Bosses less optimistic of business in Q1 next year: Survey
Business confidence has taken a turn for the worse, with bosses worried about the global economy, higher costs and financing difficulties. The Business Optimism Index (BOI) for the first three months of next year is at -1.22 percentage points, down from +2.87 percentage points for this quarter, according to the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB)’s latest quarterly survey. It is the second-lowest figure recorded over the past four years. The BOI is derived by subtracting the percentage of pessimists from the percentage of optimists. The index is compiled through surveying 200 business owners and senior executives representing major industry sectors on their business expectations. Compared with last year, the index improved slightly but remained in the contractionary zone.
Singapore fifth worst tax haven in the world: Oxfam
Months after committing to a global initiative to curb tax avoidance, Singapore has again come under the spotlight for its regime that allows companies to legally but artificially shift profits across borders to keep overall corporate taxes low. A new report, titled “Tax Battles: the dangerous global race to the bottom on corporate tax,” was released on Monday (Dec 12) by United Kingdom-based charity organisation Oxfam, which examined the extent to which countries encourage corporate tax avoidance. Oxfam named Singapore the fifth worst corporate tax haven for its lack of withholding taxes, its range of tax incentives, and evidence of substantial profit shifting.
Singapore Real Estate
Retail property investment sales surge in Q4
The total value of big-ticket retail properties that have changed hands so far this quarter has surged to S$731.3 million, up 22.4 per cent from S$597.4 million in the preceding quarter and more than double the S$320.3 million in Q4 last year. This tally as at Dec 8, compiled by Savills Singapore, was based on deals of at least S$10 million originating from the private sector. Perennial Real Estate Holdings and Singapore Press Holdings’ S$265.5 million acquisition of an additional 60 per cent stake in a partnership holding Chinatown Point mall and four strata office units above it has been the biggest deal so far this quarter.
Funeral parlours at Mount Vernon Columbarium granted lease extensions
For the second time, leases for funeral parlours at Mount Vernon Columbarium Complex will be extended and while operators welcome the news, they remain anxious about what the future holds for their operations. The first round of lease extension was granted in 2014. The lease for Singapore Casket, which runs Mount Vernon Parlour 1 and 2, was due to expire on Dec 20, but has now been extended to next December. Similarly, Mount Vernon Sanctuary, which owns six halls for wakes, will see its lease — due to run out on March 14 next year — extended to March 2018.
Cycling, walking trails on Sentosa revamped
More than 8,000 cyclists have been tracked using Sentosa’s on-road cycling lanes since April, the resort island told The Straits Times recently. The Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) started building a network of on-road bicycle lanes – the first of its kind in Singapore – last year. Yesterday, it announced the launch of its revamped walking and cycling trails. The island’s cycling network has been boosted by the 4.5km-long on-road stretch and now stretches about 12km.
Frasers Centrepoint launches serviced residence in Bangkok golf club
Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL) unit Frasers Hospitality Group has launched North Park Place, a 105-unit serviced residence in Bangkok’s Rajpruek Golf Club. The launch boosts the hospitality unit’s portfolio in Thailand, where there will be four properties with over 850 units by 2019. Special opening rates start from 33,000 baht (S$1,323) per month for a one-bedroom deluxe apartment, the group said.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Special lots for disabled provided in HDB carparks
Since 2006, all new public housing projects have been designed with Universal Design features from the onset, in accordance with Building and Construction Authority guidelines (“Not enough carpark spaces for handicapped drivers” by Mr Rithu Patke; Forum Online, Dec 5). This means they are inherently accessible to a wide spectrum of people – the old, and those with and without disabilities. Included are handicapped parking lots and ramps to facilitate easier movement.
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