Singapore's deputy prime minister to evolve MAS chairman

July 4, 2023: The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the city-state’s financial regulator and central bank, has called Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong as chairman of its board of directors effective July 8.

The release said that Wong, the nation’s finance minister, will replace Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who held the role for 12 years since May 2011.

Shanmugaratnam announced last month that he would be running for presidential elections in Singapore, which must be held by mid-September. The president’s position is mainly symbolic and ceremonial.

According to the press release, Wong, who was deputy chairman of MAS since June 2021, will serve as chairman until May 31, 2026. He previously served as a partner of the MAS Board from June 2011 to August 2016.

Minister of Singapore for Trade and Industry, Gan Kim Yong, will be appointed associate chairman of the MAS Board for the same period, from July 8 to May 31, 2026.

Speaking to CNBC in February, he expressed Singapore faces a challenge of a “delicate balancing act” when setting its state budget for the year as the economy grapples with global slowdown and weakened demand.

Market watchers closely monitor if Singapore could enter a technical recession following its economy contracted in the first quarter.

Barclays senior regional economist Brian Tan said, “Our tracking estimate implies a 0.3% quarter-on-quarter decline in Q2, extending Q1′s 0.4% contraction, implying a shallow technical recession.”

Singapore’s industrial production declined for a second month in May by 3.9% month-on-month after seeing a decline of 1.6% in April.

Despite the slowdown, Barclays does not expect the central bank to change its monetary policy shortly, the economist said in a June 26 note.

“Our long-standing view remains that the Monetary Authority of Singapore is unlikely to further narrow its FX policy settings this year — including through unscheduled inter-meeting adjustments in the near term,” Tan wrote.

Singapore’s Straits Times index bounced soon after the announcement, paring earlier losses, and last traded 0.33% higher.

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