Singdollar up on Fed decision but rally tempered ahead of MAS meeting
The Singapore dollar (SGD) rose on Thursday in line with other currencies after the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged but the local unit’s rally was weighed down as the market wondered what the Monetary Authority of Singapore might do next month. The SGD rose to S$1.3528 at 3.36 pm from S$1.36 on Wednesday, returning to levels seen two weeks ago. “The SGD is not strengthening so much due to concerns over what the MAS might do,” said Leslie Tang, Maybank FX research senior FX analyst. With the Fed keeping a hold on a rate hike and its next meeting in November more than a month away, the odds of an easing by MAS at its October monetary policy meeting are keeping the strong SGD from rising further, he said.
SMEs ‘barely keeping their heads above water’
There seems to be no respite for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here as they brace themselves for another challenging six months ahead. SME business sentiment fell by 3.3 per cent to 50.2 this quarter – just above the lowest score of 50 recorded only two quarters ago, according to the latest SBF-DP SME Index. The survey – a joint initiative by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and DP Information Group – measured SME business sentiment for the next six months, consisting of Q4 2016 and Q1 2017. The pessimistic outlook by SMEs is a continuation of the downward trend seen right before the slight uptick in the last quarter, before which there were seven consecutive quarters of decline.
Earning trust a big challenge for fintech start-ups
Earning customers’ trust is an uphill task for financial technology (fintech) start-ups, due to their lack of track record and brand history, which is why it is important to join with established institutions to get a leg up in the industry. That was the observation made by speakers on a panel discussing the impact of disruptive technology on the finance industry. They were speaking yesterday at the Fintech 2020 Singapore conference hosted by banking and payments technology provider FIS.
Young S’pore consumers value reliability, trust
The weak economy may be a key reason why shops in Singapore are empty of customers. Long-term factors may also be at work, according to a study by HSBC Bank. These are driven by changing demographics and consumer behaviour, says the bank’s report, Future of Consumer Demand. And while the changes will present new opportunities to nimble retailers, they threaten many established operators still stuck in old ways of selling, according to the report. The latter would have to rethink their marketing strategies. Based on a global survey of 90,000 consumers, including 500 in Singapore, one of the key findings in the report is that, more than most other markets, reliability and trust come first for consumers here – especially the younger ones – when choosing a brand.
Singapore Real Estate
Punggol-like potential seen in Tengah town
Earlier this month, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced its masterplan for Tengah, the 24th HDB town in Singapore. Presently, Tengah is a forested area with barely any semblance to a residential estate but HDB has extensive plans for the new town. Tengah, roughly the size of Bishan, is expected to provide 42,000 homes, of which about 30,000 units will be public housing and 12,000 will be private residences. It will be the first HDB town to incorporate smart technologies on a town-wide basis from the planning stage.
Zhou family from Shanghai buys 60% of 139 Cecil Street
The Zhou family from Shanghai who picked up an office block at 137 Cecil Street last year has bought a 60 per cent stake in the company that owns the next-door property at 139 Cecil Street. The latest deal is said to value the 11-storey property at S$140 million. It is on a site with 99-year leasehold tenure starting Aug 20, 1981, which means the balance lease is around 64 years. Written permission was granted last year by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for a major refurbishment exercise to build additional floors, extending the block to 16 storeys.
Need to boost airport infrastructure in Asia: Iata
The airport and air traffic control infrastructure in Asia needs to be ramped up to keep pace with passenger growth, as new airlines cash in on the burgeoning demand for air travel in the region, said the director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), Mr Alexandre de Juniac, yesterday. “It is a key concern as the regional airport and air traffic control infrastructure has not grown along with the passenger traffic growth. We have been urging the governments to take note and build accordingly,” Mr De Juniac told reporters at the Iata World Financial Symposium in Singapore.
A dream of greener buildings, better cities
As a boy Mr Tai Lee Siang would spend much of his playtime getting lost in the wonders of creation as he stacked wooden blocks to build his architectural dreams. It was the ability to translate his imagination into something tangible that he found fascinating. “There was also that element of surprise. When you stack wooden blocks together, you get an end-product that looks different each time,” said the 52-year-old. His passion in construction has guided his life so far: he has been an architect and urban planner since 1990, after graduating with an architecture degree from the National University of Singapore in 1987.
CapitaLand buys prime site in Ho Chi Minh City for US$51.9m
Singapore developer CapitaLand has acquired a prime site in Ho Chi Minh City for US$51.9 million. The 0.5-hectare site, acquired through its wholly owned subsidiary CapitaLand (Vietnam) Holdings, can potentially offer 302 units across two towers – a 17-storey residential tower and a 22-storey serviced residence tower. The serviced residence will be managed by CapitaLand’s serviced residence arm The Ascott Limited under its Somerset brand.
MCC’s Tampines condo likely to be priced at S$900-1,200 psf
Singapore-based Chinese developer MCC Land is opening its showflat for 626-unit The Alps Residences this Saturday, with sources saying that the 99-year leasehold condominium project in Tampines will be priced in the range of S$900-1,200 per square foot (psf). It is also marketing the upcoming launch of Queens Peak at Dundee Road for HY Realty. This 736-unit project near Queenstown station is likely to begin sales next month. The two projects have a significantly higher number of units than the originally estimated 490 units and 645 units respectively.
Lum Chang unit in JV to acquire Serangoon shopping mall
Lum Chang Holdings, a mainboard-listed construction firm, said on Thursday that its subsidiary Tucana Investments has partnered LAO V Serangoon to form a joint venture (JV) in Dorado Holdings. The JV is for the proposed acquisition of Corwin Holding, whose principal asset is Chill @ The Verge, an eight-level shopping mall located at Serangoon, for S$189.75 million.
Straits Trading unit in talks to sell office building in Melbourne
The Straits Trading Company said its subsidiary Straits Real Estate (SRE) has been in talks with potential buyers for the sale of the office building located in central Melbourne. The discussions may or may not lead to the sale of the building, it said in an announcement to the Singapore Exchange on Thursday. “There is no certainty whatsoever that these discussions will result in any definitive agreement or transaction.”
Oasia expansion part of Far East Hospitality’s plan
Far East Hospitality is looking to expand its Oasia brand as part of its diversification strategy. The brand, which is centred on the theme of wellness and health, has grown rapidly this year, with the opening of Oasia Suites in Kuala Lumpur and Oasia Hotel Downtown in Tanjong Pagar in April. That added about 588 rooms to its growing portfolio, with Oasia Residence – a 140-room serviced apartment block – opening next month in West Coast Crescent, off West Coast Road.
Views, Reviews & Forum
One impact of HDB cooling measures is cut in consumer spending
Recent changes to the rules on mortgage refinancing by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) do not mean a relaxation of property cooling efforts, officials have said. Cooling measures were first introduced six years ago to rein in soaring residential property prices to a more sustainable level. Among the aims was curbing the appeal of speculative resale of HDB (Housing & Development Board) properties.
Global Economy & Global Real Estate
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Indonesia cuts interest rate as Fed stays put
Additional Articles of Interest – Local & Overseas Real Estate
Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article