Updated: 04/29/2014 22:16

Prices in Singapore often not the lowest, but also not consistently the highest either: Govt Study



Prices in Singapore often not the lowest, but also not consistently the highest either: Govt Study

A government study has found that while prices in Singapore are often not the lowest, neither are they consistently the highest compared to other cities. 

The joint study by the Trade and Industry Ministry and the Monetary Authority of Singapore looked at price differentials of three global brands - Apple, IKEA, and Zara, a clothing brand - across 10 cities. 

It found the prices of 647 items can differ substantially across locations for specific products. 

Singapore's prices were found to be above the median for two-thirds of the items surveyed. 

Economist at United Overseas Bank Francis Tan isn't surprised by the findings. 

" If you are an international company and you're selling the same homogeneous product across many different geographies, now in order to sell, you have to have a retail outlet in a particular country. Now two of the basic inputs to you setting up shop in Singapore for example, labour cost and capital. Capital in this case, probably would mean the rental. So with higher labour cost than the other countries we're seeing, and of course with higher rental rates, naturally you'll have to pass on such higher costs over to the consumers."

For about a quarter of the items, Singapore prices were below the median. 

For the majority of the items which were more expensive in Singapore, the price premiums did not exceed 20 per cent. 

The study says the results also suggest that the price differentials for the products mainly reflect differences in unit cost as well as the demand for them in the respective markets. 

M-A-S says that these three companies were chosen because they had to find firms that offer the same product range across different regions. 

It cautions that since the analysis focused on only three global brands, the findings should not be taken as representative of differences in the overall cost of living across cities.

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