behind price increases, labour-market watchers told The Business Times.
pandemic-related trough in 2021 - and the cautious border reopening is unlikely to provide near-term relief.
areas," Theseira told BT.
than in 2021, when Mercer projected a rise of 3.3 per cent, and ECA, 2.8 per cent.
the quarters ahead," it added.
effects of rising wage pressures is likely to manifest in higher core inflation in coming months."
Policy, saying that these disruptions could have raised demand for local workers and put pressure on wages.
will also contribute to overall wage growth."
expanding "have had to hunt mostly within the local labour market".
albeit still far from pre-Covid norms."
She flagged the reopening of the land crossing with Malaysia as a significant travel arrangement to watch in the near term, since it opens the door to more than 300,000 commuters, who mainly work in manufacturing and domestic-oriented services such as retail and food and beverage.
But Theseira flagged concerns about whether the employment of such Malaysian commuters in Singapore will normalise any time soon.
accommodation costs here".
There is no clear roadmap to restoring the commuting model, he said. "Malaysian work permit holders won't be as accessible as they were for some time", which affects wages and costs.
were negative from the second quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, during the pandemic.
But the ULC - which measures the manpower costs behind business or economic output - rose by 17.8 per cent year on year in the second quarter of 2021, and 6.1 per cent in the third quarter.
Concern that the higher wages will pass through to inflation may be overblown. Granted, Ho- a former director of planning and policy at the Ministry of Manpower - noted that "the continued pick-up in demand and higher wage costs will also push up prices".
But he also observed that inflation has been driven by other factors such as imported inflation for energy, food and other goods, and domestic costs such as rents and COE premiums.
Indeed, Barnabas Gan, an economist at UOB, observed that Singapore's average monthly income growth was 1.9 per cent in the first half of 2021 - compared with 3.3 per cent in the period from 2015 to 2019 - and came against a very low year-ago base.
"Even though Singapore's average monthly income grew 1.4 per cent in 2020, the city-state saw a deflation of 0.2 per cent in the same year.
Wages will likely remain to be a driver for inflation in 2022, but empirical evidence suggests that Singapore's consumer prices are more significantly driven by import prices," said Gan.
Professor Boh Wai Fong from the Nanyang Business School also speculated that statistics that show a global rise in wages in wealthy economies may actually be misleading.
"As more people in low-paying jobs quit or are laid off, the average wage is then increased as a result, since unemployed people are not included in the calculations," she said.
She also suggested that "if there is an increase in productivity, higher wages might not necessarily lead to increased inflation because there is more supply to meet the demand".
All the same, OCBC's Ling anticipated more monetary policy normalisation from the MAS as "domestic labour market tightness will increasingly contribute to structural inflationary pressures", especially given the gradual pace of border reopening.
population; there may not be any immediate panacea unless the gates are thrown open again," she remarked.
Rising wages will push up Singapore inflation in 2022, although external forces remain the main culprit behind price increases, labour-market watchers told The Business Times.
Source: The Business Times