access to internet and broadband.

In 2000, the National Infocomm Infrastructure (NII) was launched as a part of the IT masterplan, with the aim to build a nationwide broadband network.

Singapore is a global telecommunications and transcable centre. There are regional and international cable systems installed throughout the country.

Singapore plans to establish a high-speed, fibre access broadband network and a Wireless@SG Wi-Fi service by 2013. It is called the ‘Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure (Next Gen NII)’. The network is aimed to support grid computing. This technology benefits sectors such as healthcare, financial services and banking, digital media and manufacturing.

(Source: Infocomm Development Authority)

Public housing stock

Singapore Housing Stock

(Source:National Statistics)

The number of residential and commercial properties increased between 2004 and 2009. There is growth in the housing sector especially the residential categories such as: 1-room to 5-room houses, studio apartments and private residencies.

(Source: National Statistics)

In terms of real estate development, Singapore is ranked 8th most expensive location in Asia. It surpassed central London and many EU nations in terms of real estate prices.

(Source: Thailand-business-news)

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