Top Stories

CPF to offer low-fuss, low-cost investment scheme

With a proposal for a new low-fuss, low-cost investment scheme, the CPF Advisory Panel is hoping to finally solve the long-standing problem of under-utilised investible funds languishing untouched in retirement accounts.  The Singapore government has accepted that recommendation, as well as proposals by the panel to also offer an escalating payout plan for the CPF Life annuity scheme, to review the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) and to educate the public on the new options. Under the new recommendations, CPF members will be able to invest part of their retirement savings into what is envisaged to be a limited offering of passively managed funds through a single administrator. Dubbed the Lifetime Retirement Investment Scheme (LRIS), the structure is aimed at providing convenience and simplicity for investors at bare-bones costs through low-fuss products that could include life-cycle funds.

Singapore Economy

Singapore shares close lower on weak Wall Street, soft oil and Swiber's woes

The global post-Brexit rally appears to be fast running out of puff - on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average which set several all-time highs last month, fell for the seventh consecutive session, no doubt a factor behind the Straits Times Index's (STI) 29.09 points loss on Wednesday at 2,827.58.  From June 27, two trading days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, the STI had jumped from 2,729 to 2,945 on July 20, a gain of 216 points or almost 8 per cent in less than a month.

Enhancing corporate governance in Singapore companies

It is important that governance in Singapore's corporate sector remains relevant and congruent with the ever changing regulatory requirements and best practices both locally and globally. In the light of this, the enhanced Singapore Governance and Transparency Index (SGTI) has pushed corporate governance for Singapore's listed companies to a higher level through a more comprehensive and holistic approach.

Investor confidence in S'pore takes a hit, post-Brexit

Diversification in one's portfolio will be key to navigating an uncertain and volatile global economy following Britain's historic vote in June to leave the European Union ("Brexit"), a survey has found.  The latest iteration of a half-yearly survey of investor sentiment by JPMorgan Asset Management (JPMAM) has found that local retail investors turned more bearish on the Singapore economy post-Brexit, as compared to when the same survey was conducted pre-Brexit.

Growth in private sector slows

Growth across Singapore's private sector eased last month as output and new orders expanded more slowly, according to a new survey.  The broad-based Nikkei Singapore Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 50.7 for July, lower than June's 52.3.  Readings above 50 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month while those below indicate contraction.

Singapore Real Estate

Eight West Coast blocks picked for redevelopment

The government has identified eight blocks along West Coast Road for its "selective en bloc redevelopment scheme" (Sers), meaning the state will buy back these flats and offer residents compensation and an alternative address.  Residents of some 994 flats in Blocks 513 to 520 will be offered new flats at two different sites at Clementi Avenue 1 and West Coast Link.  These flats are already 37 years old or so. In a statement, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) said: "SERS offers the residents of these blocks a unique opportunity to move to new flats on fresh 99-year leases."

SISV comes up with own indices to track suburban condos

Joining the bandwagon of index providers tracking residential price movements here, the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) has come up with an index series to track resale transactions of completed condominiums in the suburban region.  Based on this index suite, average prices in the East and West regions have softened to levels last seen five years ago, while average prices in the North and North-East are generally still higher than in 2011, SISV said.

CrimsonLogic, ASM introduce electronic service for issuance of building certificate

CrimsonLogic and the Association of Strata Managers (ASM) jointly announced on Wednesday a new electronic service to simplify the issuance of the Section (S).47(1)(c) Certificate under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA).  This new service is now available, with effect from Aug 1, and is for strata titled private residential and commercial buildings. It facilitates online exchanges between law firms and managing agents, which is currently done entirely through postal mail or email.

Singapore retail investors' confidence falls post-Brexit: poll

Singapore retail investors' confidence in the local stock market and economy for the next six months has taken a knock following Britain's vote to leave the European Union (Brexit), a two-part survey has found.  The latest iteration of a half-yearly survey of investor sentiment by JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) found that investors turned more bearish on the global economy post-Brexit, as compared to when the same survey was conducted pre-Brexit.

Companies' Brief

M&C posts 11.6% drop in Q2 profit to £38m

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C), the London-listed hotel arm of Singapore's City Developments Limited, posted an 11.6 per cent drop in profit before tax to £38 million (S$68 million) in its second quarter, while revenue inched up 5.1 per cent from £215 million to £226 million.  For the quarter under review, revenue per available room (RevPAR) in constant currency dipped 3.7 per cent, from £78.71 to £75.80.

Better for CCT to redevelop Golden Shoe site sooner

Speculation has resurfaced lately that CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) could soon begin a redevelopment of Golden Shoe Car Park (GSCP), located in a prime spot in the traditional Raffles Place financial district.  Rumours have been swirling about some of the building's retail tenants being told that they would have to move out around the middle of next year. Some tenants are also on short-term leases.

Higher taxes erode Q1 DPU for RHT Health Trust

Higher corporate taxes in India and higher finance costs ate into first-quarter distributable income for Religare Health Trust, which late last month renamed itself RHT Health Trust.  Net profit sank 13.2 per cent to S$10.7 million from the previous year, the group said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Wednesday evening.

OUE swings into the black in Q2

Property developer OUE Limited swung back to profitability in the second quarter ended June 30 with a net profit of S$25.7 million, after marking a net loss of S$16.3 million a year ago.  The turnaround came on the back of a 40.4 per cent jump in revenue to S$134.3 million, bolstered by strong contributions from both property investments and development.

MCT places out 364.88 million new units at S$1.45 each

Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT) is placing out 364.88 million new units on Thursday at S$1.45 apiece, pricing the private placement at the top end of its indicative range.  With the issue of new units, its total number of units in issue will be 2.5 billion units.

CapitaLand Q2 net profit down 36.6%

CapitaLand Limited posted a 36.6 per cent fall in net profit after tax and minority interests (PATMI) for the second quarter ended June 30 from a year ago to S$294 million, dragged by higher cost of sales and lower fair value gains of investment properties.  Operating PATMI also slipped 33 per cent to S$171.6 million. But excluding the one-off fair value gain of S$125.9 million arising from the change of use of development projects a year ago, CapitaLand's operating PATMI would have grown 31.8 per cent.

Global Premium Hotels Q2 earnings down on lower room revenue

Lower room revenue from most of its hotels eroded Global Premium Hotels' (GPH) results for its second quarter.  Net profit sank 13.5 per cent to S$2.7 million from the previous year, the hospitality group said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Wednesday evening.

Boustead wins contract from AA Reit for redevelopment of industrial property

Boustead Projects Limited has clinched a design-and-build contract from AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT (AA Reit) for the redevelopment of an industrial property located in Marsiling, Singapore.  Construction of the facility - a five-storey industrial facility redevelopment - is expected to commence shortly and be completed by the second half of 2017.

Lum Chang buying The Verge for redevelopment

Lum Chang Holdings has signalled its intention to re-enter the Singapore property market in a big way by inking a deal to buy The Verge in Little India.  The mainboard-listed construction and property group said on Wednesday that it has entered into a term sheet and will begin exclusive due diligence and negotiations for the proposed purchase of the property, which is 90 per cent owned by Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom.  No price was disclosed but BT understands it is under S$300 million.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Strong outlook for Singapore office sector in medium term

Singapore has not been immune to the slowing economic conditions that have permeated globally over the past year, with a softening across many of its sectors, including commercial real estate (CRE). The CRE sector here has been a strong growth sector for several years. Indeed, the government's Property Price Index of office space has generally appreciated since 2010.  This changed in the second quarter of 2015, when cloudy global economic conditions along with a large supply pipeline led to a softening in rents in most CRE segments, particularly offices. The current subdued economic activity has prompted market commentators and analysts to predict a continued downward slide for the sector. In 2016, rents of office spaces in prime districts have been forecast to decline, and capital values are also expected to start to more closely track rents and moderate further in time.

JTC must fulfil stated obligation of redeeming JCC-linked notes at par

We refer to "Jurong Country Club noteholders demand early redemption from JTC" (BT, July 1). We wish to clarify several key points made by JTC regarding the JTC Debenture Notes 2003, as reported in the article.  In the article, JTC said that "the terms and conditions of the Notes allow them to be held independently of Jurong Country Club (JCC) membership". "Hence, the Notes need not be redeemed as a result of the land acquisition."

Treating streets as public spaces

Orthodox thinking frowns upon any street closure, diversion or narrowing as inconveniences that motorists should be spared. A city's arteries need to be kept free-flowing, but when roads form about 12 per cent of total land use and motor vehicles rule, one must also ask how an equitable balance can be struck. Cars glide dominantly everywhere, even in and out of buildings, while pedestrians have to scamper out of the way, suck in pollutants and struggle with uneven surfaces, kerbs and poorly connected pathways.

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