Investing in Singapore

Singapore is known as the Lion city. Consistent with this symbol, some project that investment in Singapore will roar going forward.

Singapore is known as the Lion city. Consistent with this symbol, some project that investment in Singapore will roar going forward.

Singapore at night. Notice the lion, a symbol of the city, acting as a fountain. (Photo by the author.)

About a year and a half ago I wrote a column entitled Jim Rogers' Investment Wisdom. It had to do with investment opportunities in Singapore. My information was based on an interview Rogers gave to Betty Liu, an anchor for Bloomberg television in NYC. I had the privilege of attending. Though Rogers made a point of saying, “Most of my thoughts, you couldn't print,” he also imparted some serious wisdom.

One message that Rogers relayed was that Singapore, where he lives, is a good investment option. His reasoning is included in my previous article. Some investment choices in the area that I mentioned earlier were the I Shares Trust MSCI Singapore index (NYSE: EWS) and Singapore companies with fast growing dividends as profiled by Motley Fool.

Performance of EWS (blue) compared to the S&P (red) during the last year and a half. (From Yahoo.com)

The exchange traded fund, EWS, hasn’t been a leader since that time. This is illustrated by the chart above where the S&P (red) has increased nearly % in the last year while EWS has diminished by about 5%.

Perhaps my suggestion, based on Roger’s take, was too early. According to a recent article on Yahoo Finance, money is now flowing into Asia exchange traded funds including Singapore. The author of the Yahoo commentary attributes this to its geopolitical stability and good value.

At a time when the market is high and it is difficult to find cost effective buys, EWS is one consideration. This is supported by the past performance of Singapore’s growth in real Gross Domestic Product per capita. According to data from the World Bank Bureau of Labor Statistics it grew 2,356% 1965-2013. At the same time the US increased only 96% for the same measure. If the past is any indication of the future, EWS could be a winner.

Since I am already invested in EWS and it has lost value since my purchase, I’m not buying more. On the other hand, I’m not dumping it either. This action or inaction means I am in agreement with Jim Rogers, at least for the time being.

Past History: Singapore’s Divorce and Recovery

Many attribute Singapore’s prosperity to Lee Kuan Yew who guided Singapore after its separation from Malaysia in 1965. At that time Singapore was one of the poorest nations in the world. Now, it is one of the richest.