No to publishing total assets under GIC's management: DPM Lawrence Wong

DPM Lawrence Wong, who is also Singapore's Finance Minister, said, "Our peace and security should not be taken for granted".

A signage of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC is pictured at their office in Singapore.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong highlighted why it is necessary to avoid publishing the total assets under GIC's management. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgar Su) (Edgar Su / reuters)

SINGAPORE — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong reiterated the importance of not revealing the total assets under sovereign wealth fund GIC's management.

"Just as our defence forces do not reveal the full extent of our weaponry and military capabilities, it is not in Singapore's interest to disclose the full size of our reserves," said Wong in a reply to a question asked in Parliamentary.

Wong, who is also GIC Deputy Chairman, was responding to a question raised in Parliament by Workers' Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC) Gerald Giam on Tuesday (3 October). The MP had asked the Deputy Prime Minister whether it is still necessary to avoid publishing the total assets under GIC's management, so as to defend the Singapore dollar from speculative attacks.

Giam reasoned that the combined value from the Official Foreign Reserves (OFR) and the Reserves Management Government Securities managed and held by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) can bring the OFR to 106 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The OFR currently stands at 70 per cent of GDP.

Based on MAS' explanation, Wong said that the amount of OFR needed to ensure confidence in Singapore's exchange rate-centred monetary policy and in Singapore's macroeconomic stability is between 65 per cent to 75 per cent of GDP. This ensures that MAS has the "wherewithal to defend the Singapore dollar against speculative attacks".

However, Wong cautioned that the government should "prepare for more extreme tail-risk scenarios", which could include a "crisis of unprecedented scale" that causes an outflow of capital in excess of what MAS holds. He added that it could also be emergency scenarios "precipitated by state or non-state actors that threaten our economy and livelihoods, or even our existence as a nation".

"Recent events around the world have underscored that our peace and security should not be taken for granted," said Wong.

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