Singapore Economy

MAS may ease up on monetary policy: economists

There are now more signs that an easing in monetary policy could be on the cards, say economists, with Singapore's central bank on Monday indicating that it will be watching volatile oil prices closely. In their joint statement on December's inflation figures, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said that their forecasts for headline and core inflation remain the same "at this stage" - at -0.5 to 0.5 per cent and 0.5 to 1.5 per cent respectively.

Singdollar steadies, SOR down on better risk sentiment

The Singdollar (SGD) continues to steady as risk sentiment improves, leading to a retreat in a key interest rate back to December levels. The SGD on Monday was quoted at 1.4286 against the greenback at 6.33pm by Bloomberg, stronger than the 52-week high of 1.4408 on Jan 15.

Foreign worker levy to stay: Ser Luck, in response to SMEC

The government will retain the foreign worker levy in spite of calls - which have intensified in the lead-up to Budget 2016 - for a relook of its necessity. "The foreign worker levy will stay put," said Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Manpower.

Inflation in 2015 lowest in almost 3 decades

Singapore's consumer prices fell the most in almost three decades last year amid very low oil prices, lacklustre economic growth and the soft housing rental market. Still, most economists do not expect the central bank to deploy monetary policy to combat this long funk in growth and inflation.

Singapore Real Estate

Lendlease-ADIA to include 429 apartments in Paya Lebar project

The consortium comprising Lendlease and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) that last year bagged a plum site in Paya Lebar Central, has obtained provisional permission from Singapore's planning authority to build a project that will comprise offices, retail space as well as 429 apartments.

Property agencies gear up in down time

When the going in the real estate market gets tough, agencies and agents find ways to get going. Property agent turned hawker Elton Lim, 45, knows all about being adaptable. He left the real estate industry after 13 years to set up a food stall in December to tide him over rough times in the property market.

Companies' Brief

MLT's Q3 DPU unchanged at 1.87 cents

Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT) reported distribution per unit of 1.87 cents for the third quarter ended Dec 31, 2015, unchanged from a year ago, buoyed by divestment gains from the sale of two low-yielding industrial properties in Singapore.

Mandarin mall, hotel drag down OUEHT's Q4 DPS

OUE Hospitality Trust's (OUEHT) fourth-quarter revenue and earnings were boosted by contributions from Crowne Plaza Changi Airport (CPCA), acquired in January 2015. However, lower contributions from its Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel and Mandarin Gallery resulted in distribution income falling 3.3 per cent to S$22.8 million.

Cache Logistics Trust Q4 DPU drops

Lower occupancy rates and a spike in property expenses dented fourth-quarter earnings for warehouse owner Cache Logistics Trust, which also reported a rise in financing costs on Monday. Warning of more challenging industrial property market conditions ahead in a Singapore Exchange filing, Cache posted a smaller distribution per unit (DPU) for Q4 as an increase in distributable income was outpaced by a spike in the number of units issued.

CapitaLand Mall Trust

Operationally, Capitaland Mall Trust's (CMT) portfolio exhibited some positive trends, such as the 4.9 per cent and 5.3 per cent increase in shopper traffic and tenants' sales per square foot per month in FY2015, respectively. Occupancy went up from 96.8 per cent (as at end Q3 2015) to 97.6 per cent. Notwithstanding this, the leasing climate remains challenging as rental reversions for FY2015 came in at 3.7 per cent, signifying a continued moderation.

Frasers Centrepoint Trust

We expect occupancy at Bedok Point to improve from its present 77 per cent as its new anchor tenant is currently fitting out and scheduled to begin in March. The trust has also provided more details on its upcoming AEI for Northpoint Centre which is scheduled to commence in March 2016, and complete by September 2017.

KepCorp to bring all asset management businesses under one roof

In a move to scale up its asset management business, Keppel Corporation is planning to consolidate its interests in all asset management companies under one umbrella. Under the restructuring plan, its fund management arm Alpha Investment Partners and the trustee managers of Keppel Reit, Keppel DC Reit, and Keppel Infrastructure Trust will be grouped under Keppel Capital Holdings, the group's wholly owned subsidiary.

Senior MTI official to be next IE Singapore chief

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore will, from Feb 1, have a new chief executive in Lee Ark Boon, who is now Deputy Secretary (Trade) at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). He replaces Teo Eng Cheong, who left the agency on Dec 31 after almost four years of service at the agency's helm.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Ensure safety, welfare of construction workers

Two Sundays ago, we were driving along Woodlands Avenue 12 towards Sembawang when we witnessed a disturbing sight. Squatting under a tree by the road in a really heavy downpour were two workers sharing a packet of food. They were exposed to the unforgiving rain, and so was that packet of rice. There was no shelter of any sort in sight. Nearby, their co-workers continued working on the right-most lane of the road.

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