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Majority of Singaporeans say inflation handled 'badly', according to Blackbox poll

·3-min read

More than nine in 10 Singaporeans said inflation has affected their lives, with 37% indicating a “significant” impact.

More than half of Singaporeans think the government is handling inflation “badly,” according to a new poll, highlighting challenges facing the country’s leaders as the nation undergoes a political transition.

About 55% of respondents in the mid-May survey conducted by pollster Blackbox Research Pte. said the government was handling everyday price rises “badly.” Almost 20% said it was tackled “very badly,” while 36% felt it was dealt with “quite badly.” At the same time, 37% said the government was performing “quite well” and 7% said “very well.”

More than nine in 10 Singaporeans said inflation has affected their lives, with 37% indicating a “significant” impact, according to the poll based on interviews with 758 people aged 20 and above. It has a margin of error of 3%.

That sentiment is an indication of the challenges finance minister and prime minister in-waiting Lawrence Wong faces in convincing voters that the ruling People’s Action Party is doing enough to tackle sharp price rises. Many governments and central banks are acting in tandem to shield their citizens from the cost-of-living crisis sweeping the world.

“A perfect storm has emerged post-pandemic that will test the Singaporean government over the next 12 months as it not only seeks to bring about a speedy recovery but also bed in new political leadership,” said David Black, the founder and chief executive officer of Blackbox.

Singapore’s cost pressures have been persistent this year, prompting the central bank to tighten monetary policy and revise expectations for price-growth that could crimp the broader post-Covid growth recovery. While officials are hopeful that nominal wage growth will outpace inflation this year, economists see prices remaining elevated in the city-state through 2023.

Global inflation, exacerbated by supply-side pressures caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has filtered through to consumers worldwide, even as early signs of inflation peaking appear.

In an indication of the risks facing the city-state’s economic recovery as it emerges from strict Covid restrictions, respondents said they have cut back on their spending due to inflation, with nearly nine in 10 spending less on clothing, restaurants, and entertainment at cinemas and theatres.

Wong has committed to help residents to cope with consumption tax increases set to kick in initially next year in his maiden budget delivered in February.

About 57% of low-income respondents -- earning below $2,500 a month -- said the government was doing badly on inflation, while 59% of medium-low income households, earning $2,500 to $6,600, felt the same, the survey showed.

Other key points from the poll include:

  • Singaporeans are feeling the most inflation pain in petrol prices (35%), followed by utility prices (34%), and at supermarkets (28%)

  • 66% of Singaporeans say they feel negatively about rising public housing prices

  • Only 44% believe that they will be economically better off this year than 2021

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