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Analysts do not expect Cabinet reshuffle to affect stock market

Analysts do not expect Cabinet reshuffle to affect stock market

The Singapore stock market inched higher, with the ST Index rising 0.15 per cent to 3,141.21 points, following the unveiling of the new Cabinet by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday.

Analysts said they do not expect the leadership reshuffle to cause wild swings in the market going forward.

This is because the general political environment is expected to remain stable, they added.

There were some sweeping changes, with three ministers – Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan and Transport Minister Raymond Lim – retiring from the Cabinet.

However, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang retained their portfolios.

Analysts said this would help ensure continuity in policies and bolster confidence in the market.

Associate Professor Annie Koh, Dean, Executive and Professional Education, Singapore Management University, said: “In terms of impact, so long as the two ministries dealing with Finance and MTI, you don’t see big changes, it’s sending out the right signal that we are still consistent.

“We have a strategy derived since the Economic Strategies Committee, and we want to carry that through, and we are sending out the signal to both investors as well as people who have already invested in Singapore.”

Analysts also said the number of new faces in the Cabinet will unlikely shake investors’ confidence in the economy.

Assoc Prof Koh said: “I think if you don’t give them that opportunity to be tested, we will never know if they can take on the portfolio. … I don’t think foreign investors will hold (that) against us … because succession planning is a very critical issue in all corporates today.”

While foreign investors should have little cause for concern, some analysts believe the time may be right for new policies that may take a different approach to be introduced.

They were alluding to policies that will be more people-centric, rather than policies that serve to maximise GDP growth.

Terence Wong, co-head of research, DMG & Partners Research, said: “Judging on the feel from the ground, the pro-growth policy that has been employed by the ruling government over the last ten years or so – that would probably be a little bit more measured, will be toned down, and it will be a more ‘people’ kind of government.”

Analysts said that by renewing the Cabinet, the ruling government has proved that it has “walked the talk”, and is taking succession planning seriously.

Adapted from: CNA (By Linette Lim).

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