GDP growth in 2017 may exceed 2%: PM Lee
Singapore’s economy expanded by a better-than-expected 2 per cent in 2016, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks there’s a “good chance” that growth this year can exceed that figure. If realised, this would put the 2017 GDP figure at the higher end of the government’s official forecast of between one and 3 per cent. Sounding an upbeat tone at the May Day rally on Monday, he noted that global growth is looking up and this makes him “cautiously optimistic” about the Singapore economy this year.
Swee Keat named chairman of Future Economy Council
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has been named the new chairman of a national tripartite council to drive Singapore’s ongoing efforts to boost skills and innovation. He takes over from Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, with the group – formerly known as the Council for Skills, Innovation and Productivity (CSIP) – renamed the Future Economy Council.
Unemployment could rise further, Swee Say warns
The Singapore economy is in transition, and the challenges ahead are “no less daunting” than those the country faced in the downturns of the last 20 years, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Friday. His annual May Day Message painted a sobering but realistic picture, as he noted that the transition this time is less cyclical but more structural in nature.
Apple Pay marks first year in S’pore as mobile payments gain traction
As Apple Pay marked its first anniversary in Singapore in April, observers said that mobile payments have in the last year gained significant traction here, with the real power of mobile wallets now going beyond just payments. They are rich customer engagement platforms. Forrester analyst Ng Zhi Ying told The Business Times that Apple Pay’s launch had triggered the other mobile payment providers Samsung Pay and Android Pay to rapidly roll out such services in Singapore in 2016 – offering consumers here a plethora of mobile payment choices.
Bank loans up 6.3% last month
Singapore bank loans rose 6.3 per cent last month from a year earlier, on the back of stronger lending to businesses, especially firms in the business service, general commerce and logistics sectors, central bank data showed yesterday. The level of bank lending – both to businesses and consumers – is generally regarded as an important indicator of economic activity.
Singapore Real Estate
Further re-rating of property counters on the cards
Shares of Singapore developers have surged this year on the back of a recovery in residential transactions, which is seen as a prelude to a bottoming out of property prices. Though the run-up has made the shares more susceptible to short-term pull-backs, most analysts see further re-rating for these counters should the property market recovery be sustained.
Q1 private housing data points to a bottoming out
A slower pace of decline in private residential prices in the first quarter continues to affirm the view that a bottoming out is under way – a view reinforced by volumes hitting the highest in 15 quarters and prices of non-landed properties staying flat during the quarter. Though the private housing market extended its longest losing streak since Q1 2004, the 0.4 per cent drop in private home prices was the smallest dip in the past 14 quarters.
Central Region office, retail rents slide even faster in Q1
Both office and retail rents retreated at a steeper pace in the first quarter of this year amid rising vacancies, according to latest official statistics. However, the general view is that the office market will probably start to turn around earlier than retail, which faces deep-rooted structural changes in its operating environment.
Losses in ‘at least half of Sentosa Cove home sales’
They may boast Singapore’s most prestigious address, but Sentosa Cove properties are far from the guaranteed money spinners their wealthy owners may imagine. Of the 30 Sentosa Cove transactions in the past 12 months, many recorded losses, according to data from Knight Frank. Of the total, 16 suffered losses when they were sold, and 11 notched profits.
Pasir Ris remake to add 2,000 new flats, boost access to town’s coastal charms
From 2,000 new flats that will help keep multi-generational families close, to an elevated “highway” linking the MRT station to a waterfront park, Pasir Ris’ coastal charms will become more accessible to more people. More dining and shopping options are also on the cards, in the form of a new mixed-use development that the Housing Board wants to build next to Pasir Ris MRT station. These are some of the plans for Pasir Ris announced yesterday by the HDB, as part of the town’s rejuvenation.
130 units at Redhill’s Artra sold over the weekend
Some 130 units in Artra, a 400-unit condo next to Redhill MRT station, were sold over the weekend. The average price was S$1,700 per square foot. Launched on April 29 with 200 units released, the 44-storey development was notable for its larger-sized units. Apartments sold over the weekend comprised two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.
Developer of Mon Jervois pays $14.8m in ABSD penalty
The developer of Mon Jervois near River Valley Road coughed up $14.8 million in additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) in February for not meeting a regulatory sale deadline. This was disclosed yesterday by United Industrial Corp (UIC), which posted near-flat earnings of $59.8 million for the first quarter.
Austville residents seeking compensation for alleged defects
Unhappy home owners at the Austville Residences executive condominium (EC) in Sengkang have entered into mediation with the developer and the main contractor over alleged defects and missing amenities. The Straits Times understands that the mediation – in which proceedings have been kept confidential – took place last month.
More open spaces with sea views at East Coast Park
Work will start in the middle of this year to redevelop Raintree Cove, formerly a recreational site at East Coast Park where the popular Long Beach Main Seafood Restaurant was located. In response to TODAY’s queries last week, Mr Chia Seng Jiang, the National Parks Board’s group director of parks, said that the plan is to create open spaces with “vistas of the sea”, improve amenities, as well as raise connectivity within the park. The statutory board took over the site at the end of March.
Bike-sharing deal inked for Jurong
Jurong-Clementi Town Council has tied up with the three bicycle-sharing companies in a one-year pilot that could be expanded to other parts of Singapore, if successful. The town council sealed a deal yesterday with representatives of Mobike, ofo and oBike, which will supply the authorities with users’ cycling patterns, to improve the planning of future cycling paths.
CCT divests One George Street for S$1.18b into limited liability partnership
CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) has sold One George Street for S$1.18 billion into a limited liability partnership, which it will own 50 per cent of. CCT will hold 50 per cent of One George Street LLP (OGS LLP) with joint venture partner, OGS (II) Limited, a special purpose vehicle owned by insurer FWD Group. The joint venture partner will hold the remaining 50 per cent.
Manulife US Reit posts 1.65 US cent Q1 DPU; gross revenue below projection
Office landlord Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust’s (Reit) fiscal first-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) came in at 1.65 US cents, up from a projected 1.52 US cents, it said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Tuesday morning.
Sabana unitholders vote to keep underperforming manager
Sabana Reit unitholders on Friday voted overwhelmingly against removing its underperforming Reit manager and winding up the Reit vehicle. At the extraordinary general meeting (EGM), the questions they raised over a nearly-two-hour period ranged from polite queries to aggressive accusations. The gripes were mainly about the premium prices that the manager has been paying for its assets, its poor-quality acquisitions that haven’t been able to maintain their occupancy levels and rentals after the master leases expired, as well as the trust manager’s seeming lack of remorse and constant attribution of the root problem to the economy and industrial property market.
More stapled securities lead to lower DPS for Frasers Hospitality Trust in Q2
An increase in the number of stapled securities following a rights issue led to a lower distribution per stapled security (DPS) for Frasers Hospitality Trust (FHT) in its second financial quarter. For the three months ended March 31, 2017, the restated DPS came in at 1.2063 Singapore cents, 4.2 per cent lower than in the corresponding quarter a year ago, said the global hotel and serviced residence trust on Friday.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Issues persist despite upturn
The world economy seems finally to be taking a turn for the better after years of languishing in a slump. While this is good news for trade-dependent Singapore, it might not immediately translate into stronger growth or more job creation across all sectors. This is because the dip in the global economic cycle only partly accounted for tepid growth rates in many sectors here. Deeper structural issues – which are tougher to resolve and will take a longer time to work through – have also had a role to play.
The science behind investing in property
Property has become a big part of Mr Quek Fu Jin’s life. The 36-year-old has just one property to his name but seven years at Zacd Investments, a regional investment strategy firm with a real estate focus, gave him a front-row seat on property investing. He has other property investments, including commercial and industrial real estate investment trusts (Reits), in his portfolio.
Zero falls at worksites and how to get there
Imagine putting together 46,000 workers to work on a massive construction job over five years. There are bound to be injuries and, perhaps, even a number of fatalities. Actually, there were none. This remarkable feat was achieved in the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics when in building the stadiums, tracks, an aquatics centre and a games village, not a single workplace fatality occurred. The statistics generated by that Olympian feat were worthy of a medal itself.
Change the shops, not the street, to save Orchard Road
Last Sunday, I took my toddler out for lunch somewhere I knew would be relatively spared from the usual weekend throngs: Orchard Road. Sure enough, we enjoyed a leisurely, crowd-free day without having to queue for carpark spaces or restaurants. But what was a pleasant experience for us is an increasingly worrying one for Singapore’s main retail belt.
Merits of having Soho blocks in HDB estates
It is about time that we changed our mindset about Housing Board flats (HDB flats meant for living in, by Mr Francis Cheng; April 28). Just because our flats are subsidised does not mean we cannot do anything else other than live in them.
Global Economy & Global Real Estate
Positive outlook for global growth, investments
Fed’s low-and-slow strategy may be tested by pickup in business spending
Consumer spending stalls in March for second month
‘Green cards for cash’ facing questionable future
Say goodbye to the upholstery guy
Homes in posh Hamptons back in vogue – as long as they’re not mansions
UK needs more small housebuilders to fix ‘broken’ market: report
Britain gets out the broom to clean up dirty money in London property
China’s April manufacturing PMI at six-month low
China’s Markets and Economy Are Going in Different Directions
China Vanke’s Q1 profit down 16.5%; sees growth for full year
Airbnb’s China rival Tujia seeks US$300m
HK home prices hit record high for fifth straight month
World’s most indebted developer in another fight
Australia’s Red Hot Housing Market Shows First Signs of Slowing
Tech billionaire Farquhar buys Sydney mansion for record price
Australia home prices stall in April
Canada’s Home Capital secures US$2b credit line
Bangkok malls ratchet up the tempo to lure shoppers
A sliver of the past, lodged in the present
Vacant apartments held for ransom in Spain
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