Singapore Dollar (SGD): Definition, Currency Symbol, History

What Is the Singapore Dollar (SGD)?

The term Singapore dollar (SGD) refers to the official currency of the Southeast Asian island state of Singapore. The currency is issued and maintained by the country's central bank. The dollar is abbreviated as SGD and is represented by the symbol S$ to set it apart from other dollar-based currencies. Singapore dollar banknotes are printed in denominations between S$2 and S$10,000. A single SGD is divided into 100 cents with coins minted in one cent to S$5 denominations.

Key Takeaways

  • The Singapore dollar is the official currency of the island state of Singapore.
  • It is abbreviated as SGD and is represented by the symbol S$.
  • SGD banknotes are printed in denominations ranging from S$2 to S$10,000 while coins are minted from one cent to S$5.
  • The currency is issued by the country's central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, since 1985.
  • The Singapore dollar has a rare AAA rating from Fitch Ratings.

Understanding the Singapore Dollar (SGD)

The Singapore dollar was introduced in 1967 shortly after the island seceded from the Federation of Malaysia. The currency was originally produced by the Board of Commissioners of Currency until it merged with the country's central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, in 2002.

The currency's banknotes are printed in the following denominations: S$2, S$5, S$10, S$20, S$25, S$50, S$100, S$1,000, and S$10,000. As noted above, a single SGD is divided into 100 cents. The central bank is responsible for minting coins in the following values: one, five, 10, 20, and 50 cents. It also produces S$1 and S$5 coins, too.

The Singapore dollar, which is commonly referred to in the foreign exchange market as the sing, was kept at par with the Malaysian ringgit until 1973. Since then, it has been pegged to a fixed but undisclosed basket of currencies that are associated with the republic's diverse trade links.

The Singapore dollar is the 12th most traded currency in the world, and the third-highest in Asia, behind the Japanese yen (JPY() and China's renminbi. The SGD accounts for nearly 1.8% of daily volume in currency trading. Since the financial crisis of 2007–2008, the SGD became one of the world's best-performing currencies. With a robust and growing financial center, stable housing prices, and undemanding regulatory practices, Singapore has become a favored destination for offshore investors and entrepreneurs.

One S$ was worth about $0.72 USD as of July 29, 2022.

Special Considerations

According to Singapore's central bank, about S$60.3 billion was in circulation as of 2021. The dollar is fully backed by gold, silver, and other assets that are held by the nation's central bank.

In late 2020, Fitch Ratings reaffirmed its AAA rating on the Singapore dollar, despite the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation-state's economy. Fitch cited its "exceptionally strong external and fiscal balance sheets, high per capita income, sound macroeconomic policy framework, and strong business environment."

Singapore's Economy

Singapore has been a major trading and shipping hub since the early 19th century when Britain's East India Company spotted its potential as a commercial hub for its Asian trade. It remained a British crown colony before and after its occupation by Japan during World War II.

After gaining its independence in the 1960s, Singapore went through a period of manufacturing growth and developed rapidly into a high-income nation. Manufacturing and the services sectors remain its key drivers of growth. It also is a key financial services center for the region and remains an important port.

Singapore has one of the world's most business-friendly regulatory environments for entrepreneurs, according to the World Bank. Its status as a world-class business hub is more impressive in light of its tiny size. The entire city-state has a population of less than 5.45 million.

The island republic is one of the four Asian tigers whose economies have sustained a high rate of growth since the 1960s, propelling them into the ranks of the world's wealthiest nations. The other Asian tigers are Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea.

What Is the Exchange Pair for Singapore Dollars to U.S. Dollars?

Followers of the foreign exchange rate will find this exchange pair posted as USD/SGD.

Travelers to Singapore can expect the rates they receive from a bank or money exchange office to reflect fees of 3% to 5% of the current posted exchange rate.

The fees apply both ways. If you leave Singapore and want to convert any leftover Singapore dollars back into U.S. dollars, you'll lose about 3% to 5% of the value of your money to fees.

What Is the Historical Exchange Rate for Singapore Dollars to U.S. Dollars?

In the year ending March 25, 2022, the value of the Singapore dollar ranged between 1.3217 and 1.3662 per U.S. dollar. Fitch Solutions expected it to average 1.3450 per USD in 2022, saying the currency appeared to be in a "slightly stronger" than usual position.

What Is the Symbol for the Singapore Currency?

The currency code for the Singapore currency in the forex markets is SGD. Its currency code is S$. Consumers who wish to exchange U.S. dollars for Singapore dollars will see the exchange rate posted as USD/SGD.

Article Sources
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  1. Monetary Authority of Singapore. "Circulation Currency: Notes."

  2. Fitch Ratings. "Fitch Affirms Singapore at 'AAA'; Outlook Stable."

  3. Monetary Authority of Singapore. "History of Currency in Singapore."

  4. OANDA. "Singapore Dollar Currency SGD."

  5. Yahoo! Finance. "SGD/USD (SGDUSD=X)."

  6. Monetary Authority of Singapore. "Currency in Circulation (2012 to 2021)."

  7. Fitch Ratings. "Fitch Affirms Singapore at 'AAA'; Outlook Stable."

  8. The World Bank. "The World Bank in Singapore: Overview."

  9. The World Bank. "Population Total: Singapore."

  10. Yahoo! Finance. "USD/SGD."

  11. Yahoo! Finance. "Early monetary policy tightening to see stronger Singapore Dollar on average in 2022."

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