HSBC Treasury Management Profiles 2018 -

Current section, Introduction


The city state of Singapore is one of the most pro-business and open economies in the world. It is a world leading financial centre and a high-tech hub, and has one of world’s highest per capita GDPs (USD90,530, according to IMF data). The economy depends heavily on exports and as such is sensitive to the fortunes of the global economy and its trading partners. The recent upturn in the global economy, particularly in the global electronics trade, has helped stimulate economic growth in 2017. The country’s manufacturing sector, which accounts for a fifth of the country’s economy, grew by 18.4 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2017, faster than the 8.4 per cent growth in Q2, driving overall economic expansion to 5.2 per cent year-on-year (2.9 per cent on Q2). In recognition of the country’s economic recovery throughout 2017, the Ministry of Trade and Industry upgraded its forecast for economic growth to 3 per cent-3.5 per cent from 2 per cent-3 per cent. Domestically, an ageing population (in June 2017, the percentage of residents aged 65 and over was 13 per cent, up from 7.5 per cent a decade earlier) and shrinking workforce (the resident old-age support ratio was 5:1 in June 2017, down from 7:7 a decade earlier, indicating that there are few fewer working-age adults to support each resident aged 65 years and over) is focusing government policy on healthcare and age-related infrastructure, lifelong learning and transportation infrastructure; infrastructure spend is set to increase from SGD18.3 billion in 2017 to SGD30 billion in 2020. The Singapore government’s long-term economic strategy is to turn Singapore into a labour-lean economy with growth based in innovation, digitalisation and automation.

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Legal and regulatory

  • Foreign exchange and domestic currency (SGD) accounts can be held by residents both domestically and abroad. Resident domestic currency accounts are freely convertible into foreign currency
  • Non-resident bank accounts are permitted in both foreign and domestic (SGD) currency. Non-resident domestic currency accounts are freely convertible into foreign currency
  • Singapore imposes no exchange control formalities or approvals for any form of payments or capital transfers

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  • Singapore taxes on a territorial basis. Resident and non-resident companies are subject to tax on Singapore-sourced income and foreign income remitted or deemed remitted to Singapore
  • The corporate tax rate is 17 per cent
  • There is no capital gains tax in Singapore

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Payment instruments and systems

  • Cash is an important payment medium in Singapore, particularly for low-value retail transactions. Although cheque use is in decline, it remains a popular cashless payment instrument for both retail and commercial payments. Cheques can be denominated in SGD or USD. Mobile payment schemes are available and increasingly popular with consumers. There were 3.2 billion e-money transactions in 2015, with a total value of SGD2.7 billion
  • Singapore operates three national payment systems: MEPS+, an RTGS system; the ACH, which is divided into the IBG, SGDCTS and USDCTS subsystems; and NETS, for ATM and EFTPOS transactions

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Cash management

  • Domestic and Cross-border notional pooling and cash concentration are permitted in SGD and USD. Structures may have withholding tax implications for non-residents which are not part of an Approved Finance and Treasury Unit
  • A range of collection services are available, including lockbox services
  • Singapore is a popular location for regional and global cash concentration header accounts. Regional treasury centres established under the terms of Singapore’s Approved Finance and Treasury Centre policy benefit from a concessionary 8 per cent tax on qualifying income from overseas-related companies

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Electronic banking

  • Electronic banking is available in Singapore. There is no bank-independent electronic banking standard
  • Internet and mobile banking services are provided by the country’s banks for both corporate and retail purposes. There were an estimated 2.4 million mobile banking users in 2016

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To read the full report on Singapore and to discover more on these and other topics, including banking and trade, please click on the Download PDF option.


  • Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore
  • Statistics Singapore
  • International Monetary Fund

The materials contained on this page were assembled in May 2017 (unless otherwise dated).



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