Prolonged uncertainty in Hong Kong won’t be good for Singapore: MAS chief

Prolonged uncertainty in Hong Kong won’t be good for Singapore: MAS chief

SINGAPORE: Prolonged political uncertainty in Hong Kong will not be good news for Singapore, said the country’s central bank chief Ravi Menon on Thursday (Jun 27).

Singapore also has not seen any significant fund flows from Hong Kong, where millions have taken to the streets over the past weeks to protest against a controversial extradition Bill.

Mr Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), was responding to a question at a press conference on whether Singapore has benefited from the recent uncertainties in Hong Kong.

Ravi Menon MAS
Managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Ravi Menon speaks during a press conference on the central bank's annual report on Jun 27, 2019. 

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Some media reports, citing experts, have said that the ongoing political uncertainty could undermine Hong Kong’s reputation as a financial hub. This may in turn benefit Singapore, the reports said.

READ: Hong Kong tycoons start moving assets offshore as fears rise over new extradition law

To that, Mr Menon said that based on data and engagement with financial institutions, there have been “no signs of significant shift in business or funds” to Singapore from Hong Kong.

“I think people tend to see too much through the lens of competition. There’s a lot of complementarity between the two financial centres and I think we should not lose sight of (that),” he added during the press conference on the central bank's annual report. 

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Mr Menon stressed that any uncertainty that leads to poorer outcomes in the region will not bode well for Singapore.

“We should focus more on the income effects of prolonged uncertainty, rather than focus on short substitution effects,” he said.

“Both Hong Kong and Singapore are very attractive financial centres with unique strengths and value proposition."

Source: CNA/gs

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