External factors create uncertainty for S’pore’s H2
Advance estimates of Singapore’s economic growth in the second quarter of the year proved to be slightly encouraging. The estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Thursday recorded a 2.2 per cent growth year on year. This is in line with analysts’ expectations and is marginally higher than the revised 2.1 per cent growth in the previous quarter. However, economists are cautious going into the third quarter of the year. Some have downgraded their growth forecast for the full year, citing external factors like China’s waning growth and instability in the EU post-“Brexit” that could dampen Singapore’s growth in the second half of 2016.
BOE surprises markets by holding rates, signals August loosening
The Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged on Thursday, wrong-footing many investors who had expected the first cut in more than seven years with Britain’s economy reeling from last month’s vote to leave the European Union. The BOE said it was likely to deliver stimulus in three weeks’ time, possibly as a “package of measures”, once it has assessed how the June 23 referendum decision has affected the economy, the world’s fifth largest.
PSB Academy starts work on S$15m city campus
Private education institution PSB Academy announced plans for a new S$15 million campus at Marina Square at its groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday. Dubbed “Future Academy”, it will occupy over 100,000 square feet across two floors within the shopping centre, and the move to the new campus is slated for the fourth quarter this year, subject to the Council for Private Education’s (CPE) approval.
“We are creating an education experience that gives our students a ‘smarter way forward’,” said PSB Academy executive chairman Viva Sinniah.
Singapore Real Estate
Luxury condo deals double in first half
Condo transactions of S$10 million and above in the January-June period are up sharply from a year ago, marking the strongest showing since the second half of 2013. The strong pick-up was fuelled largely by foreign buying, attractive pricing and a general improvement in property market sentiment in recent months. According to CBRE Research’s analysis of URA Realis caveats data, 19 condos were sold for at least S$10 million each, adding up to S$259 million – more than double the eight transactions totalling S$103 million in H2 2015. The H1 performance is the best since the 21 deals worth S$265 million in H2 2013.
Retail woes: Don’t blame the landlords
It was the eve of a public holiday in early July. We were in the middle of the two-month-long Great Singapore Sale (GSS). We were also in a week-long Lebaran holidays in Indonesia, from where many visitors were expected to descend on Singapore’s shores to enjoy our food and spend money in this shopping paradise. Perhaps that is now all in the past. Because on this evening, the department stores on Orchard Road were quiet. The shopper void is especially stark given the GSS period and the holidays: Ground-floor, street-fronting retail space along Orchard Road, including eateries, were not even half occupied.
Competition watchdog looks into supply of HDB lift spare parts
A Spotlight has been thrown on proper lift maintenance following a string of high-profile incidents that left one man dead and others injured in recent months. But within the industry, there have been restrictive practices in the supply of lift spare parts – key for a proper maintenance regime – for public housing estates here, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) said on Thursday. The competition watchdog, acting on a complaint it received, has begun investigations into an allegation that several companies were refusing to supply spare parts for elevators installed in HDB estates.
Fancy cooking your meal in a mall’s shared kitchen?
The upcoming mall at OUE Downtown looks set to not only enliven Shenton Way, but also offer bold retail concepts – such as cooking meals in a shared kitchen and having lunch delivered to lockers. OUE Downtown (formerly DBS Building) in the generally staid financial district is being redeveloped into a mixed-use project comprising offices, serviced apartments and a $195 million mall.
First Reit’s Q2 DPU edges up on Kupang acquisition
Boosted by contributions from an acquisition in Indonesia, First Real Estate Investment Trust’s distribution per unit (DPU) for the second quarter ended June 30 edged up 1.9 per cent to 2.11 Singapore cents. The Kupang property acquired late last year comprises Siloam Hospitals Kupang and Lippo Plaza Kupang. The higher DPU came as the distributable amount for the quarter was 5.5 per cent higher at S$16.24 million from a year ago while gross revenue rose 6.5 per cent to S$26.6 million. Net property income (NPI) increased 6.9 per cent to S$26.32 million.
Views, Reviews & Forum
BNM rate cut: No big impact on margins seen
Compared to the previous steep cuts to the key lending rate of 150 basis points over a six-month period during the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the 25 basis points (bps) reduction announced on Wednesday is not expected to have a sizeable impact on the net interest margins (NIM) of banks. Analysts expect the impact of the 0.25 per cent cut to have a slight effect but caution that additional easing would further compress margins and dampen earnings. The average sector margin has dipped to about 2.17 per cent, but subsequent reductions appear to be more than a possibility following the abrupt change in the central bank’s position.
Plan it right for second CBD
Good urban master-planning is crucial to creating great places that people love to live, work and play in. This process guides land use, identifies the way people and traffic move, and integrates new neighbourhoods with existing communities. A visionary masterplan can ignite the social, physical and economic rejuvenation of backwaters. The Urban Redevelopment Authority has sought masterplan proposals for Jurong Lake District, now earmarked as the second Central Business District (CBD). Anchored by the future high-speed rail terminus, the 360ha district is set to be eco-friendly and well connected, with offices, waterfront homes, hotels, greenery and recreational facilities.
S’pore businesses sharpen Asean focus amid Brexit uncertainty
Following Britain’s vote last month to leave the European Union, Singapore businesses are sharpening their focus on emerging and immediate opportunities in the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean), given the uncertainty looming large over the United Kingdom and European markets, said the head of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) on Thursday (July 14).
S’porean millennials lead in online cross-border shopping
Millennials in Singapore lead the way in cross-border online shopping in the Asia-Pacific region, showed a survey by e-payments giant PayPal, the results of which were released yesterday. About 80 per cent of these shoppers, aged 18 to 34, shopped online in the past 12 months at the time of the survey — conducted from September to October last year — with the most spending on travel, event tickets and entertainment. Of this group, 69 per cent bought from overseas merchants, the highest out of the six key markets covered by PayPal in the survey — India, China, Singapore, Japan, Australia and South Korea.
Global Economy & Global Real Estate
Yen hit again as bullish spell continues for global stocks
Bank of Korea holds key rate at record low, cuts growth forecast
Bank of England keeps rates unchanged
Brexit vote ravages sentiment in UK housing market: poll
Galaxy woos big shoppers as Macau gaming slumps
Seller-financed home sales are ‘toxic transactions’
California Fitness closes all its gyms in Hong Kong
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