Foreign Exchange Guide to Singapore
In this guide we review :
- Singapore dollar info - general info about the Singapore dollar
- Singapore dollar in the markets - recent SGD moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Singapore - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Singapore dollar cash online - travel money for Singapore
- Sending money to Singapore - save on Singapore dollar bank transfers to Singapore
- Singapore dollar exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Singapore dollar (SGD) general currency information
According to the Bank for International Settlements, trading in the Singapore dollar contributes to 1.8% of the foreign exchange market’s daily turnover, and as such the currency is Asia’s third most traded (behind the Japanese yen and China’s yuan) and the twelfth most traded in the world.
Singapore’s currency is of special importance to the country’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Unlike other central banks which tighten or ease monetary policy by adjusting a national interest rate, the MAS achieve the same end via management of Singapore dollar exchange rates – an unconventional method which has served the country well since its introduction in 1981.
Because of its importance to monetary policy, the value of the Singapore dollar is managed carefully under a ‘managed float’ regime and is not truly freely floating. Its value is managed against a basket of currencies from the country’s major trading partners and the trade-weighted Singapore dollar exchange rate is restricted by the central bank to moves within a specified range, the boundaries of which are announced every six months.
The currency’s all-time valuation low against the US dollar occurred in September 1985 when USD/SGD reached 2.31. Its all-time high came in August 2011 when USD/SGD fell to just 1.2.
Singapore dollar (SGD) in the markets
The Singapore dollar has done little in recent months. More than halfway through October, USD/SGD and EUR/SGD stood at 1.357 and 1.603, matching their levels in late July.
Against the US dollar, SGD bulls are hopeful for another attack on 1.3350 – the major support level in USD/SGD. Previous attempts on the level failed in April, June and August of 2016, and again in September this year.
In EUR/SGD, a rate of 1.6 continues to be a magnet for price. With the exception of a single-day probe above 1.63 in late August, which at the time marked a two-year low in SGD buying power, EUR/SGD has spent all of its time in recent months between 1.593 and 1.62.
Economic data coming from Singapore continues to present mixed signals. In October, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry released preliminary data showing the economy growing at 4.6% – the country’s highest rate of annual growth since 2014. Offsetting that was September’s plunge in exports. A monthly decline of 11% took annual export growth into negative territory (-1.1%), compared with annualized growth one month earlier of 16.7%. Among eight Asian countries releasing trade data in October, only Singapore posted weak export numbers.
Analysts at Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, said in August that SGD was “too strong” against USD and suggested that further SGD appreciation would be hard to come by.
Singapore currency and money saving tips
Singapore is not cheap, but that aside it is a classy, and impressive place to visit. Singapore is expensive by Southeast-Asian standards, with everything costing about double what it does elsewhere in the region. Singapore can get very humid in summer, be ready for that when making travel plans. There is so much to do in Singapore, try to spend a few days, the food is amazing. That said, it can get pretty humid, so depending on your tastes decide on your travel time wisely.
There are plenty of buses and taxis around Singapore, but the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) runs the length and breadth of the country. MRT tickets vary in price, as they are based on the distance traveled, but generally cost around 4 SGD. Travel on public transport is just 10 SGD per day for tourists with a Singapore Tourist Pass. This will get you unlimited rides on a number of buses and trains.
For the budget travelers the stalls here offer food for less than 6 SGD and are a great place to sample local snacks, otherwise eating out can cost you. If you struggle with finding your way around there is a very complex underground system that is very useful.
Singapore Trip Checklist
Travel money for Singapore
Save money and time by Ordering your Singapore dollar online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the SGD cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Singapore dollar otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Singapore
When sending money to Singapore it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Singapore dollar amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted SGD amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Singapore.
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Singapore dollar deposited into the recipient bank account in Singapore and less margins and fees kept by the banks!