Steady growth ahead with GDP up 4.3% in Q1
Singapore’s first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth came in at 4.3 per cent, right in line with economists’ expectations, according to Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) advance estimates on Friday. This year-on-year rise was higher than the 3.6 per cent expansion in the final quarter of last year. But on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted, annualised basis, GDP rose by 1.4 per cent in the first quarter, slower than the previous quarter’s 2.1 per cent rise.
MAS tightens policy slightly; trade tension risks remain
Singapore’s central bank moved to tighten monetary policy for the first time in six years, in a measured show of confidence that the economy will continue to grow in 2018 even as trade tensions loom. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Friday that it will slightly increase the slope of the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER) policy band, setting the Sing dollar on a “modest and gradual” appreciation path. The width of the policy band and the level at which it is centred will be unchanged.
Singapore, Chongqing aim to cut freight time between them to as little as 5 days
It now takes about a week to transport goods between Singapore and Chongqing but the two cities hope that this can be reduced to as little as five days, easing the import and export of fresh produce for instance. To realise such time savings, information about cargo can be sent ahead of time to minimise customs delays, suggested Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing, who is on a visit to China until Saturday.
Singapore welcomes US move to rejoin TPP, but economists ask if it’s for real
While Singapore welcomes the US rejoining the Trans Pacific free trade pact, private-sector economists here are sceptical about President Donald Trump’s sharp reversal of his country’s pull-out of the agreement, made days after he assumed the presidency.
Singapore Real Estate
Strong sales of luxury apartments this year
Deep-pocketed buyers have been out in force this year, with at least 19 sales of luxury apartments with price tags in excess of $10 million. Property consultancy OrangeTee & Tie said the most expensive unit in terms of absolute price sold so far was a sprawling unit at City Developments project Gramercy Park, which went for $24.5 million or $3,362 per sq ft (psf).
Divergent HDB resale, private home price trends ‘will not last’
It was nine years ago when Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale prices and private non-landed residential prices last diverged. One has to go back even further, to 1999 for the last time when prices of private homes were heading north while HDB resale flats were getting cheaper — the exact scenario that the Singapore property market currently finds itself in.
Shophouse deals cross S$500m year to date
The buzz in the shophouse market continues, with deals crossing the S$500 million mark year to date. Industry players point to a high likelihood that total transactions this year will match, if not surpass, last year’s S$1 billion, citing strong demand especially for conservation shophouses in Districts 1 and 2. A 999-year leasehold corner shophouse at 64 Club Street in the Central Business District has just been put on the market with an indicative guide price of around S$25 million. This works out to S$4,450 per square foot based on the estimated built-up area of 5,618 sq ft.
Rivercove Residences EC units 80% sold at average S$965 psf
Rivercove Residences wrapped up the first ballot and booking exercise for the executive condominium (EC) with nearly 80 per cent of its 628 units sold at an average price of S$965 psf. Located in the Anchorvale Lane neighbourhood of Sengkang, it is the sole EC launch for this year and is being developed jointly by Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments.
Ensuring Singapore’s Smart Nation ambitions are future-proof
There has been a lot of discussion about smart cities in recent months as cities across the Asia-Pacific promote their digital offerings. In January, Taipei revealed it is using a variation of blockchain technology known as IOTA to drive its smart-city efforts, starting with digital citizen cards.
Fortis’ woes pile pressure on Singapore-listed RHT Health Trust
The deepening debt and legal woes assailing India’s second largest hospital chain Fortis Healthcare, probes by regulatory authorities there, and the uncertain outcome of an intensifying bidding war for its assets by potential white knights have turned up the heat on Singapore-listed RHT Health Trust (RHT).
Manulife US Reit acquires two US properties for US$387m
Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust (Manulife US Reit) on Friday announced it has entered into agreements to acquire two properties in the US for US$387 million, and has established a US$1 billion multicurrency debt issuance programme aimed at increasing its financial flexibility by diversifying its sources of funding.
Becoming a role model for sustainability
While real estate developer City Developments (CDL) is famous for being involved in some of the most iconic buildings in Singapore, it is equally well known that the company is a role model for environmental sustainability. CDL chief sustainability officer Esther An says: “Globally, buildings account for 40 per cent of energy consumption and 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.”
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Owners worry older HDB flats a depreciating asset
Madam Chai received several offers when she listed her three-room Bukit Merah Housing Board flat for sale in January last year, after her mother died. The flat had 54 years left on its 99-year lease and the administrative clerk was asking for $340,000 – about what three-room flats in the area were commanding then.
Playgrounds in housing estates to reflect heritage
Creatures, real or otherwise, may have provided inspiration for some of the country’s most iconic playgrounds like the dragon in Toa Payoh and the dove in Dakota Crescent, but the next generation of HDB playgrounds will look to its neighbourhood’s past for ideas. HDB said it intends to build thematic playgrounds that strengthen a town’s identity by reflecting the heritage of the area.
Real estate is this investor’s game
It was clear when Quah Kay Beng was growing up that he would find his niche in real estate given how much he liked playing Monopoly. And if becoming “pretty good” at the boardgame was not incentive enough to try his hand at property, his uncle and aunt are in the real estate industry so family conversations would often revolve around the topic of bricks and mortar investments.
Chaos is also needed to build a Smart Nation
Carlo Ratti is a lot of things: architect, engineer, activist, and voted one of the world’s most influential designers. He runs his own design and innovation firm Carlo Ratti Associati, and teaches at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he directs the MIT Senseable City Lab, which looks at how new technologies are changing the way we understand, design and live in cities.
The online retail gambit
Jim Boland is not one person you would expect to see at your doorstep hauling the groceries you ordered online. The chief financial officer of homegrown online grocer RedMart personally delivers orders for customers here at least twice a year. But this is not a story about Mr Boland or why he needs to deliver groceries himself. It is about how the company he works for is giving supermarket chain giants a run for their money.
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