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Singaporeans say budget fails to ease living costs, survey finds

Fruit stalls at a wet market in Singapore, on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.
Fruit stalls at a wet market in Singapore, on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (Bloomberg)

By Claire Jiao

(Bloomberg) — Six in 10 Singapore citizens and residents think that the government’s latest budget measures aren’t enough to help them cope with the rising cost of living, according to a new survey.

Only 35% of respondents polled by Milieu Insight said they were reassured by the social aid unveiled in the budget for the new fiscal year starting April, while 44% reported feeling neutral.

Singapore’s ruling party is giving handouts to ease angst over rising costs while navigating a path back to fiscal prudence. The spending plan announced last week is expected to swing the government budget back to a surplus, after the widest deficit since the pandemic.

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Of the measures announced by the government on Friday, the S$600 ($445) worth of vouchers that Singaporean households can use at groceries and hawker centers was by far considered to have the most significant impact by respondents to the Milieu poll.

The survey took place from February 17-19 and covered 1,002 respondents.

The budget was more conservative than expected, as the Finance Ministry looks to minimize the risks of overheating the economy, said Kai Wei Ang, an economist at Bank of America.

The budget address underlined “elevated concerns” about inflation and cost-of-living issues that are closely watched by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the analyst said.

—With assistance from Low De Wei.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.