Expats say they’ll stay in S’pore, but spend less: HSBC survey

EXPATRIATES in Singapore feel fairly secure about staying here despite the global economic downturn.

A recent global survey by HSBC has shown that 91 per cent of 192 expatriates living in Singapore said that they have not considered returning home despite the downturn.

This is higher than the global average of 85 per cent, said HSBC in its annual “Expat Explorer” survey released yesterday.

More than 3,100 expats from over 50 countries were polled between February and April for this online survey that looks at the expats financial circumstances.

Countries hit hard by the financial crisis, such as the United Kingdom and United States, are seeing a greater exodus of expatriates. According to the poll, 44 per cent and 23 per cent of expats from those two markets, respectively, are considering returning home.

Meanwhile, among the minority expatriates that left Singapore amid the economic crisis, 28 per cent had to do so because their employment contracts were shortened. This was also higher than the global average of 15 per cent.

Although expats here are staying put, they are spending less. The survey found that two-thirds of the expats who stayed on had reduced their spending, especially on luxury items.

This is despite the fact that 47 per cent of those surveyed have more than $4,000 in disposable income.

“Our expat clients have told us that reductions in rent over the last nine months have increased their disposable income,” said HSBC Singapore head of personal financial services Sebastian Arcuri.

“However, due to the uncertain economic times, most of them are opting not to spend this increase in their income. Instead, we are seeing more of our expat clients use the additional funds to make provisions for their future needs as well as those of their families.”

Source : Today – 28 Jul 2009

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