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Living in Singapore, from the USA

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Singapore: Economy and Finance

The “Switzerland of Southeast Asia” is widely known for its growth, stability, and prosperity. Our expatriate guide explains the economic driving forces behind the “Asian Tiger”. We also help you with daily monetary issues, from banking and living expenses to currency services and payment methods.

Despite the impact of recent financial crises, the attraction of Singapore’s economy remains unbroken. Although the island nation lacks both agricultural and other natural resources, its prime location in the Asia-Pacific region helped Singapore to become the original “Asian Tiger” state. In our overview of the economy in Singapore, we introduce the major industries of this strongly pro-business and free-trade environment. High-end manufacturing companies and plenty of R&D in the life sciences provide promising career opportunities for highly skilled local talent and well-qualified expatriates. Moreover, the service sector, with its strong focus on commerce and trade, shipping and storage, is what keeps Singapore’s economy going. Its well-developed finance and insurance industry is one of the reasons why the city-state has earned the nickname “the Switzerland of Southeast Asia”. The other reasons for this moniker are, of course, its internal peace and stability, as well as its general prosperity

Living Expenses in Singapore

Actually, Singapore is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. According to the CIA Factbook, it has the 7th highest per capita GDP of all nations, following such oases of the globe’s financial elite as Bermuda, Monaco, or Luxembourg. No wonder that tiny Singapore has not only an extremely high population density, but also a high density of millionaires among its roughly 5.5 million residents. Depending on their own income, expats may be worrying what this means for the local cost of living in Singapore. Unfortunately, some expenses are indeed above average, and Singapore is among the ten most expensive destinations worldwide. Our expatriate guide gives you an insight into particularly costly budget items, especially housing and international education. However, expats may also be lucky. Salaries for foreign assignees working in Singapore tend to be fairly generous while income tax rates remain relatively low.

Banking, Currency, and Payment Methods

Since finance and insurance is such an important local industry, foreign residents shouldn’t have any difficulty in finding a financial services provider. We present the various types of banks in Singapore and the different services that they offer. If you would like to handle your daily budget without involving an overseas bank, we also tell you what to keep in mind when opening a bank account in Singapore. Furthermore, the Economy & Finance section of the InterNations guide gives you a brief run-through of topics like the currency in Singapore and officially licensed money remittance services, as well as methods of payment in what is aiming to become a largely cashless society.

InterNations Expat Magazine