SSB – Jul 2019

Source: http://www.amosang.com/singapore-savings-bonds-ssb-visualizer/

This month’s SSB rates are indicated by the purple line, which comes in at 1.93% for the first 3 years, 7 basis points (“bps”) above last month’s tranche at 1.88% for the first 3 years. It looks like SSB rates have started to move upwards again!

Although it’s only 7 bps, I found it peculiar that interest rates could conceivably go up with the US economy is poised to go down due to the tariff tan-trumps presently going on between the US and China. Hence this layperson went Googling for an explanation, and found a possible reason — stagflation. The general idea is that inflation (due to the tariffs causing everyday prices to rise) and economic stagnation (due to lack of expansion by businesses as there is a lack of markets due to the tariffs) occurs simultaneously. Typically, the central bank handles inflation by raising interest rates, and economic stagnation by lowering interest rates. Stagflation presents a conundrum for the central bank, with no good answers.
See https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/31/investing/fed-rate-hikes-inflation/index.html for the original explanation by CNN.

On a related thought: SG REIT prices have recently run up, supposedly due to institutional monies returning in search of better yield, now that the Fed is no longer raising interest rates. What would happen to the REIT prices if the Fed resumes raising interest rates to fight tariff-induced inflation in the US?

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