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Are Singaporeans losing their buying power?

Are Singaporeans losing buying power? Have Singaporeans grown tired of the dining & shopping haven of Singapore?

Famous food guru, Kf Seetoh of MakanSutra lamented his observation on Facebook on Tuesday as many folks feel the burn of the slowing economy.

A commentator at Seetoh’s post, Oscar See, noted that ,” Singapore truly has become an extremely expensive country to live in. Being in the retail industry for the last 20 years, I can see how much Singapore has deteriorated over the years. Tourists are not wrong to say we lack quality service and pricing wise? We’re not competitive at all. Shop rentals are high and tourists complain that our retail prices are more expensive than that of our European counterparts. All these are also partly due to the strong Singapore dollar.”

Another commentator, CK Loh, compared Singapore to Nokia and Kodak, “We didn’t do anything wrong, but we lost”, referring to the regional battle for foreign investments.

Some blamed the online shopping culture, as Fong Wk puts it, “The meltdown is real. People shop online, trade online, order online. Even when people walk, they walk online, too!”

Last year October, CNBC reported that Singapore is about to enter a technical recession. “This time round, a confluence of factors such as erratic global demand led by a slower-growing China – a major market for Singapore – and domestic issues such as a tight labour market are among the culprits dampening the outlook of the affluent city-state.”

It was spared from a technical recession after a positive growth in GDP in 2015 Q4.

As Singapore’s manufacturing industry continues to shrink at 7.9% yoy in December and the downgraded real GDP growth forecast for 2016 and 2017 to 1.9% and 2.2% respectively, it appears that Seetoh’s concerns are not unfounded.

Although the Ministry of Manpower Labour Market Advance Release statistics do not point clear to any signs of recession, the slowdown of China’s economy may hit Singapore faster and harder than any country in the region, as economists from ANZ have warned, our dependence on China over the last 10 to 20 years as the main culprit to the damages, especially when we do not have a big domestic market to act as a buffer.

*Technical recession is commonly defined as two successive quarters in which the economy contracts from the previous quarter.