Singapore Economy

Tharman calls for reforms to provide retirement security

Low interest rates are here to stay, and will pose challenges to retirement security globally, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam warned on Monday.  And as investment strategies and monetary policy responses reach their limits, fundamental reforms are needed to help populations plan for retirement, he said.  "We have to live with a low-interest-rate environment for a long time to come, even as our societies are getting older.

Singapore emerges as top Asian investor in Japan

Singapore is the only Asian country which has over a trillion yen - or S$12.74 billion at Monday's exchange rate - invested in Japan, according to the first official Japanese report on foreign direct investments in the country.  That makes Singapore, already the biggest investor in China and India, the top Asian investor in the world's third-largest economy, says Invest Japan Report 2015 published last week by Jetro, Japan's trade and investment promotion agency.

Job openings still outnumber job seekers, but only barely

The jobs market picture painted by the latest official report released on Monday isn't as bleak as the sluggish economy would otherwise suggest. But the tone of the Ministry of Manpower's final Labour Market Report, First Quarter 2016 remains cautious - and looked at from a longer view, it has reasons to be.  Already, the latest survey report by ManpowerGroup Singapore, also released on Monday, points to a "more conservative" pace of hirings in the next three months, with hiring prospects at their weakest since the 2009 recession.

Q3 hiring prospects to be worst since last recession

The pace of hiring is tipped to be "more conservative" in the next three months, with hiring prospects at their weakest since the last recession, according to ManpowerGroup Singapore's latest survey.  The survey, which covered 647 employers, found the net employment outlook - the difference between the percentage of bosses wanting to raise and the percentage wanting to cut hiring - has slipped further to a seasonally-adjusted plus 9 per cent for July-September, the lowest since the third quarter of 2009.

Singapore Real Estate

Singapore real estate stocks offer shelter in down market

Singapore-listed real estate companies have outperformed the broader market so far this year as strong gains in the slightly smaller property plays offset declines in the biggest names, according to data provided by the Singapore Exchange (SGX).  The SGX Real Estate 20 index of Singapore-listed real estate plays posted a 1.3 per cent total return between Jan 1 and June 10, outpacing the blue-chip Straits Times Index's -0.4 per cent total return over the same period.

Wing Tai sells another apartment at Le Nouvel Ardmore for S$21m

WING TAI has sold another apartment at its freehold Le Nouvel Ardmore condominium.  The seventh floor unit is being sold for S$21 million, which works out to S$4,006 per square foot based on the strata area of 5,242 sq ft (inclusive of 280 sq ft of strata void area).  The buyer is believed to be Trihatma Kusuma Haliman, who controls Indonesian property group Agung Podomoro Land, which has been making the headlines in Indonesia recently.

Foreigners snap up more homes in Q1

Foreign buyers bought more homes in the first three months of the year compared with the fourth quarter last year despite a lacklustre property market, according to DTZ.  Purchases by non-Singapore permanent residents jumped 5.4 per cent to 236 units in the three months to March 31, while those by permanent residents (PRs) increased by 2.6 per cent to 591 units.  In contrast, citizens bought 1,973 homes, down 18.2 per cent, owing largely to the seasonal effect of the Chinese New Year holiday.

Qatar fund 'in talks for $2.7b loan' to buy tower

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has approached banks for a loan of as much as US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) to finance its acquisition of BlackRock's Asia Square Tower 1, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.  The sovereign wealth fund has held preliminary talks with banks to borrow between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Companies' Brief

Croesus to bring trustee-manager 'in-house' with $50m acquisition

Croesus Retail Trust (CRT), which holds shopping malls in Japan, is looking to bring its trustee-manager "in-house".  The move, which will be the first of its kind here, involves the CRT acquiring Croesus Retail Asset Management for 4.1 billion yen (S$50 million). That will bring the overall management and day-to- day operations of CRT in-house, creating "a stronger alignment of interests" between the trustee-manager and unitholders, it said in a statement on Sunday.

Views, Reviews & Forum

To boost retail, Singapore must become more cultured

The development of culture often has a powerful influence on a country's retail industry.  Anime and manga culture has spawned numerous unique products, such as character models, cafes and cosplay, that have made Japan a sought-after retail destination.  South Korea has arguably become a fashion powerhouse due to the industry's close links with Hallyu, or the Korean wave.  Singapore, however, has long taken a pragmatic view to economic development, prioritising "hard" industries over socio-cultural development.  Retail here has largely been driven by the importing of a wide range of renowned international brands.

Challenger shows the way for other Singapore retailers

A Singapore mega supermarket for all things tech, Challenger Technologies, through its push to become a major e-commerce player, shows it has realised the big opportunity that selling online can bring to the local retail giant. In an environment where having a strong and credible online presence is crucial for every retailer's competitiveness and growth, Challenger has set an ambitious target to have its revamped e-commerce portal accounting for up to half of group revenue within five years, up from a very small percentage now.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

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