The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 6, 7 & 8 Jun 2020 (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

Govt aware of risk that rental help may prolong exit of unviable businesses: Shanmugam
The focus of extending more rental relief is more on supporting businesses that, even though viable, may go down because of the Covid-19 crisis, rather than on holding up unviable ones, said Law Minister K Shanmugam in Parliament on Friday, when the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill was passed.

More seem keen on mortgage refinancing as interest rates fall
More home owners may be considering refinancing their mortgages, as banks’ interest rates for floating home loans are at their lowest in recent years. Banks here have lowered their interest rates on loans that are pegged to the Singapore inter-bank offered rate (Sibor), giving home owners the opportunity to secure more favourable rates.

Construction tech startups eye big break in post-Covid-19 ‘new normal’
Construction technology has rarely caught the spotlight in South-east Asia’s startup boom, but entrepreneurs in this oft-neglected segment may finally get their chance to shine, as the Covid-19 pandemic forces the age-old industry to digitalise.

Secondment of construction workers to be reviewed
Original plans for the secondment of construction workers will be reviewed, following feedback from companies, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said in Parliament on Friday, during the debate on the Fortitude Budget.

Coronavirus spread at project site despite firm’s best efforts
A construction firm began to meticulously impose strict social distancing measures at the dormitory on its worksite a few months ago, yet almost 30 per cent of its workers at the project site were infected with the coronavirus, said Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee yesterday.


Singapore Economy

Circuit breaker sends April retail sales into sharpest fall in 30 years
Singapore’s retail sales tumbled 40.5 per cent year on year in April – the sharpest fall in more than three decades – triggered by “circuit-breaker” measures implemented between April 7 and June 1 to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Business formation to stay subdued, cessation to pick up
New business formation is expected to stay subdued, while cessations may pick up in the coming months as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a toll, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat in Parliament on Friday.


Companies’ Brief

Ascott Residence Trust to join FTSE EPRA Nareit Global Real Estate Index
Ascott Residence Trust (ART) on Monday said it will be included in the FTSE EPRA Nareit Global Real Estate Index Series (Global Developed Index) from June 22. The index series is an international real estate investment index developed by FTSE Group in cooperation with the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Nareit).

CapitaLand proposes scrip dividend scheme; opens star attraction at Chongqing mall
Property giant CapitaLand has proposed a scrip dividend scheme which will allow shareholders to receive their cash dividends in new shares. The scheme will allow shareholders to participate in the company’s shares without incurring brokerage fees, stamp duty and other related costs, CapitaLand said in a regulatory update on Friday.

CDL aims to conserve as it constructs
Property giant City Developments (CDL) said keeping sustainability at the forefront remains a cornerstone of its business, especially given the unusual circumstances sparked by the pandemic. Chief sustainability officer Esther An said…

MAS, police launch probe into EHT current, former directors over disclosures
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force have launched a joint investigation into Eagle Hospitality Trust’s (EHT) current and former directors as well as officers responsible for managing the trust.

Green initiatives bring Keppel savings
Profits might seem to be the most important target for any company, but at Keppel Corp, they go together with sustainability. The conglomerate has not put a pause on its green initiatives and investments during the pandemic, especially after it reaped the rewards of such moves last year when they saved it around $60 million.

Keppel O&M, Borr Drilling defer delivery of 5 jackup rigs to 2022
Keppel Corp on Friday said its wholly-owned subsidiary Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) had entered into a framework deed with international drilling contractor Borr Drilling to defer the delivery of five jackup rigs to 2022.

UOB seeks to maintain dividend policy despite Covid-19 woes
United Overseas Bank (UOB) is targeting to maintain its 50 per cent dividend payout ratio this year amid the challenging business climate. This will be subject to Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio staying above 13.5 per cent, as the bank looks to strike a balance between long-term growth opportunities and capital management…


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Facing the challenge of economic triage
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)

Singapore’s Covid-19 Budget measures have provided much liquidity for businesses to tide through the sudden and severe economic contraction, with relatively few restrictions on eligibility. While this was justified by the urgency of the situation and concerns over livelihoods, such massive intervention and support will not be sustainable going forward.

Singapore can remain exceptional in these testing times
This is the transcript of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s broadcast to the nation yesterday on overcoming the crisis of a generation. It is the first in a series of six ministerial broadcasts, scheduled for June 7 to June 20, on the theme of securing Singapore’s future in a post-Covid-19 world.

A principled fiscal strategy that gave S’pore four Budgets
This is an edited excerpt of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s round-up speech on debate on the Fortitude Budget in Parliament. Government interventions have become the cornerstone of the Covid-19 response, as populations look towards the one institution that can organise and mobilise.

Covid-19: Make sure the $93b is well spent
I have lost count of the billions of dollars in how-many Budgets with too-many-to-remember schemes to help so many Singaporeans suffering from the pandemic. In my mind, the parliamentary sittings of the last three months where these matters were discussed have been a blurry series of speeches, adding to the surreal nature of the crisis.

Caution needed even with opening up
The formal end of Singapore’s circuit breaker on June 1 marked the conclusion of an extraordinary period in the country’s economic and social history. The stringent curbs placed on businesses may have appeared to go against the dictum that business is Singapore’s business.

Balancing now, and beyond Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates new and prescient risks that organisations have struggled to contain even before the outbreak. Boards that balance between seeking recovery and planning for what is to come next and beyond through a stakeholder-centric approach will find an advantage that endures into the future.

Sustainability still vital to firms despite challenges, say experts
Sustainability continues to be of vital importance to companies, even as businesses struggle with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, experts and firms said. In fact, the crisis is highlighting the importance of embedding sustainability in a company, whether in terms of supply chains or even the impact a business may have on society.

Landlords can do more to help themselves
For many owners of small businesses, their biggest cost is likely to be their monthly rent. While many sole proprietors and even their small team of employees are now taking a big cut in income due to the coronavirus pandemic, they still need to keep up with the rent. And if things do not improve, they will have to dig into their families’ savings, if they are desperate to keep going.

Consider charging tenants a share of income instead of fixed rent
Instead of fixed monthly rents, landlords can charge tenants based on their gross turnovers (GTOs) during this downturn and earn themselves some goodwill. This can be done by offering dual components of reduced rent and a portion of GTO, or full payment that is entirely based on GTO.

The demise of the business-to-consumer model
The internet of Things (IoT) refers to an interconnected system whereby objects or things such as alarm clocks, washing machines, televisions, smart watches and every conceivable object or things sense and collect data to be utilised by other objects or things via an Internet connection.

Virtual blockchain summit attendees set to get at least US$1m in Bitcoin payouts
Crypto mania is back in full force and the latest iteration of excitement during these pandemic times comes in the form of a new wrinkle on one of the oldest promotions: Free Bitcoin. Tim Draper’s blockchain venture studio, Draper Goren Holm, is pledging to give away at least US$1 million in Bitcoin payouts to attendees of its now-virtual Los Angeles blockchain summit set to take place later this year.

The KL-S’pore High-Speed Rail: The final stop?
The long-awaited start of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) has been postponed again. All infrastructure projects are prone to delays, but a decade after the Malaysian government first mentioned the HSR in its 2010 Economic Transformation Programme, the target date of January 2031 is looking more unlikely by the day.


Singapore Budget 2020

Four Budgets may help avert 5 percentage point output loss
Singapore’s four Budgets this year may help it avoid an annual average output loss of five percentage points or S$23.4 billion, over 2020 and 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament on Friday.

DPM Heng Swee Keat spells out plans to tackle coronavirus crisis from ‘position of strength’
In the face of the global crisis of this generation, with huge uncertainties ahead, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday spelt out the Government’s efforts to safeguard Singaporeans’ lives and livelihoods, while also striving to ensure that the country emerges stronger from the crisis.

Government committed to rebuilding reserves: Heng Swee Keat
The Singapore government is committed to rebuilding the country’s reserves, even though there is no legal or constitutional obligation to restore what it has drawn, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday.

Parliament: Being prudent with finances a hallmark of Singapore system, says Heng Swee Keat
Borrowing to fund Singapore’s immediate needs would be like making children pay for their parents’ spending. Interest rates may be low now, but it is hard to predict with certainty that any accumulated debt obligations can be paid back in future, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Economic transformation must speed up for Singapore’s survival beyond Covid-19 crisis
Despite Singapore’s best efforts to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of unemployed residents here could rise from about 73,000 in 2019 to more than 100,000 in 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday.

80% of Covid-19 war chest to help businesses, workers
About 80 per cent of the nearly $100 billion set aside to tackle the coronavirus pandemic will be used to support businesses and help workers keep their jobs. The rest of the money will fund public health and social support measures, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament.

S’pore must position itself as a key node in Asia in a post-Covid world: Heng
As the coronavirus changes the global landscape, Singapore must ensure that it plays a “valued and inextricable role” in this new post-Covid-19 world, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

Parliament: Planned increase in GST will need to be done by 2025, says DPM Heng Swee Keat
The planned increase in goods and services tax (GST) cannot be put off indefinitely and will have to be done by 2025. However, money has been set aside to cushion the impact of the tax hike for Singaporeans, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Tap schemes to send staff for retraining, employers urged
Financially strapped employers can try retaining their workers during the Covid-19 economic slowdown by sending them for subsidised training programmes, said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad yesterday.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

Mustafa Centre, Tampines Mall and a market visited by Covid-19 cases
Two shopping centres and a market were yesterday added to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) list of places visited by Covid-19 cases while they were infectious. A confirmed case visited Tampines Mall last Tuesday while infectious between 2.45pm and 3.25pm, while another visited Mustafa Centre last Thursday between 3pm and 4pm.

Unity, resilience needed to deal with this generation’s ‘most dangerous crisis’: PM
The Covid-19 pandemic is the “most dangerous crisis” that humanity has faced in a very long time, and Singapore must be ready to deal with immense challenges ahead in order to emerge “even stronger and better”, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.

PM lists three advantages that will help Singapore secure its future
Singapore can still secure a bright future for itself despite the difficult times ahead, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, listing three advantages that stand the country in good stead to emerge even stronger and better from the Covid-19 crisis.

PM Lee tells Singaporeans ‘do not fear’, despite huge challenges ahead
The Covid-19 pandemic is the most dangerous crisis that humanity has faced in a very long time, and it will throw up immense challenges for Singapore. But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday told Singaporeans to take heart and spelt out his Government’s plans to help the country emerge stronger from the crisis.

Rise in US-China tensions has created a more dangerous world for Singapore
Tensions between the United States and China have risen during the coronavirus pandemic, creating a more dangerous world for Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday. Covid-19 has worsened relations, with the two global powers taking actions and counteractions, he noted, as he described a challenging global strategic landscape.

Good progress in virus fight, with one of world’s lowest fatality rates
With a fatality rate that is one of the world’s lowest and new cases in the community coming down, Singapore has made good progress in the fight against the coronavirus. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this yesterday in a televised address to the nation, adding that the situation at migrant worker dormitories has stabilised.

S’poreans must learn to live with virus for long haul: PM Lee
The coronavirus will remain a problem for a long time, and Singaporeans will have to learn to live with it for the long term, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in an address to the nation yesterday. This means getting used to new arrangements in the way people work, play and lead their everyday lives, he said.

Social safety nets will need to be relooked and strengthened, says PM
Singapore will have to strengthen its social compact, and think carefully about how to improve social safety nets to help its people cope with the uncertainties posed by the coronavirus crisis, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Costs of safe management measures will pay off: Chan Chun Sing
Implementing safe management measures at the workplace will incur some added costs and inconvenience for businesses, but it will pay off in the long run and speed up the reopening of the rest of the economy, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Friday.

Singapore building vaccine manufacturing capacity in Covid-19 fight: PM Lee
Singapore is building up its vaccine manufacturing capacity even as researchers around the world race to develop one for Covid-19. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday that Singapore intends to offer fill- and- finish contract manufacturing services to vaccine developers.

Singapore looking at wearable contact tracing device for all
A wearable device for contact tracing may be issued to everyone in Singapore to help curb the spread of Covid-19. This was announced in Parliament by Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday…

WHO changes tack, now says all should wear masks in public
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has updated its guidance to recommend that governments ask everyone to wear fabric face masks in public areas where there is a risk of transmission of Covid-19, to help reduce the spread of the pandemic disease.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Greenback up on US jobs data

Virus boosting demand for flexible offices

Rent is killing bookstores in New York

China trade surplus surges to record as medical exports jump

Japan Q1 GDP revised up to 2.2% annualised contraction

Hong Kong property market proves resilient even as crises mount

The office isn’t dead. It’s just convalescing

Malaysia rolls out RM35b in additional stimulus

Philippines’ unemployment rate at record high in April


Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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