Chongqing project significant for China-Singapore relations: PM Lee
The southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing is an “ideal place” for Singapore’s third government-to-government project with China, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday. He was in the busy metropolis over the weekend as part of his four-day visit to China. This was his first trip to the city since the launch of the project – the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI) – last November.
Factory activity in S’pore shrinks for 14th month
The beleaguered manufacturing sector contracted for the 14th straight month in August as the global outlook remained weak. The pace of contraction was slower than in July, but economists warned against over-optimism, given that factories across the region remain mired in a slump. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – an early indicator of manufacturing activity – came in at 49.8 last month, up slightly from the 49.3 reading in July. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
MAS seeks more protection for wealthier investors
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) intends to introduce legislative amendments aimed at boosting safeguards for wealthier investors for a first parliamentary reading by the fourth quarter.
If passed by lawmakers, the central bank will aim to implement the changes to the so-called “accredited investor (AI)” regime next year, the MAS said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News yesterday. The timetable is in line with the central bank’s statement almost a year ago, when it said it would submit the proposals in 2016.
Restaurants’ takings suffer amid slowing economy
Restaurants here are taking a serious beating amid the slowing economy, with sales in the first half of 2016 dropping almost every month, year on year. The biggest fall was in March, when restaurant takings declined 9.8 per cent compared with March last year, according to figures from the Department of Statistics. On the flipside, sales at foodcourts, cafes and canteens have been on the upswing. Takings have increased by 0.2 to 7 per cent year on year in the first six months of 2016.
Singapore Real Estate
Marina One gains from ‘flight to efficiency’
Pre-commitment leases and rents for upcoming prime offices are picking up as occupiers are warming to these upcoming swanky buildings with large floor plates in a “flight to efficiency”. Swiss private bank Julius Baer has signed a lease at close to double-digit rent for a “high density floor” spanning 100,000 square feet at Marina One. Julius Baer is slated to give up its 72,000 sq ft of space spread over two floors at Asia Square Tower 1 when it moves into Marina One, which will be completed next year.
Brazil govt keen to work with Keppel, Sembcorp on challenges
The Brazilian government is looking to start discussions with Singapore’s Keppel Corp and Sembcorp Marine to find a solution to challenges they face there, a visiting Brazilian official said yesterday. Both firms have been linked to a corruption scandal involving state-owned oil giant Petrobras. Their key customer Sete Brasil, whose only client is Petrobras, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
‘Good pipeline’ of public projects for contractors
Times are tough for the construction sector, but a “good pipeline of public sector projects” will help firms ride through the slowdown, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong last night at the Singapore Contractors Association Limited’s (Scal) annual dinner. Mr Wong, who is also Second Minister for Finance, noted that there were $11 billion worth of public sector projects in the first half of this year – about 42 per cent more compared with the same period last year. And public sector building demand is expected to stay firm in the coming years, with more projects in housing and neighbourhood upgrading, MRT and transport infrastructure, and utilities, he added.
PM to visit Raffles City Chongqing site today
A 24 billion yuan (S$4.9 billion) project by one of Singapore’s largest real estate developers is set to be completed by 2019 in fast-growing Chongqing, primed as a gateway to China’s vast western region. CapitaLand president and group chief executive Lim Ming Yan said on Thursday that his company’s project is on track and has kept within budget. The first residential units will be put on the market by the end of this year, and the property giant is also gearing up for pre-leasing of mall spaces next year, and office spaces in 2018. Mr Lim said: “With the strategic location and Chongqing’s market size, we believe there will be a lot of interest.”
Oxley to develop medical hub in Chongqing
Singapore property developer Oxley Holdings has signed a major deal to develop an integrated medical hub in the south-western Chinese city of Chongqing to the tune of 5 billion yuan (S$1 billion). Called Lijia Health City, the mixed-use development will sit on a 533,000 sq m plot in the Lijia central business district of the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area. It will feature a general hospital, specialist centres, high-end residences, hotels, service apartments, nursing homes, a medical research centre and other facilities.
Keppel FELS signs heads of agreement to define Russian anchor projects
Keppel FELS has signed a heads of agreement (HOA) with Rosneft and MHWirth to define the anchor projects to be pursued by the tripartite joint-venture company (JVCo), Zvezda-Keppel Design and Engineering Center. A Keppel spokesman confirmed the signing of the agreement to The Business Times following a press release issued by Rosneft on Thursday. The spokesman qualified, however, that “discussions on potential projects are still at a preliminary stage and we are unable to disclose further details at this time”.
Yanlord to redevelop land in Zhongshan through acquisition
Yanlord Land Group has entered a strategic alliance with a subsidiary of state-owned China Resources Land Ltd for primary land development in Zhongshan, Guangdong. This was achieved through a 64 million yuan (S$13 million) acquisition of shares by its wholly owned subsidiary, Nanjing Ren-yuan Investment, of Zhongshan Renyuan Investment (ZRI). Through the acquisition, Yanlord will obtain varying interests in a group of entities that includes a strategic 35 per cent interest in Zhongshan China Resources Land Property Development Co.
Park Hotel Group makes foray into South Korea
The Park Hotel Group has inked a management contract with the Seoul-based K2 Group to operate the Park Hotel Yeongdeungpo, which will be its first hotel in South Korea. The 150-room hotel, located in Seoul, is slated to open its doors early next year. Allen Law, chief executive of Park Hotel Group, highlighted that this move comes as inbound tourism in South Korea enjoyed double digit year-on-year growth in the first half of 2016.
Views, Reviews & Forum
‘Recession-proof’ stocks soar but doubts persist
What makes a stock “recession proof”? It depends on who you ask. Some analysts might say consumer staples, telcos and transport companies qualify because food, communication and daily travel will always be needed no matter what the state of the economy is, others may say Reits because of their dividend yields. Yet other analysts may point to gold-linked companies or healthcare firms, while there also are those who say no sector can be considered completely recession-proof. Notwithstanding the differing views and despite the weak economy, the market has been rewarding some “recession proof” counters this year – the question being for how much longer.
Total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) tweaks help two groups
The move to fine-tune the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) is clearly not a relaxation of cooling measures but is best seen as a step to avert hardship during an economic slowdown. The amended refinancing framework announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday will protect both banks and home owners, experts note. Two groups of owners, in particular, can benefit.
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