What is the size of Singapore’s financial reserves?

The Singapore government responded to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis by drawing ~$60B from the national reserve. This led to the elected opposition party asking how much finance reserves Singapore had.

In response, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the amount of national reserves was a state secret that should not be revealed. This is to prevent any attacks on the country’s financial system by speculators or ill-willed people/organisations. I think he is prudent and right in his response. Which military will actually tell you how much ammunition it stock-piled, even though Janes may publish how many troops, planes, ships, tanks, etc. they have.

The important thing to do is have a system of governance where there is check and balance to ensure that the financial reserves are well managed by faithful guardians. Only the Singapore President can approve drawdown from the reserve. And the President is supported by a team of respected & capable Advisors. Various government agencies look into various aspects of the reserve. I think there is a good system in place in Singapore. Further refinements to this system can be made progressively.

Some countries respond to economic crises by simply injecting liquidity into the financial system – literally “printing money”! Singapore cannot do that because it has no natural resources and land. It has to maintain a sound, robust and credible financial system that can stand up to scrutiny in order to maintain its international standing. Check out this article that reports about Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister’s response to the question regarding national reserve.

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