The latest issue of Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) have average yields of 0.37% per annum for a 1 year holding period and 1.56% per annum for a 10 years holding period. The minimum investment is $500 with a maximum holding of $200,000 at any point of time. The holding period for SSBs can be up to 10 years with investors being able to redeem their bonds at any point in time without any penalty. The sum invested is guaranteed by the government with no risk of loss of capital. Investors can apply and invest in SSBs from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday excluding Public Holidays at local banks ATMs or online banking using cash or SRS every month. Visit Singapore Savings Bonds website to get the most up-to-date information about the latest issue of Singapore Savings Bonds.
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Returns for SSBs matches the returns for Singapore Government Securities (SGSs) of the same holding period at the time the SSB is issued. The yields of SGSs have been kept low due to Singapore's strong fiscal position and strong credit rating in spite of a global recession. Hence, SSBs has seen low yields to match the low yields in SGSs. However, the recent yield for SSBs saw a spike in long term returns to 1.56% per annum for a 10 years holding period even though yields for a 1 year holding period remained near record lows of 0.37% per annum. This could mark a reversal in yields and also indicate that all is not well in the financial markets despite policymakers best efforts to keep yields low. This has increased the appeal of SSBs compared to previously.
Singapore Fixed Time Deposits offer depositors deposit rates of around 0.30% to 2.00% per annum for tenures of anywhere between 3 to 24 months since 2002. The current Money Lobang National Average Fixed Deposit Rates for April 2021 is 0.45% p.a. and is at the lowest rate in years even though the decrease in rates has somewhat slowed in recent months. Minimum deposit varies widely but is usually around $20,000. Deposits in SRS accounts cannot be placed in fixed deposit accounts. Banks seldom offer fixed deposits promotions for tenures above 24 months due to the lack of demand. Withdrawal of fixed deposits before the tenure is up will result in penalties such as depositors forgoing the interest, returning of promotional gifts or even paying a stated penalty. All deposits in Singapore including fixed deposits are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation for a sum of up to $75,000. Depositors can open a fixed deposit account anytime at any bank branches and even through online banking for certain banks.
Fixed Deposit interest rates have plummeted ever since the economic slowdown in 2019. The trend has somewhat slowed in the past few months or so as the rapid spread of coronavirus grind worldwide economies to a halt. Fixed deposit rates have peaked in mid 2019 and despite the recent spike in SGSs and SSBs yields will be slow to rise as banks will be cautious in view of the uncertainty in the financial markets. However, SGSs and SSBs yields have been a leading indicator for fixed deposit rates and if the recent spike in yields is a trend reversal, there might be hope that fixed deposit rates have could stop dropping and even start rising in the following months.
A quick look at Highest Fixed Deposit Interest Rates in Singapore will show that almost most banks offer slightly higher fixed deposit rates as compared to the 0.37% per annum that SSBs yield if your holding period is 1 year. Comparatively, if your holding period is for the full 10 years, SSBs average yield of 1.56% per annum is much higher than Singapore Fixed Time Deposits assuming you renew your fixed deposits at current interest rates everytime their tenure is up. The higher return over the long term makes SSBs relatively attractive to depositors looking for alternative financial products.
With a minimum purchase of $500 and a maximum holding of $200,000 worth of SSBs at any point of time, SSBs are quite restrictive for savers who want to park more than $200,000 in a safe investment. They are however ideal for Singaporeans who have less than $200,000 and are looking to growing their money instead of leaving them in their savings or SRS accounts.
SSBs are extremely liquid as they can be redeemed anytime and the capital will be back in the investor's account within a month without any penalty. Comparatively, depositors incur a penalty when they withdraw a fixed deposit before its tenure is up. Both SSBs and fixed deposits are extremely safe with loss of capital extremely unlikely even in the event of a financial crisis.
Buy Singapore Savings Bonds and hold off placing funds in new fixed deposit until fixed deposit interest rates increase.
Singapore Savings Bonds can cover the needs of most Singaporeans who want to save for the long run and it makes sense to invest in it as an alternative product to short term fixed deposits that banks can offer currently. Investors/savers will get more certainty of the interest rates over the course of 10 years if they purchase SSBs as compared to fixed deposit interest rates which fluctuate with market conditions. SSBs provide a competitive product to fixed deposits with higher returns for depositors in the long term and is a free gift from the goverment.
The long term yields of SSBs is now much higher than Singapore Fixed Time Deposits after the recent spike in SSB long term yields. It remains to be seen if the recent spike in long term yields is a trend reversal or just a single month abnormality. Depositors should take advantage of the recent spike to buy SSBs as the long term yields are attractive as compared to Singapore Fixed Time Deposits. Alterntaively, with both deposits and short term SSBs having record low returns, one can also place funds in altenative investment products or conserve cash in Savings Accounts with slightly higher deposit rates and wait for better investment opportunities.