The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 17 Dec 2020 (Thu)

Singapore Real Estate

Nov condo, HDB rental volumes up despite travel curbs
More people rented condominium units and Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats in November, even with border restrictions still in place. The rental volume for condominiums rose 3.8 per cent month on month to an estimated 4,443 units in November from 4,281 units in October, showed flash data from real estate portal SRX Property released on Wednesday.

Keeping ‘prime’ HDB flats within reach of everyone
From locking resale gains in Central Provident Fund accounts to removing open market transactions to building smaller flats, there is no shortage of potential policy manoeuvres to ensure public housing – particularly in new, prime locations – stays affordable for every Singaporean.


Singapore Economy

Singapore non-oil exports drop for second straight month in November with 4.9% fall
Singapore exports failed to gain ground in November, on a broad-based slump. Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell by 4.9 per cent year on year, in the second month of decline, according to trade agency Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Thursday.

Slight uptick in business confidence for another quarter: SCCB
Business confidence among Singapore firms saw a slight uptick in the first quarter of 2021 but remained in the contractionary zone, according to the business optimism index study released by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) on Wednesday.

Asean 2021 rebound will be strong but uneven among nations
South-east Asia will see a strong rebound in 2021, though recovery speeds will vary with the Philippines likely to lag behind, said analysts in two separate reports this week. Gross domestic product (GDP) across South-east Asia is expected to rebound 6.2 per cent in 2021 after 2020’s 4.1 per cent contraction, according to a report by Oxford Economics on Wednesday, commissioned by chartered accountancy body ICAEW.

Lower- and middle-income workers still in hardship can tap new grant
Lower- and middle-income workers hit by Covid-19, and who are still facing financial hardship despite the earlier help measures, can get more cash support under the Covid-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) rolled out by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

Nearly 200,000 self-employed receive $1.8b in payouts
Nearly 200,000 people have benefited from the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs), with around $1.8 billion paid out between April and this month, said the Manpower Ministry and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in a statement yesterday.

S’pore, US sign MOU to deepen economic cooperation
Singapore has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United States to deepen economic cooperation and extend trade financing and investment support to each other’s companies. The MOU aims to improve the availability of and access to trade financing options for companies from both countries, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a press release yesterday.


Companies’ Brief

Keppel launches second data centre fund with first close of over US$500m
The asset management arm of Keppel Corporation has launched a second data centre fund, which will focus on making strategic investments in the “fast-growing” data centre sector in the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

High yield a key factor in Soilbuild Reit’s privatisation exercise, but will investors accept the deal?
After weeks of watching Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust (LMIRT) and Sabana Shari’ah Compliant Real Estate Investment Trust (Sabana Reit) make headlines for all the wrong reasons, the privatisation offer for Soilbuild Business Space Reit (Soilbuild Reit) announced earlier this week was probably something of a breath of fresh air for many investors.

Al-Futtaim sells Royal Sporting House to Gulf Marketing Group
Al-Futtaim, the parent company of department store operator Robinsons, is selling Royal Sporting House to Gulf Marketing Group (GMG), which will review and may “recalibrate” the sports retailer’s physical presence.

Rising ESG focus sees launch of another green Reit index
The label of being a “green” real estate investment trust (Reit) will become a more coveted one, as investors integrate more sustainability factors into their investment strategies and mandates. This has also led more index providers to launch indices that help investors identify Reits that fulfil ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) factors.

Doors finally shut at Robinsons’ Heeren store
When the last customers left the Robinsons store at The Heeren at 2pm yesterday, the curtains went down on the flagship outlet of the 162-year-old retail institution. Earlier in the day, the store was open to customers between 11am and 2pm for one final hurrah.

Zoom to set up R&D centre in S’pore, hire hundreds
Zoom Video Communications, the company behind the now-ubiquitous videoconferencing platform Zoom, is expanding its footprint in Singapore by opening a new research and development (R&D) centre and doubling the size of its data centre here.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Strengthening the pillars of Singapore’s global media hub
Singapore has set its sights on becoming a global media hub, leveraging on its other strengths as a telecommunications hub and a cultural crossroads between East and West. We have already seen some success, having attracted a few of the world’s best-known media companies to the Republic, with tremendous benefits to the local creative media ecosystem as well.

Vaccines a shot of hope to all for 2021, but recovery will vary
The Covid-19 vaccine breakthroughs – the first piece of good news the world has received in the fight against the pandemic – herald hope that 2021 will be a better year. Stock markets have already started celebrating, with investors optimistic that most of the world’s major economies are on course to recover to pre-crisis levels of economic activity from the middle to late of next year.

Vaccines for a safer post-Covid-19 S’pore
Singaporeans will be relieved and reassured in equal measure by the announcement that free Covid-19 vaccinations will be offered to all Singaporeans and long-term residents who are currently here. A whole-of-government effort, carried out painstakingly behind the scenes since the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, has borne fruit in getting Singapore early access to vaccines.

Public service for a new era
Recovering from the social and economic impact of Covid-19 and the careful reopening of the economy have been priorities for governments across the globe. Here in Singapore, to reduce the risk of disease transmission, businesses allowed to resume operations must use the SafeEntry system to record individuals who enter and exit public places.

Global tech giants’ moves in Singapore a boon to talent ecosystem
Singapore’s continued ability to attract foreign tech giants to set up here – even amid the pandemic – bodes well for the local tech ecosystem, industry observers told The Business Times. However, development of the local tech talent ecosystem will need to keep pace with the entry of these players to maximise benefits, they said. This goes beyond just engineering, to developing skilled talent in fields such as public policy and legal functions.

Online retailer Wish prices its IPO at the top end of a marketed range
Online retailer Wish has priced its initial public offering at the top end of a marketed range, raising US$1.1 billion and further elevating the year’s already record tally for US listings. Wish’s parent company, San Francisco-based ContextLogic Inc, sold 46 million shares on Tuesday for US$24 each, according to a statement.


Singapore Budget 2021

More Covid-19 support for businesses on Budget wish list
Unusual times call for unusual tax measures, judging from proposals for the national Budget put out by the private sector on Wednesday. Ahead of the next Budget that will be delivered in February, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and professional services firm PwC Singapore have separately called for the government to extend or enhance Covid-19 business support introduced earlier this year.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

12 new imported cases include 2 S’poreans
Two Singaporeans were among the 12 new coronavirus cases announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) last night. The Singaporeans are a 39-year-old man who returned from Indonesia and a 50-year-old woman who arrived from Australia.

Caution thrown to the wind at big illegal parties at Golden Mile
Most people in Singapore have been disciplined in the fight against Covid-19 by observing safe distancing measures and adapting to changes amid the new normal. But an underground activity appears to have taken root in some places, with safe distancing ignored and caution thrown to the wind.

Verify SingPass identity with face scan, OTP to another trusted user
Residents are now able to verify their SingPass account identity by scanning their faces using computers and camera phones, or by inputting a one-time password sent to another trusted SingPass user. These two features were made available to all SingPass users accessing government digital services from yesterday.

Obsession with Covid-19 news linked to higher risk of anxiety
Constantly checking for news about the Covid-19 pandemic takes a toll on mental health, a Singapore study of more than 1,100 participants has shown. People who spent more time checking the news – for example, more than two hours a day – at the peak of the pandemic in Singapore were at a higher risk of feeling depressed, anxious and stressed.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Britain plans to rival S’pore with ship registry revamp: Sources

Empty hotels find new life as governments house the homeless

Modular construction meets changing needs in pandemic

Oslo tests greener ‘zero-emissions’ building sites

ECB lifts ban on bank dividends, capping payout at 15 per cent of profit

British PM urges caution but keeps looser Christmas rules

Australia ups ante in China trade row with WTO challenge on barley tariffs

Ant conducting ‘self-review’ after US$35b IPO collapses

Strong virus response helps Vietnam’s economy weather pandemic

Japan’s exports fall on weaker US, China demand

Experts urge caution as Malaysia eyes travel bubbles

Record climate disasters in Asia-Pacific this year, says Red Cross

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