The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 23rd June 2016

Top Story

S’pore includes yuan investments in foreign reserves
Renminbi (RMB) financial investments of Singapore’s central bank are now included as part of its official foreign reserves (OFR), underscoring the strong economic ties the Republic has with China.  The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Wednesday that its RMB-denominated financial investments are part of its OFR from this month.  The MAS, as the central bank of Singapore, manages Singapore’s OFR, and is invested in a diversified range of asset classes and currencies.

Singapore Economy

Lower levies for safety-trained construction workers
From October, lower levies will be payable for foreign construction workers trained in specific safety standards; these workers will also enjoy longer employment periods.  Instead of S$650, the levy payable for these workers will be S$300. Their maximum period of employment will be 22 years, up from 10. These changes are aimed at improving workplace safety and health (WSH) in the sector.

Asian companies more optimistic in second quarter: Thomson Reuters/Insead survey
Sentiment among Asia’s largest companies was at the highest in a year in the second quarter of this year, according to a survey.  It was helped by signs that China’s economy was slowly steadying, the Thomson Reuters/Insead Asian Business Sentiment Survey found.  Its business sentiment index, representing the six-month outlook of 139 firms, rose to 67 for April to June, versus 65 three months earlier.  This continues a rebound from a four-year low of 58 in December.  A reading over 50 indicates a positive view.

Hong Kong tops, Singapore 4th-most expensive city for expatriates: Survey
Hong Kong has overtaken Angola’s Luanda to be the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, while Singapore retained last year’s fourth place, according to Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey released on Wednesday (Jun 22).  Hong Kong’s ascent to the top was a consequence of Luanda’s drop to second in the ranking due to the weakening of its local currency, according to Mercer in its press release. Zurich remained third, while Tokyo makes up the top 5 after climbing six places from last year, it added.

Asia-Pacific banks facing powerful storm: Report
Slowing global growth, the emergence of innovative finance start-ups and more non-performing loans are combining to create a “powerful storm” for the Asia-Pacific banking industry, consulting firm McKinsey & Company has warned.  Over the past decade, banks in the region have grown to amass a profit pool that hit more than US$1 trillion (S$1.34 trillion) last year, the firm noted in its latest annual Asia-Pacific banking review.  However, this “golden decade” is ending and the financial industry should be prepared to face slower growth and greater challenges in generating profits, it added.

Singapore Real Estate

Property investment sales in Q2 come to S$6.9b
Investment sales of property – or big-ticket transactions of at least S$10 million – have hit a high note this quarter, with the figure touching S$6.94 billion as at June 21.  This is 2.88 times the S$2.4 billion in the first quarter of this year and the highest since the S$13.84 billion achieved in Q3 2013, according to Savills Singapore. The latest tally is also 16.4 per cent more than the S$5.96 billion in Q2 of last year

77 Robinson Road back on market – again
They say that the third time’s the charm. For 77 Robinson Road, formerly known as the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Building, that adage could yet ring true.  The 35-storey building – which has a net lettable area of some 293,269 sq ft – has been relaunched for sale at a guide price of about S$575 million, or S$1,960 per sq ft (psf), sole marketing agent CBRE said on Wednesday.  Situated on a site with a balance lease term of 77 years, the building has an occupancy rate of close to 90 per cent. The main tenants include Adidas, Dentsu, DVB Bank and Sojitz.

Hao Yuan’s Northwave EC likely to be priced at average S$760 psf
Hao Yuan Investment is expected to price its executive condominium (EC) project Northwave at an average S$760 per square foot (psf), according to sources.  This is the Chinese developer’s fourth residential project in Singapore since the launch of The Nautical in 2012 and its third EC project after Forestville and Sea Horizon.  The developer said on Wednesday that the e-application will open from this Saturday till July 7 and booking of the units is expected to begin on July 9.

Novena underpasses to be demolished
Two underpasses in the Novena area will be demolished to make way for construction work on the upcoming North-South Corridor, which is expected to begin next year.  One of the linkways connects the Velocity@Novena Square shopping mall and Revenue House, which houses government agencies such as the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Land Authority, while the other links Novena MRT station to Goldhill Centre in Thomson Road.  Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday that the two underpasses would be demolished.

Companies’ Brief

ARA bidding for 50% stake in Capital Square: sources
ARA Asset Management Ltd is bidding for a stake in Capital Square in Singapore’s central business district, according to people familiar with the matter.  Singapore-listed ARA is seeking the 50 per cent stake in the building that was put up for sale last year by Alpha Investment Partners, the investment arm of Keppel Land Ltd, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

World’s first Japan Rail Cafe coming to Singapore: GuocoLand
Guocoland on Wednesday announced that it will be bringing the world’s first Japan Rail Cafe to Singapore among a slew of new-to-market food-and-beverage (F&B) concepts that represent a 70 per cent take-up of retail space at Tanjong Pagar Centre.  The tourist-themed Japan Rail Cafe will be operated by Japan’s largest rail operator, East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and is set to open in the fourth quarter this year.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Companies need to act now against tax avoidance
The biggest evolution in tax is upon us – locally. Last week, Singapore announced that it would become a Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Associate and formally unite with other governments to implement a number of measures against tax avoidance.  Firstly, let’s dispel a couple of misconceptions. For one, BEPS is more than just tax; its impact can influence decisions around almost any non-tax aspect of the business. Secondly, BEPS is not just of concern to large multinationals in the Group of Twenty (G-20) or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries. It affects any company that has cross-border businesses and operations, regardless of size or country of origin.

Public parking rates set to rise after review
A government review of public parking rates is currently under way in a move that is set to raise prices at all public carparks, The Straits Times has learnt.  The Housing Development Board (HDB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) both confirmed yesterday that an islandwide review of both short-term and season parking schemes is in the works.  This comes just two months after the ministries of National Development and Transport said in Parliament that parking prices would go up, to bring Singapore’s rates in line with those of other global cities.

Technology blurring line between physical, digital worlds: panellist
The Internet of Things (IOT) and other new technologies are set to change how businesses and consumers interact, said a panel at the roundtable session of the 2016 Asia Business Series.  The roundtable is the first in the series of three events organised by Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI). The series ends with the 2016 Asia Business Summit to be held in October.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Britons to make most significant decision in voting lifetime

Yellen avoids being overly alarmist about probable global impact of Brexit

Europe divided on the way forward after Brexit vote

Brexit will not be a ‘Lehman moment’: UBS

Sterling and euro firm ahead of Brexit vote

Commonwealth citizens in Britain get to vote too

China slowdown casts long shadow over Hong Kong and Singapore

Pricey Swiss mortgages add to Brexit battering of Poland’s zloty

Brexit or not, markets will stay volatile due to political events

Sterling’s drop in value spells savings for some

GIC in talks to sell 2 Paris CBD buildings: sources

Starwood selling US malls it got from Westfield: sources

How to survive being an Airbnb host

Existing home sales hit 9-year high

Li Ka-shing calls for higher corporate taxes in Hong Kong

Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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