Who is Jesse Colombo?
HIS preoccupation with credit bubbles has reportedly led to this nickname: The "bubbleologist".
Jesse Colombo, also a columnist at Forbes.com, has garnered major attention with a report titled "Why Singapore's Economy Is Heading For An Iceland-style Meltdown".
According to his website, the French-born American, 28, was recognised by The Times of London in 2008 for predicting the United States housing and credit bubble.
Contacted by MyPaper via e-mail yesterday, Mr Colombo, a graduate of Stony Brook University in New York, shared his views on the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS') response on the Republic's financial health.
MAS said: "It is clear that unusually low global interest rates have stimulated credit growth and an increase in property prices in recent years...That is why the Government and MAS have taken decisive steps to cool property demand and prevent excessive leverage."
Mr Colombo argues: "These measures have slowed the increase in property prices somewhat, but they're still at already-inflated levels and are overvalued, plus mortgage debt outstanding has not declined either after its fast run-up.
"I also called them a "Band-Aid on a flesh wound."
He adds: "Property curbs have (also) not slowed the growth rate of loans to Singapore's private sector."
MAS had also pointed to an assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that found Singapore's financial system would remain sound "even under severe stress scenarios", such as a sharp increase in interest rates and steep drop in property prices.
Mr Colombo counters: "What they are not accounting for is a regional crisis from South-east Asia to China, as all of those areas have large bubble economies.
"Singapore's financial sector, which has been a primary driver of the country's growth, is heavily investing and lending in the Asean region...very strong chance that multiple crises may hit at once, from the popping of Singapore's housing bubble, to a regional Asean crisis to a crisis in China."