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13 November 2012

13th November, Tuesday




More private residential properties bought in first half of 2012

Source: Channelnewsasia

The total number of private residential properties bought was about 22,000 in the first half of 2012, as compared to 19,000 in the first half of 2011 and 17,000 in the second half of 2011, revealed National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

He said cooling measures introduced in January last year aimed to eliminate speculative demand and are complemented with an aggressive supply ramp up.

Over the next five years, about 94,000 housing units will be completed. This is about one-third of the current stock of private housing.

Altogether, the measures have resulted in the increase in the Property Price Index to fall from 18 per cent in 2010 to six per cent last year. And it has gone down even further to just one per cent in the first three quarters of 2012.

Mr Khaw said the proportion of properties bought by foreigners also fell from 18 per cent last year to six per cent in the first three quarters of this year.

He added that the proportion of sub-sales, a proxy of the level of speculation in the housing market, remained low at about six per cent in the first three quarters of 2012, down from the eight per cent last year.

However, Mr Khaw said prices remained firm and he attributed this to contributory factors including ample global liquidity and the current low interest rate environment which are likely to persist for a while.

He said his ministry is ready to act when necessary.


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HDB to build more rental flats to reduce waiting time

Source: Channelnewsasia

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced on Monday the government's target to have 57,000 rental flats by 2015.

The minister said that the average waiting time for a flat is about six months, which could stretch longer if applicants request for specific locations or blocks.

He said that the government intends to build more rental flats to reduce the waiting time of applicants, with a target of 57,000 units by 2015.

Singapore now has 49,300 units of 1- and 2-room public rental flats, up from 45,500 two years ago.

Mr Khaw reiterated that even as more rental flats are being built, "we must also ensure that they are safeguarded for the poor and needy. These are the vulnerable citizens with no family support or other housing options."


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Dubai Mercantile Exchange sets up Singapore shop

Source: Business Times

The Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) Monday opened its office in Singapore, in a bid to build its relationship with oil traders in Singapore and China.

The exchange hopes that the move of setting up its first office outside the emirate will eventually boost trading volumes on its Oman crude futures contract.

DME delivers 10-15 million barrels of oil a month. With 40 per cent of oil traded on DME going to China, the exchange also hopes to engage Chinese oil traders in a more targeted manner.

"We're going to use Singapore as a springboard to face China. I'm hiring a Mandarin speaker to sit here and cover the large Chinese customers - convert marketing materials in Chinese, making sure the firm appears in Baidu searches, etc."

Within Asia, Singapore is the largest trading hub for oil and refined products.


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Swiss firm to build $18m gold refinery, bullion plant in S'pore

Source: The Straits Times

Swiss firm Metalor Technologies is investing US$15 million (S$18.3 million) to build a gold refinery and bullion product manufacturing plant in Singapore.

The refinery, expected to be completed by the second half of next year, aims to meet the growing demand for gold from bullion banks, recyclers and industry users of precious metals in South-east Asia.

Singapore is poised to become a precious-metal trading hub following the exemption of the goods and services tax from investment bullion products starting last month, Metalor said.

The new facility will be a major centre for value-added precious-metal processing in the Asia-Pacific region. Metalor also has refining facilities in Switzerland, the United States, Hong Kong and mainland China.


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