SSB – Sep 2019

Source: https://amosang.com/singapore-savings-bonds-ssb-visualizer/

This month’s tranche gives you 1.65% p.a. for the first 3 years, 3 bps lower than the previous month. The 10-year average interest rate has also fallen below the psychological 2% hurdle. For a visual idea of how far rates have fallen, look at the distance between the dark blue line (Jan 2019) and the pink line (Sep 2019). What’s a yield-hungry investor to do these days?

That was a hypothetical question — I don’t have the answer either. But I’ve a hunch that something’s about to happen in 2H19, for better or worse. In other news, the attention of the local personal finance blogerati appear to be recently focused on Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), distributed by MoneyOwl and EndowUs. Look up these keywords.

Fortunately for me, I managed to put in a bid for the Aug 2019 tranche right before it closed. Park some money here first, while waiting for clearer signs. Unfortunately the outlook does not seem promising, with more additional trade tariffs by Trump, unstable political situation in Hong Kong, and downgraded GDP forecasts for Singapore.

Tech-Talk: This month’s SSB post was delayed by a day, because the automation failed as the SSB site was moved, subsumed into MAS website! The extraction routines had to be re-coded (I found a better method, heheh!) and adapted to the existing structures. Do also check out the official MAS SSB Portal (https://eservices.mas.gov.sg/ssb/portal), where you can see what SSBs are in your portfolio, and how much interest you will be getting — it is quite nice. The key take-away is this: Everyone wants to look at things differently, and no single tool or dashboard can handle it all. I made this Tableau Public dashboard because I want to analyze the SSB rates my way, and don’t want to be restricted by what the Portal allows me to do. Data providers should always provide a machine-readable feed of granular data wherever possible, and allow people to explore the data according to their imagination.

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