While the figures for retail sales for November have not been released yet for public consumption, and we are still in the middle of December, news reports have indicated that retail sales in Singapore have fallen for the ninth straight month in October. In fact, the October figures was much worse than the experts had predicted, with a 4.3% fall versus the projected fall of just 1.5%., as compared to the previous October's 2018 sales figure.
Traditionally, retail sales would be up towards the festive season, what with all the Christmas shopping to be done, and the fact that it is the year end bonus period. This expected high return in sales also usually brings with it temporary jobs being created, such as gift wrapping personnel and extra sales staff to cater to the higher number of shoppers. However, this time it seems to be different. Retail sales are down for October and not expected to recover fully despite the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Even after excluding motor sales, the numbers don’t look good, moving into 2020.
The lower bonus paid out to civil servants are expected to resonate, with the private sector also possibly taking the same cue. No one is in the mood to spend big, if they do spend at all. And naturally, Singapore's own economy will be affected too, with the lower retails sales returns.
So, is Singapore in deeper trouble then Singaporeans are led to believe?