Singapore Q1 GDP growth hits decade low
Singapore’s economy is growing at the slowest clip since the global financial crisis, according to flash data for the first three months of the year. Services proved resilient and construction has finally returned to positive territory, but the slip in manufacturing – amid a gloomy global environment – led analysts to warn that factories have not yet hit rock bottom.
MAS maintains monetary policy, cuts core inflation forecast to 1 – 2%
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is holding steady on monetary policy but downgrading its forecast range for core inflation to between 1 and 2 per cent, it announced at its latest half-yearly monetary policy review on Friday. Given the weak growth outlook and revised inflation expectations, economists see the MAS as likely to maintain policy at the next review in October too, contrary to earlier expectations of possible tightening.
February retail sales plunge 10% due to early Chinese New Year effect
Retail sales fell sharply in February compared with the same period last year, reversing a 7.6 per cent rise in January, after taking a hit due to this year’s earlier Chinese New Year. Takings at the till dropped by 10 per cent, well below the expec-tations of analysts polled by Bloomberg, who predicted a 2.5 per cent rise year on year. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales fell 10.7 per cent compared with February last year, according to figures from the Department of Statistics yesterday.
Lifestyle sector tapping govt schemes to ease labour crunch
Within the services industry, the lifestyle sector – including food and beverage, retail and hotels – has been tapping government programmes to reduce labour reliance or find suitable manpower, with Workforce Singapore (WSG) releasing figures on the sector’s take-up rate for schemes. The lifestyle sector also includes MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), travel and tourism, and attractions.
STB targeting baby boomers and millennials
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will target retired baby boomers from countries such as Japan and Australia, and younger millennials from key countries such as China and Indonesia, as part of a strategy to address a slide in spending by visitors. While arrivals last year exceeded forecasts to reach 18.5 million visitors, spending failed to keep pace.
CapitaLand’s acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge gets overwhelming nod from shareholders
Shareholders raised some concerns over CapitaLand’s proposed acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge (ASB) at an extraordinary generating meeting (EGM) on Friday before overwhelmingly giving their blessing for the deal. The property developer is paying Temasek Holdings nearly S$6.04 billion for industrial and commercial real estate player ASB, although the deal has an enterprise value of about S$11 billion when taking into account some S$5 billion in debt owed by ASB.
Manager of Frasers Centrepoint Trust names Richard Ng as new CEO
The manager of Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) has named Richard Ng as chief executive officer-designate who will take over from Chew Tuan Chiong, who is retiring. Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management (FCAM), in a regulatory filing on Friday, said Mr Ng’s appointment takes effect on Monday.
UIC buying Marina Mandarin and parts of Marina Sq complex
The Marina Mandarin Singapore and parts of the Marina Square complex are changing hands for S$675.3 million, in a deal inked last Friday. United Industrial Corp (UIC) is buying out Finnegan Investments and Mackmoor, as well as mainboard-listed OUE. The Marina Square shopping centre will then be owned jointly by UIC and its parent, UOL Group.
Lian Beng Q3 net profit halves to S$3.6m
Lian Beng raked in 55.3 per cent lower profit of S$3.6 million for the quarter ended February as it was hit by higher cost of sales and a S$3.1 million loss from its associates and joint ventures. These hit the firm’s bottom line, which was S$8.1 million (restated) in the preceding year. The listed main contractor’s financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 released on Friday saw its cost of sales go up 6.5 per cent year-on-year to S$70.1 million, mainly due to an increase in construction cost.
Heeton consortium buys Crowne Plaza London Kensington
The Ritzy Crowne Plaza London Kensington has been sold for £84.3 million (S$148.9 million) – but it will stay in the hands of Singaporean owners. Mainboard-listed developer Heeton Holdings and partners announced on Sunday that it bought over the hotel’s holding company, which had been controlled by Aspial Corp and Fragrance Group tie-up AF Global.
Keppel screens award winning documentary on the circular economy
In line with the Singapore government’s push towards a circular economy and in support of Earth Day 2019, the Keppel Group organised a public screening of the world’s first feature-length documentary on the circular economy, Closing the Loop,on the circular economy,at the Singapore Botanic Gardens last Saturday evening. The documentary showcases examples from around the world on innovative applications of technology, process improvements and labour solutions to design out waste and pollution.
Industry veteran Shane Hagan named CFO of Cromwell E-Reit’s manager
Cromwell EReit Management, the manager of Cromwell European Real Estate Investment Trust (Cromwell E-Reit), has appointed industry veteran Shane Hagan as its chief financial officer (CFO) with effect from May 1, 2019. Mr Hagan has been the manager’s head of finance since November 2018, and has more than 20 years of experience in the real estate industry across Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
Don Don Donki not fazed by tight labour, pricey rentals here
Stiff labour conditions and pricey property rents may be the bane of retailers in Singapore, but Don Don Donki is not letting such troubles get in the way of its rapid expansion. Since the end of 2017, the Japanese discount chain has opened three sizeable stores at Orchard Central, 100AM at Tanjong Pagar and City Square Mall – considerably premium locations – with more on the way.
Redesigning jobs helps IR stay on track for growth
After nine years as a housekeeper at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Madam Saadiah Martawi, 56, is no stranger to the hard work needed to clean up after guests who leave their rooms in a complete mess. While her job may be tough now, it looks set to be more demanding in the near future, with Singapore’s integrated resorts (IRs) pledging to pump in $9 billion here, which could add another half a million international visitors yearly and create an estimated 5,000 new jobs.
IBM shutting its Tampines plant, laying off more workers
Singapore — Nine years after it opened with much fanfare, global technology giant IBM’s manufacturing facility in Tampines will be shut, with the remaining workers to be laid off. The shutting of the IBM Singapore Technology Park comes after several rounds of retrenchments were carried out between May and July last year.
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Rejuvenating CBD with new integrated buildings ‘visionary’: JLL
More than 20 ageing office buildings in Singapore’s CBD, currently housing some 6 to 6.5 million sq ft of office space, could be redeveloped to make way for state-of-the-art buildings under the CBD Incentive Scheme as part of the recently released draft Master Plan 2019. This is the number of buildings JLL Research estimates could satisfy the criteria set under the scheme, which offers higher plot ratios for owners who convert older office buildings to other complementary uses.
Building owners must step up maintenance checks
It horrified me to read about the metal panels that almost injured a woman (Woman escapes being hit by falling metal panels, April 7). In recent years, there have been incidents of falling glass, wall tiles, windows and metal panels, as well as other concrete structures. As more high-rise buildings are built, the responsibility lies with building owners to step up their preventive maintenance to ensure such materials are secure to avoid accidents.
Urban farming: a viable option
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)
In land-scarce Singapore, adoption of technologies is the way forward to boost the urban farming landscape and optimise our limited resources. Coordinated effort by the government and private sector in the areas of industry and enterprise development, R&D
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