Surprise 3.6% fall in Singapore’s July factory output
Singapore’s manufacturing output surprised by shrinking 3.6 per cent year on year in July – reversing four consecutive months of expansion, and disappointing the market’s hopes for a 0.8 per cent increase. The weak showing was due to broad-based contractions in all clusters save electronics, and prompted at least one bank (UOB) to more than halve its full-year industrial production growth forecast to one per cent. July’s dismal figure – the second sub-zero reading this year, after February – also prompted private-sector economists to warn of downside risks to Q3 GDP (gross domestic product) growth.
Business receipts for services industries up marginally in Q2
Business receipts for the services industry in Singapore edged up 0.4 per cent year-on- year in the second quarter but were up 1.1 per cent quarter-on- quarter. According to a release from the Department of Statistics on Friday, the performance was mixed as categories such as health and social services as well as education posted growth of 7.7 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. Receipts from information & communications services were up 1.4 per cent during the quarter. On the other hand, transport & storage as well as recreation & personal services chalked up declines of 2.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.
Singapore is losing export competitiveness: Credit Suisse
Singapore is losing export competitiveness in the region and this is due to rising costs, according to Credit Suisse economists. Their research also found that the Republic’s small, trade-dependent economy is losing market share in the global goods trade, which means export growth will likely remain weak in the coming years. Vietnam, the Philippines and China are winning the export race in Asia, according to the report by Credit Suisse head of South-east Asia and India economics and strategy Santitarn Sathirathai, economist Michael Wan and Mr Ray Farris, its head of Asia macro strategy.
STI down on wispy volume as market awaits Yellen
Singapore shares on Friday closed lower on weak volume ahead of a key speech to be delivered by US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen. The Straits Times Index (STI) also tracked Wall Street’s weaker performance overnight. The STI ended down 19.28 points at 2,857.65. Volume was wispy at 592 million units worth S$655 million, with losers exceeding gainers in the Singapore market at 224 to 134. The usual suspects dragged down the benchmark index, as investors took profit on Singapore banks from gains made through the week. DBS lost 17 Singapore cents to end at S$15.10; OCBC was down five Singapore cents to S$8.62; and UOB finished three Singapore cents lower at S$18.05. Investors also took some money off the table on Singtel shares, with the counter ending at S$4.22, down five Singapore cents, on Friday.
Changes to MAS board of directors: Lawrence Wong steps down, Ong Ye Kung appointed
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Monday (Aug 29) that Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, will be appointed to its board of directors with immediate effect. At the same time, Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development, will step down from the MAS board. Mr Ong’s term of appointment will run till May 31, 2019. Prior to his Cabinet appointments, he held the position of director of group strategy at Keppel Corporation, overseeing long term strategic planning of the Group’s activities. Before joining Keppel Corporation, he was the deputy secretary-general of National Trades Union Congress, overseeing the labour movement’s employment and employability programmes.
Singapore Real Estate
A green corridor waiting to be built
The Bukit Timah Canal, sandwiched between two major roads along a transportation axis that has existed since 1845, is an almost accidental oasis of water and greenery that soothes the senses of many a traveller along its tree-lined banks. When one considers its length of more than 7km as an open canal flanked by Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road from Jalan Anak Bukit to Newton, it is no wonder that representatives from nature groups here are seeing its potential for enhancing the urban environment.
Building stronger business ties
Singapore is Vietnam’s third largest foreign investor after Japan and Korea, with investments of US$38.16 billion (S$51.5 billion) as of July 2016 in over 1,660 projects. In the last three years, two-way trade between the nations has grown 11 per cent per year, reaching $21 billion in 2015. Singapore Companies have ventured to Vietnam, attracted by its sizeable market, rapid economic growth and burgeoning middle class. Vietnamese companies have likewise set up shop here, to capitalise on Singapore’s solid infrastructure and transparent legal system.
Oxley posts strong Q4 financial results
Developer Oxley Holdings has turned in sterling fourth-quarter financial results as its projects at home and in its eight overseas markets did well. Singapore-listed Oxley said net profit for the three months ended June 30 jumped 114 per cent to $73.8 million even though revenue slid 15 per cent to $165 million. One factor lifting the bottom line was that the cost of sales fell 20 per cent over the same period. Oxley’s executive chairman and chief executive, Mr Ching Chiat Kwong, said: “We made several breakthroughs and milestones in our overseas projects in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Cambodia… and, together with the contributions from the Singapore projects, Oxley has delivered another year of growth.”
Croesus Retail Trust Q4 DPU rises to 1.7 cents
Croesus Retail Trust’s distribution per unit (DPU) for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2016, rose to 1.7 Singapore cents, from 1.59 cents a year ago, as topline was bolstered by contributions from recent acquisitions. This was despite net profit falling 21.8 per cent to 4.43 billion yen (S$59.7 million), weighed down by fair-value adjustments. Fair-value gains on investment properties dropped 6.2 per cent to 5.65 billion yen while derivative financial instruments racked up a loss of 820.63 million yen compared to a gain of 233.67 million yen in the year prior.
Switching from medicine to business
A daring switch from medicine to business proved to be the right “surgery” for Andy Adhiwana. Back in 2011, he was on the verge of a successful career in medicine, following the footsteps of the Adhiwana family. As the first-born son of a famous cardiologist, he graduated with multiple medical degrees from the prestigious Heidelberg University in Germany.
Sticking to his vision
There’s a lot of fire in the belly of Su Chung Jye, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Regal International Group Limited. When asked for one piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs, he instantly replies: “Never give up.” This brave pragmatic stand has personified his character in the regional construction and property development business for more than two decades.
Views, Reviews & Forum
2009: Dealing with a crisis
The world spent much of 2009 dealing with the impact of the global financial crisis, and Singapore was no different. Residential property prices shot up in the immediate aftermath of the crisis as Singapore’s economy proved its resilience and interest rates fell to historic lows amid unprecedented central bank accommodation. Having hit a post-crisis low of 95.3 in the second quarter of 2009, the non-landed private residential property price index quickly rebounded to end the year at 118.4, close to pre-crisis levels.
Where the G-20 has failed
As China prepares to greet the Group of 20 leaders of the world’s biggest economies for their yearly summit next week, nothing has been left to chance. The G-20 agenda has been carefully scripted to include discussions on lofty ideals such as the promotion of an “innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy” as the Chinese hosts put it, rather than on boring little details such as the escalating territorial dispute and arms race in the South China Sea which, as Beijing sees it, is nobody’s business. Over 30 “action plans” for the world’s future will be adopted. And hundreds of factories around Hangzhou, the city which hosts the summit on Sept 4 and 5, will close for the occasion, in a bid to ensure that world guests see nothing but blue skies and red carpets.
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