Brexit's impact too early to tell: Lim Hng Kiang

Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang speaks at the ABS 43rd Annual General Meeting and Annual Dinner, on June 28, 2016.
Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang speaks at the ABS 43rd Annual General Meeting and Annual Dinner, on June 28, 2016.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE - It is still too early to tell what the long term impact of Brexit will be, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang, but the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was prepared and the financial sector will continue to function.

He told an Association of Banks (ABS) event on Tuesday (June 28): "While it is too early to make a firm call to the longer term consequences of the event, it will certainly weigh on both market confidence and on an already listless global recovery."

However, Mr Lim noted that in the near term, the unexpected results of Britain's European Union referendum is likely to impact financial markets around the world."

He said that such an event is a clear reminder of the risks, and how financial institutions and regulators must work together to ensure the continued resilience of Singapore's banking system and financial sector.

"The MAS has been prepared for this possible outcome, and had taken precautionary measures, including keeping in close contact over the past weeks with banks in Singapore, foreign central banks and regulators," added Mr Lim, who was speaking at the 43rd annual dinner of the Association of Banks in Singapore.

ABS Chairman Wee Ee Cheong also told the event it is too early to determine the wider impact.

"But we believe Asia is in a better shape to handle such shocks compared to the previous crises in 1998 and 2008," he said.

He also noted that the immediate financial impact of Brexit is on foreign exchange.

"The more flexible forex regimes in most Asian countries means the shocks on domestic economies are more manageable. We have to watch market developments closely."

rachaelb@sph.com.sg