Where do we often see concentration of pawn shops? Places like Las Vegas and Macau.
"Gambling is harmful for people, stated Wang. He saw many pawn shops around casinos in Macau for people losing in gambling to exchange money to gamble again"[Link]
If you have been observant enough, you would notice the proliferation of pawnshops at estate centers in the HDB heartlands. I wrote about this a few months back[Link]. We know that the situation has deteriorated sharply since the casinos opened. Thanks to the diligence of Leong Sze Hian[TOC article], we can have a better look at the numbers:
1. June 2012 shows the largest increase in pawnshop pledges. Loans increase to $622M for just one month.
2. Pledges in pawnshops increased from 2.98M in 2010 to 3.5M in 2011.
3. The amounts of loans increased from $2.7B to $4.9B in 2011.
4, Leong projects loans hitting $7B in 2012 given the current rate of growth.
At the same time, we are also seeing rapid growth in consumer debt[Growing Consumer Debt among Singaporeans]. Consumer debt his heading towards the $200B figure. Something is not right and whatever is wrong is probably masked by temporary benign economic conditions since the Global Financial Crisis. Perhaps we are seeing our own house of cards....right here in Singapore.