S’pore would have done well if it grows 2-3% a year for next decade
The Singapore economy is on a “steady path” and stable, and the government is monitoring the growth numbers “very closely”, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a dialogue on Friday night. “I wouldn’t say we are anxious, but we are watching to see where (the economy) goes. Last year, it was 1.8 per cent growth – a bit less than what we hoped for, but more than we had expected. “This year, we hope that momentum will improve and there is some chance of that,” he told an audience of nearly 400 guests at The Arts House. The occasion was the seventh and final instalment of the “Pioneering The Future” dialogue series, organised by the EDB Society – an association of former and current Economic Development Board officers – and The Straits Times.
Better economy likely to boost Q4 corporate profits: analysts
An improvement in the local economy and a rally in global commodity prices in the final three months of last year are likely to have lifted fourth-quarter corporate profits this round from a low base in the previous year, analysts say, adding that the first half of this year may see earnings bottom out and start to turn upwards. But they warned that the lift might be cosmetic and that underlying fundamentals were still in convalescence. Banks and plantation companies are likely to have done a little better in Q4 while the offshore and marine industry and telcos may continue to disappoint, analysts said.
S’pore, HK are finance, fintech partners, not rivals: analysts
Hong Kong and Singapore are often pitted against each other as rival international finance and fintech hubs, but analysts say the two cities should be seen as partners – a view fintech companies seem to support too. After a successful launch in Singapore last April, fintech startup Bambu, which specialises in financial robo-advisory, looked to Hong Kong as it sought to expand its reach. It opened its first overseas office there earlier this month and joined a local fintech accelerator, SuperCharger.
Chinese visitors to S’pore up by 36%
China is on track to becoming Singapore’s top tourist market, latest figures from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) show. Arrivals from China jumped 36 per cent to some 2.64 million visitors from January to November last year, compared with the same period in 2015. In the second place is Indonesia, which has traditionally been Singapore’s top market for visitors. The number of visitors from Indonesia reached 2.56 million in the first 11 months of last year, up 6 per cent compared with the same period the year before.
Strict rules in place for import of sand: Government
Singapore has denied accusations that it illegally imported sand from Cambodia, saying “strict controls” are in place to ensure contractors source sand legally and in line with local environmental rules. The Ministry of National Development (MND) said the Government does not condone the smuggling of sand or the use of forged export permits – accusations levelled at it by Cambodian environmentalists. “
Singapore Real Estate
Buyers home in on condos launched in 2015 and earlier
Oldies can be goodies too, as homebuyers showed by snapping up units at projects launched before last year. A check with developers found that those which enjoyed buoyant sales last year – Hong Leong Group, MCL Land, Qingjian and MCC Land, for example – got a sizeable boost from selling apartments released in 2015 and earlier. Hong Leong sold 1,140 units last year for a total value of about $1.45 billion. Earlier projects, such as Commonwealth Towers in Commonwealth Avenue and Coco Palms in Pasir Ris, which were both launched in 2014, accounted for 715 of the units sold.
Developers race to beat ABSD deadline
Faced with nearly S$700 million in potential charges for unsold private residential properties this year, developers in Singapore are ramping up efforts to offload the units before the additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD) hits, offering discounts and deferred payment schemes to prospective buyers and, increasingly, the bulk sales of unsold units. About 1,300 units remain unsold in 20 developments that will be affected by the ABSD remission clawback this year, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and a Deutsche Bank report. Developers of these projects could face about S$697.6 million in ABSD charges, the Deutsche Bank report showed.
The Big Read: At some suburban malls, retailers confront the sound of silence
It is an increasingly common sight these days in the heartlands: Spanking new mixed-use developments with rows and rows of empty shop spaces plastered with posters and banners screaming “For Rent” or “For Sale”. From Kensington Square along Upper Paya Lebar Road and Novena Regency to The Midtown @ Hougang and MacPherson Mall, to name a few, the retail slump — which first hit the prime shopping districts several months ago — is starting to bite suburban retailers, and the impact on strata-titled malls in housing estates is stark. At the real estate investment trust (Reit)-owned malls such as Jurong Point, Nex in Serangoon, Northpoint in Yishun and AMK Hub, landlords are pulling out all the stops through promotions and loyalty programmes to stave off the chill.
Empty bungalows: Grand old dames worth millions left in the cold
Last July, two stately bungalows which had fallen into disuse after housing the defunct Grand Hotel in Marine Parade for decades were converted into pre-schools following a $5 million makeover. Earlier this month, The Sunday Times visited three abandoned abodes which have intrigued their neighbours, urban explorer groups, and heritage experts such as siblings Charles and Raymond Goh.
CIT to divest Ubi property for S$22.1m
Cambridge Industrial Trust (CIT) announced on Monday that it has entered into an agreement with RBC Investor Services Trust Singapore Limited for the proposed sale of the remaining leasehold interest in a property located at Ubi for S$22.1 million, excluding divestment costs and application goods and services tax. The five-storey light property, located at 55 Ubi Avenue 3, has a gross floor area of about 141,135 square feet with a remaining land tenure of approximately 39 years.
CMT’s rental reversion keeps sliding
The latest report card of CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT), Singapore’s oldest real estate investment trust (Reit), reflects the challenging retail market conditions. That said, the trust managed to maintain fourth-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) at 2.88 Singapore cents. DPU for FY2016 slipped 1.1 per cent to 11.13 Singapore cents. On a comparable mall basis, CMT’s gross revenue inched up just 0.4 per cent while net property income was flat in FY2016 over the preceding year.
Lian Beng-led consortium in S$207m deal to sell 79,500 sq ft space at Prudential Tower
A consortium led by Lian Beng Group is selling 17 strata office units at Prudential Tower for S$206.59 million. This works out to S$2,600 per square foot based on the strata area of 79,459 sq ft. Prudential Tower is on a site with a balance lease term of 78 years. The buyer is understood to be a separate account managed by One Tree Partners, a relatively new private equity fund management outfit set up by Tan Shern Liang and Roy Tan. Lian Beng owns 32 per cent of Epic Land Pte Ltd, the consortium that is selling the asset. The other consortium members are KSH Holdings (28 per cent), KOP Limited (25 per cent) and Centurion Global (15 per cent).
Boustead, SWF to co-invest S$250m in new industrial facilities here
Boustead Development Partnership, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Singapore-listed developer Boustead Projects, has agreed to commit S$250 million in equity to be invested into the development and re-development of new industrial facilities in Singapore. Once fully invested and leveraged, the investment portfolio will be worth in excess of S$800 million, said UBS Asset Management in a press statement.
Dasin Retail Trust debuts above IPO price
Shares of Dasin Retail Trust went up slightly above its initial public offering (IPO) price of 80 Singapore cents on its first day of trading on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) main board on Friday. At 2pm, shares opened at 80.5 Singapore cents on Friday, and share price remained steady throughout, remaining within the band of 80 cent at its lowest and 81 cent at its highest. The business trust, which holds three shopping malls in Guangdong province, is the first mainboard listing on SGX this year.
FCT posts 0.7% rise in DPU for 1st quarter (Amended)
Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) reported a 0.7 per cent rise in distribution per unit (DPU) to 2.89 Singapore cents for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec 31, 2016, thanks to a higher proportion of management fees payable in units. Gross revenue for the quarter slipped 6.4 per cent to S$44.08 million, mainly due to lower contribution from Northpoint which is undergoing renovation works. Net property income slipped 5.7 per cent to S$31.64 million as the drop from Northpoint, Changi City Point, and Anchorpoint outweighed the increase from Causeway Point, Bedok Point and YewTee Point.
GuocoLand reports 46% rise in Q2 earnings
Developer GuocoLand has posted a 46 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings despite lower revenue. Net profit for the three months to Dec 31 came in at $57.1 million – well up on the $39 million recorded in the same period a year earlier. Revenue slipped 3 per cent to $232 million, while gross profit shrank 22 per cent to $47.4 million. This was due to “the different sales mix in the two periods of review”, mainboard-listed GuocoLand said in a statement yesterday.
CDL invests $15m in Chinese firm Distrii
City Developments (CDL) said that it has signed an agreement to invest 72 million yuan (S$14.9 million) for a 24 per cent stake in Distrii, an operator of co-working spaces in China. Marking its first international foray, Distrii will lease more than 60,000 sq ft of space at CDL’s Republic Plaza Tower 1, a prime Grade A office building connected to the Raffles Place MRT station. Expected to be one of the largest co-working facilities in Singapore, it will integrate food and beverage, entertainment, recreational and office facilities, said CDL.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Public housing not a certainty for Bayshore precinct
The information in the report, “East Coast may offer 6,000 new HDB flats” (Jan 19), was gleaned from a tender document for a study on possible new housing typologies for the Bayshore precinct. Such studies are part and parcel of our routine long-term planning work and are not necessarily indicative of eventual developments. As the report may inadvertently give rise to expectations that public housing will be developed in this precinct as an outcome of this study, we would like to clarify that this is not a certainty.
Latest move to lift service levels
In a high-density city like Singapore, lifts provide an essential service. Residents and workers depend on them to get about their daily lives. The ubiquitous lift, like a hygiene item, is often taken for granted until it fails. The recent spate of failures in lifts in public housing estates has drawn much attention. The decision by the Housing Board (HDB) to ban one lift contractor, Sigma Elevator, from tendering for new HDB projects since October 2015 is thus commendable. This action followed the board’s analysis of lift breakdowns.
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