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More Fake News From Statistics Department and Media Monopoly

The Government announced and state media reported that the economy had grown by 4.4% in the second quarter on a year-on-year basis. This was itself a slowdown from the advance estimate of 4.8% announced in July though of course the downward revision was not admitted in the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) press release. To paint a rosier picture, MTI said this was faster than the 3.8% growth recorded in the first quarter.

However reading a little further I discovered that far from growth having accelerated in the second quarter, it was actually negative. On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted annualized basis the economy contracted by 0.2% . This should have been the significant news since it is a snapshot of how the economy is actually doing now rather than compared with the past. The figure of 4.4% is particularly misleading because there was a “circuit breaker” (the PAP’s euphemism for lockdown) during the second quarter of 2021.

One of the benefits of having an independent media, whose duty is to hold the country’s leaders accountable rather than to ensure that they remain in office enriching themselves with millions of taxpayers’ funds and passing out plum jobs to their children, spouses and relatives, then the negative growth would have been highlighted as it has been in the UK (where the economy contracted by 0.1% in the same period, a better performance than Singapore). and in the US. Furthermore our Statistics Department is just part of MTI and not independent like in the UK, where by law the Office for National Statistics is separate from the Government.

However the fake presentation to make growth look much better than it is appears to be only scratching the surface of the manipulation that is going on at MTI. Economic growth since 2019 has been largely driven by manufacturing, with increases in manufacturing output accounting for 132% of the growth in the economy. This of course means that if we exclude manufacturing the economy would be smaller today than it was in 2019. Never mind the fact that manufacturing employs relatively few Singaporeans, from executive to factory floor level, even though many of the foreign executives may subsequently be fast tracked to citizenship without the inconvenience of having to serve NS like ordinary SIngaporeans. Never mind the fact that the sector is largely foreign owned and its huge growth is likely only the result of enormous subsidies and zero tax concessions given by the PAP. In fact some of its output may be illusory and a transfer pricing exercise by MNCs from (relatively)high tax jurisdictions to low tax ones. Ireland has enjoyed enormous growth as well as a result of these fake tax accounting shenanigans without much impact on the real economy and the living standards of the Irish people. Similarly SIngaporeans do not see much benefit from this growth in manufacturing output in terms of jobs or income. The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the growth of high tech manufacturing in Singapore while pointing out it employed relatively few people and omitting to mention the subsidies and tax benefits that must be necessary to induce MNCs to build their factories here rather than in the US or Europe.

However that is not the end of the story. I dug a little deeper and found some puzzling anomalies. MTI uses 2015 prices to calculate real GDP. I looked at the figures for current GDP and GDP calculated using “chained” 2015 prices. For instance, comparing 2021 with 2019 (the last year before the pandemic) GDP at current market prices was 4% higher but when measured at 2015 prices was only 3% higher. However when I looked at manufacturing these figures were reversed. At current prices the manufacturing sector had grown by 12.9% whereas using 2015 prices manufacturing had grown by a whopping 21,7%, nearly 9% faster. Using MTI’s 2015 prices therefore may be making manufacturing’s growth appear much higher than it really is and masking negative growth in the rest of the economy. It is usual for prices of manufactured goods, where there are economies of scale, to fall relative to services, where the scope for productivity improvements has historically been much less. Economists also try to capture the hidden growth coming from the fact that manufactured goods today will likely be of higher quality or have extra features compared to those in the past through what are called ‘hedonic’ indices. But the scale of the difference in only seven years leads me to suspect that something fishy is going on and we should be wary of PAP claims of rapid economic growth and rising real wages when evidence to the contrary is all around us. In fact if we used 2022 prices which would give a lower weight to manufacturing then it is possible that real economic growth since 2019 has been negative and especially so if we look at the part of the economy excluding manufacturing.

It appears that all economic growth is now coming from manufacturing and that this growth in fact is highly inflated. Using 2015 prices, manufacturing has expanded its share of the economy from 20% to 23% over the last two years but at current prices the share is nearly 2% lower. We would like an explanation and justification from MTI for what appear to be serious discrepancies that call into question the Government’s triumphalism. However, given Lawrence Wong’s failure to answer my questions about discrepancies in the Budget, I will be long dead and Singapore will have vanished below rising sea levels before I receive an answer.. The true figures for GDP growth , like the fake Budget expenditure figures , the Net Investment Returns Contributions that do not really exist, and the theoretically enormous reserves that strangely never benefit Singaporeans are just a few of the mysteries that we need answers to.

My dear late father was fond of the quote from John 8:32 , “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”. Perhaps one day Singaporeans will elect MPs who will demand answers to these fundamental questions, rather than ones who tiptoe around Parliament fearful of offending LHL, and by so doing at last achieve their freedom.

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

 

I’m a Singaporean economist who became an opposition activist. I blog to provide an alternative to the porkies that the Pinkies tell. It just so happens that my alternative is the truth. That’s why I’ve never been sued in any civil or criminal court no matter how hard hitting my criticism. I’m quoted and interviewed and asked to speak across the world but largely censored in Singapore in an effort to silence my political opinions. The left hate me because they think I split their vote and because I eschew their outmoded economic models. Models that don’t work. The Right and the Conservatives hate me because I’m a liberal. I’m not sure what the middle think of me. I don’t think there are more than a handful of people in the middle, here in Singapore. I’m a Singaporean born and bred, dual heritage, my parents Singaporean established here before the State of Singapore was created. I’m not Eurasian. I read economics at Cambridge and could be broadly described as from the Keynesian school but I believe in interventions. I was formerly a successful hedge fund manager. After economics and politics my greatest interests are history, film and Makan. I run but I run so I can eat like a Singaporean.

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

11 Responses to “More Fake News From Statistics Department and Media Monopoly”

  • P Against People:

    Wow. This gov can choose like that? Soon, they will compare with Q2,1945 prices and decide whatever exchange rate they want.

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  • Paul Angel:

    I for one have lost faith and stopped trusting the government a long time ago. Whatever they say I take it as a good fart.

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  • C’est la vie:

    ******
    An island single handedly transformed by one man, the founding fathering fathers of all fathers, … was built upon, by a multilayered myriad of bullshit, outright untruths and fear !!!

    Truth will prevail, … but not anytime soon though.

    And when it does, people, … Singapore’s history and the lightning party’s heinous manipulations and manufacturing of information, notwithstanding, it’s “interpretation” of the law and justice will be, … rewritten and doubtless to say, … reviled !!!
    ***
    ******

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  • Thank you:

    Thank you Mr K.J.
    Or else most of us might believe what we read…but those with an ounce of brain cells in their brainbox, can tell & feel alls not so well with Our SG for sometime now…
    Your daddy was a SG opp hero..always remembered, never forggotten.
    God Bless …

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  • James Lee:

    Given how SG were managed by the uncaring PAP elites and their cronies over the past few decades, whatever trusts that remain have all but gone.All true blue SG should realize something is not right.Act before it’s too late.

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  • Spineless Sinkie Syndrome:

    Sinkiepore was alleady hopeless even before that “Lee Con You” involuntarily left his Little Red Dot. Sinkie ecornomy is just running on past momentum and is now rapidly slowing down due to the trend of DE-globalization (which will likely last for the next few decades at least).

    I’ve said many times before, LRD is NOT a viable country given its tiny size.
    Like the candle that burns bright, burns out faster too.
    LRD is that super bright sparkler that burns hot & fast and then fizzles out just as rapidly.
    Live Fast, Die Young – and Sinkiepore is alleady hitting 60s soon … way over the hill liao, Yes?/No? LOL.

    Her peak in (socio-economic) achievement was back in the mid 90s to early 2000s and now its just a long walk in the night & into the graveyard of history.

    The false “LEEligion” cult of KY was doomed from the very beginning:
    When KY in his misguided wild ambition prefers to split off from the Peninsula, just so he can have his own SELFISH, short-sighted Ego trip to make his own pathetic 700 square km fiefdom to rule over; without considering the LONG-TERM consequences.

    WW history tells you small nations will disappear typically within a 100 years and often far less.
    KY knows he will be gone by the the time the clock spins down on his LRD, so not his problem anymore. However, his bumbling S0B foolishly took over, thinking that he can somehow thwart the full weight of history with his puny intellect? Yes?/No? LOL

    SSS Sinkies as usual still “blur blur” or PRETEND as if everything is ging great under that “dishonorable S0B”, yes?/no? LOL.

    Its ok lah, just after ND, so let SSS Sinkies & their MSM celebrate and sing sing song song until their “lampah song song” lor. LOL.

    When even if you have money, you cannot buy food & water (like in collapse of island economy of Sri Lanka), then you can see how Sinkies can continue pretending lor. Maybe SSS Sinkies will “pretend” their stomachs will become full just by singing praises to their dead “LEE Con You” izit? Yes?/No? LOL.

    “The further a society drifts from Truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” – George Orwell

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  • xoxo:

    Stats dept cannot even differentiate between Sg citizens n PRs n lump them as *LOCALS*?
    CANT WE ACCRUE FOR THE NUMBER OF PINK ICs issued vs other colours?
    Simple,even primary 6 can do it.
    Dont need $cholars to B$!

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  • James Lee:

    Given how SG were managed by the uncaring PAP elites and their cronies over the past few decades, of whatever trusts that remain have all but gone.All true blue SG should realize something is not right.Act before it’s too late.

    GD Star Rating
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  • mrWie:

    Everybody knows POFMA was created not to defend the truths,
    but to validate their LIES!

    Uniquely Singapore, literally!

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  • theforgottongeneration:

    When they can kelong a PE, everything else can/will be kelong. Another legacy of the Golden Prince’s reign.

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  • BOZO the TAI TIEN KEW Clown:

    I think this article can get livelier responses from both Prof. Christopher Balding and GIC ardent supporter Kok Ah Snook.

    Curious to know where are they now ??

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