Archive | January, 2008

HDB may offer 6,000 flats in H1

SOME 6,000 housing board flats are expected to be offered for sale in the first half of this year, Parliament was told yesterday. Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said this matches the sales pace seen in the same period last year. For the whole of 2007, HDB sales programme offered 13,000 flats – […]

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YESTERDAY IN PARLIAMENT: GST hike adds $990m to govt revenue so far

$1.17b budgeted to help S’poreans adjust to higher GST: Tharman THE government collected an additional $990 million in tax revenue last year due to the higher Goods and Services Tax (GST) that kicked in on July 1, 2007. Yesterday, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told parliament that about $540 million of the revenue was domestic, while […]

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S’pore brokers check clients’ margins, take no chances

Margin calls, forced selling not surprising in current market, say some brokers (SINGAPORE) Veterans of previous crashes say it’s not that bad this time, at least not yet. But broking houses are taking no chances. They are battening down the hatches and checking the credit quality and margins of clients. Some investors are complaining about […]

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Analysts lower estimates after another bleak day

Key resistance levels pitched down as panic selling persists (SINGAPORE) If Monday was the day when fear stalked the markets, then yesterday saw a phase when it took a firmer hold. There was no let-up in the selling frenzy and bourses around Asia bled for the second straight day with the ‘R’ word very much […]

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Chinese property developer CentraLand launches IPO

Zhengzhou-based firm’s shares priced at 50 cents; offer closes on Jan 30 CHINESE property developer CentraLand Ltd yesterday launched its initial public offering (IPO) of 245 million new shares at 50 cents each for a mainboard listing on the Singapore Exchange. The company, based in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province, expects to raise […]

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CapitaLand plans to set up Reit for Indian retail malls

It unveils separate ventures with two partners for 15 projects worth $2.1b CAPITALAND plans to create a Real Estate Investment Trust or listed vehicle holding Indian malls as an exit strategy for retail projects that it will develop jointly with two separate Indian partners. The Singapore property giant yesterday announced separate joint ventures with Prestige […]

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DBS analysts see US slowdown, not recession

WITH the markets falling all around them, DBS analysts are standing out with a contrarian and notably optimistic view on where macroeconomic variables are headed. The bank’s head of group research, Sanjit Maitra, said at DBS’s annual outlook seminar for corporate and private clients yesterday that he believes that US domestic consumption is not headed […]

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Overheating of Asian economies likely: Lehman

Better growth rate will attract massive capital inflows GOOD economic news now could lead to tough times later, an American investment bank is warning. The bank, Lehman Brothers, says that a soft landing for the global economy could lead Asia ex-Japan economies to overheat later this year or into next year. Lehman’s chief economist Asia […]

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Investors abroad don’t feel immune to US woes now

They worry how bad a US recession could get, and how badly it would hit the world (FRANKFURT) Since late last summer, the US economy has demonstrated an enduring power to surprise. And not for the better. Investors worldwide are pondering the prospects for a recession in the United States, their latest and furthestreaching preoccupation […]

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French economic reforms may spark new dynamism in Europe: S’pore

Story Print Friendly Page Republic’s interested in these reforms, says Lim Hng Kiang IN PARIS WITH global markets in a tailspin over fears of a US recession, the world clearly needs more growth engines. Hence Singapore’s interest in the progress of economic reforms in France, which, if successful, could spark new dynamism in Europe, says […]

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Inflation to ease to 4%: govt economist

(BEIJING) China’s inflation will recede in 2008 due to a slowing economy and a drop in food prices, a senior government economist said in a report published yesterday. Fan Caiyue, a deputy head at the economic research institute under the National Development and Reform Commission, said that China’s consumer price inflation would drop to 4 […]

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COMMENTARY: Things are no different after all

FOR months, the warning signs were apparent, but euphoric investors, boosted by a liquidity-driven bull market that had lasted more than three years, chose to ignore them. Furthermore, they were lulled into complacency by repeated bouncebacks from various shocks ranging from Chinese monetary tightening to the yen ‘carry trade’. Now, in the space of months, […]

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Soros warns of worst financial crisis since WWII

(VIENNA) Billionaire investor George Soros said the world was facing the worst financial crisis since World War II and the United States was threatened with recession, according to an interview by the Austrian daily Standard. ‘The situation is much more serious than any other financial crisis since the end of World War II,’ Mr Soros […]

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US economists bearish about America: survey

But they are more upbeat about their own firms’ outlook (WASHINGTON) Leading business economists are growing more pessimistic about the health of the US economy, but are more upbeat about their own company’s prospects, according to a new survey. The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) panel yesterday predicted a sharply lower pace of growth […]

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Dramatic 75 basis point cut in US rates

As markets reel, US central bank says it stands ready to act again; its next scheduled meeting is in a week’s time NEW YORK CORRESPONDENT IN A stunning response to the panic that triggered two days of frightening sell-offs on world stock markets, the US central bank yesterday slashed interest rates by a dramatic 75 […]

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Why it’s difficult for HDB to predict demand

THE Housing Board cannot accurately predict demand for HDB flats years down the road. However, it will be flexible and boost the supply of flats when needed, Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said yesterday. She gave this assurance in response to a question from Madam Cynthia Phua (Aljunied GRC), who wanted to […]

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Govt rejects Aljunied site bid; offers flood Jalan Sultan plot

THE Government has decided not to sell a short-term office site in Aljunied because the sole bid that came in last week offered too low a price. This decision follows a recent string of lower-than-expected offers for state land and is the first time since 2001 that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has rejected bids […]

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TAKING STOCK: STI ends bumpy ride just 51 points down

DBS, SingTel and SIA lead recovery in afternoon as rumours of US rate cut spread INVESTORS are grateful for small mercies these days – and they got one yesterday when the local market salvaged some respect after another wild day across the region. The 50.6-point fall in the Straits Times Index (STI) would have been […]

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Hard choice for Lippo with surprise bid for Robinson stake

Indonesian group can either sell its shares, keep them or submit a counterproposal   LIPPO Group, the No. 1 shareholder of Robinson & Co, seems to be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in the face of a surprise offer from Dubai- based Al Futtaim. Lippo president and Robinson deputy chairman Stephen […]

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CapitaLand in ventures for Indian malls worth $2b

CAPITALAND is expanding its presence in India’s fast-growing retail sector by investing in 15 malls worth more than $2.1 billion. The malls, spread over 14 cities, are to be spun off into a property trust after their completion – between next year and 2011. CapitaLand will achieve this by partnering two Indian real estate players […]

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US home owner sues agent amid property woes

Case could be first of many as finger-pointing escalates; any player in the crisis may be sued CARLSBAD (CALIFORNIA) – MS MARTY Ummel feels she paid too much for her house. So do millions of other Americans who bought their homes at the peak of the housing boom. What makes Ms Ummel different is that […]

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Governments urge calm in face of market turmoil

Ministers in Asia and Europe advise investors to stay rational and not overreact HONG KONG – GOVERNMENTS urged calm yesterday while calling for international cooperation to cope with a global slide in stock markets sparked by fears of a United States recession. Asian markets experienced a day of heavy losses, with Hong Kong share prices […]

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NEWS ANALYSIS: Panic and fear, not fundamentals, driving sharp market selldown

Widespread selling creating financial violence people hope to avoid, analysts say NEW YORK – THE fear is spreading. For months now, investors have been lured to overseas markets with the promise that surging growth and solid economic fundamentals in Asia and the Middle East would insulate them from the credit squeeze plaguing the United States […]

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Recession in US, Europe could shake Asia, S’pore

Region still relies heavily on world’s biggest markets, say economists A RECESSION in the United States and Europe would badly hurt Asian economies, including Singapore’s, which still rely heavily on these two export markets for growth, according to economists. Indeed, analysts at Lehman Brothers believe economic growth in Singapore could slump to as low as […]

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Fed slashes rates in bid to halt share selloff

‘Emergency’ cut of 0.75 percentage points is its biggest in 26 years THE United States central bank slashed interest rates last night in a desperate bid to halt a global share market bloodbath and keep recession at bay. The dramatic ’emergency’ rate cut of 0.75 percentage points was far higher than expected and the biggest […]

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State land sales in demand as en bloc fever cools

Developers find pricing of GLS sites more in tune with market realities (SINGAPORE) Developers seem to be turning increasingly to state tenders instead of en bloc sales to restock their residential landbanks. This is because land pricing at state tenders is more responsive to the current bearish market conditions. Also, the Government Land Sales (GLS) […]

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GIC RE enters Russian real estate market

It buys 25% of township project for US$233m; forms partnership with PIK AFTER announcing around $7 billion worth of property deals in 2007, GIC Real Estate (GIC RE), the property arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, said that it will develop a township on a site in Russia with a market value of […]

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Investment bar set high, but EDB expects to cross it

It forecasts another bumper year despite prospects of global economic slowdown (SINGAPORE) The world’s economy may be slowing down, but Singapore expects to continue attracting huge investments this year that will spur growth and create jobs. If anything, it expects to surpass last year’s record $16.1 billion worth of manufacturing investments. The Economic Development Board […]

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Genting confirms talks to build hotel in Sports Hub

Shatec signs pact to be master caterer of hub for 25 years (SINGAPORE) Genting International plc (GIL) yesterday confirmed a BT report that it is currently in preliminary talks with Singapore Sports Hub Consortium to build a hotel in the Sports Hub. In an announcement on the Singapore Exchange, GIL said ‘preliminary planning suggests the […]

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Chip Eng Seng wins $188m HDB contract

CHIP Eng Seng Corporation has been awarded a contract worth $188 million by the Housing & Development Board for the construction of 1,394 dwelling units in Queenstown. The contract, won through wholly-owned subsidiary Chip Eng Seng Contractors (1988) Pte Ltd, also includes the construction of a multi-storey carpark, link bridges, a roof garden, an education […]

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SUB-PRIME HITS: Bank of China may post 2007 loss on write-down

SCMP report heightens concerns about China’s exposure to crisis (BEIJING) Bank of China might post a 2007 loss because of a big write-down on billions of dollars of US subprime related investments, a newspaper reported yesterday, sending shares in the lender tumbling. Quoting unidentified sources, the South China Morning Post said that Chinese banking regulators […]

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Once-hot China real estate sector cools down

(SHANGHAI) After booming in recent years, China’s real estate market is finally starting to feel the pinch from sagging demand and tighter controls. One of China’s biggest real estate agencies, Chuanghui Real Estate, has shuttered dozens of outlets in Shanghai and other cities, leaving angry customers and employees, after an ill-timed expansion just as the […]

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Emaar’s India unit in IPO to tap US$1.8b

Proceeds will be used to buy land, development rights, pay for construction (MUMBAI) Dubai’s Emaar Properties hopes to raise up to US$1.8 billion from an initial public offering of a unit in India, where IPOs are forecast to more than double this year despite choppy markets in the wake of the US subprime mortgage crisis. […]

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ART buying another property in Australia

ASCOTT Residence Trust (ART) is acquiring an 84-unit serviced residence in Australia for a total purchase price of A$28.5 million (S$35.6 million). In a statement released yesterday, ART said the acquisition is yield-accretive at an estimated annualised property yield of 6.1 per cent in the forecast year 2008. The freehold property, currently known as Chifley […]

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Analysts see Asian economies weathering a US recession

Reason: Asia is now less dependent on the US economy (BANGKOK) Asia would be able to weather any recession in the United States, analysts say, because rising trade and investment within the region make it less dependent on the US economy than in the past. While a severe downturn in the US would drag on […]

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Asian markets crash while US totters

Recession fears hit home in plunges reminiscent of post-9/11 debacle (SINGAPORE) It was blood on the floor across Asian bourses yesterday as investors dumped stocks amid intensifying fears of a US economic meltdown. This, despite President George W Bush last week announcing a massive US$145 billion stimulative tax relief plan and Federal Reserve boss Ben […]

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British house prices fall in January

(LONDON) UK house prices declined for a third month in January, reviving interest among prospective buyers after a slump in viewings late last year, Rightmove plc said. The average asking price fell 0.8 per cent to £230,428 ($647,908) from December, compared with a 3.2 per cent drop the previous month, Britain’s most-used property website said […]

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UK property shares set for 20% rise: Morgan Stanley

But over longer run, rally could ebb as economic downturn forces rentals to fall IN LONDON UK property shares may surge at least 20 per cent in the first half of 2008 as the Bank of England cuts interest rates, predicts Morgan Stanley. On a longer two year view however, Morgan Stanley is concerned that […]

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UK home mortgages slip in Dec

(LONDON) British customer-owned lenders approved fewer loans for house purchase in December as falling house prices hurt the confidence of prospective buyers, a report by the Building Societies Association said. Mortgage approvals fell 20 per cent from a year earlier to £pounds;4.1 billion (S$11.5 billion), said the BSA, which represents 59 building societies in the […]

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Service apartments seek shorter stays to ease hotel room crunch

Industry association proposes rule on stay of 7 nights or more be lifted FOR 20 years, there has been a little-known rule governing service apartments: Guests have to stay seven nights or more. Now, with an eye on the current hotel room crunch, the Serviced Apartments Association proposes that this condition be lifted. There are […]

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Poor will not be neglected in HDB upgrading

Revised schemes allow for more flexibility and govt subsidies THE Housing Board will not neglect the needs of the poor, or be rigid, as it upgrades flats under schemes which have recently been revamped. The Minister of State for National Development, Ms Grace Fu, gave this assurance as the Housing and Development (Amendment) Bill, which […]

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Condo-style flats only a small part of public housing, says Mah

PARLIAMENT PRICEY condo-style flats will remain a small proportion of the total public housing supply with the Government pledging yesterday to continue providing affordable homes. Its assurance came as high-end flats in Boon Keng offered by private developers were launched recently for up to $727,000 for a five-room flat. The flats come with interior layouts […]

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Investments in fixed assets in S’pore jump to record $16b

Good mix of new projects boosts data, lifts outlook for this year: EDB SINGAPORE has smashed the record for investments in new factories, machinery and other industrial facilities – having secured $16.1 billion worth of such investments last year. This was thanks to a whopping 400 new projects, including multibillion-dollar petrochemical and wafer fabrication plants […]

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TOWNSHIP DEVELOPMENT: GIC property unit in Russian joint venture

THE property arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), GIC Real Estate, and a Russian company have announced a joint venture to develop a residential township north-east of Moscow. GIC Real Estate will acquire a 25 per cent stake in the project for about US$233 million (S$335 million). Its partner, PIK Group, will […]

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EDB revises key indicators to reflect industry changes

THE blurring of the traditional lines between the manufacturing and services sectors has led the Economic Development Board (EDB) to revise the performance indicators it uses to reflect investment into Singapore. EDB’s assistant managing director for planning and policy, Dr Beh Swan Gin, said yesterday that evolving industry conditions had necessitated a revamp of the […]

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STI plunges 6% in worst one-day fall since Oct 1987

Asian markets battered on fears of a US recession and possible writedowns by regional banks   SINGAPORE’S market yesterday suffered its worst one-day fall since the Black Monday crash in October 1987 while other Asian bourses had to go back to the Sept11, 2001, terror attacks for a day as bad as this. The Straits […]

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Australia caught in Asian boom and US bust

PM Rudd vows to cut govt spending among other plans to curb inflation SYDNEY – BOOM in Asia and bust in the United States are buffeting Australia’s economy, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned yesterday as he outlined plans to rein in inflation. ‘The most pressing economic challenge domestically is inflation,’ he told a meeting of […]

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Southern China fights inflation by hiking wages

Officials hope raise will offset rising prices and stave off social unrest SOUTHERN China took steps to combat rising inflation yesterday with the manufacturing hub of Guangdong province set to raise minimum wages by 13 per cent after the Chinese New Year. Over in the autonomous casino enclave of Macau, its government yesterday also proposed […]

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TAKING STOCK: Market likely to stay under pressure

Analysts say Bush’s economic rescue plan will do little to assure investors A FISCAL stimulus package unveiled last week by United States President George W. Bush may not be enough to assuage market fears that the US economy is headed for a slowdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a 10-month low on Friday, […]

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US shares endure their worst-ever start to a year

Further selldown expected unless this week’s earnings results are first-rate NEW YORK – STOCKS in the United States, as measured by the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index, are off by 9.7 per cent so far this month – their worst start to a year ever. If markets slide again as they did last week, […]

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Real estate market quiet as uncertainty looms in US

Buyers might want to delay their property purchases till a clearer picture emerges, say experts THE Singapore property market has turned somewhat jittery in the face of growing fears about a recession in the United States. Analysts suggest that unless buyers need a home to live in, they might want to delay any purchases until […]

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TOP OF THE NEWS: The dome picked for Sports Hub

KALLANG will have one of the world’s biggest domes dominating its landscape by the end of 2011, to replace the 35-year-old National Stadium. The Singapore Sports Hub consortium has pipped two other groups for the right to build and run the Sports Hub for 25 years, it was announced yesterday. The Government will pay the […]

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WALL STREET: White House plan fails to lift stock market gloom

NEW YORK – THE White House’s effort to boost the economy with a US$150 billion (S$216 billion) stimulus plan failed to lift market sentiment as stocks tumbled for a fourth day on Friday, closing out the worst week for the S&P 500 in five years. Investors’ main worry was that the effort may not prevent […]

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Regent Garden en bloc sale contested

(SINGAPORE) Allgreen Properties’ purchase of Regent Garden via a collective sale is now being contested by the majority sellers of the property, the company said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange yesterday. BT understands that the majority owners, who together own 25 of the 31 units and over 80 per cent of the share […]

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Hotel rooms during F1 race period going fast

RATES of $1,000 a night and higher have not deterred Formula 1 fans from snapping up trackside hotel rooms for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix. Hotels ranging from the glitzy Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore to the Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel are already fully booked for the Sept 26 to 28 race. This is despite significantly higher than normal […]

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Investors reckon US already in recession

Markets, key indicators are plunging, reflecting sentiment that outlook appears to be very bleak NEW YORK – WHILE the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve told Congress on Thursday that a recession could still be averted, Wall Street sent Washington a different message: It is already here. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 306.95 […]

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Inflation seen eating into pay hikes this year

Real take-home pay increases will be subdued: HR group INFLATION is likely to take a big bite of that fat pay rise this year. With Singapore workers looking forward to some of the biggest pay rises in the developed economies at 5 per cent, ECA International, a global club of human resource practitioners, says real […]

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Singapore may dodge recession in 2008: economists

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s export-driven economy, which shrank in the fourth quarter, will feel the impact of a slowdown in the United States but will just avoid recession, analysts said on Friday. Weak exports figures on Thursday suggested the government’s Jan 2 advanced estimate showing the economy shrank in the fourth quarter at an annualised and […]

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Exports lurch to worst showing in five years

NODX hit by electronics slump; jury still out on 2008 as US slowdown looms   (SINGAPORE) Even the economists were caught off-guard. They had expected Singapore’s key non-oil domestic exports (NODX) in December to grow at a healthy clip, compared to a year ago. Instead, they fell 4.5 per cent on the heels of a […]

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Dubai govt investment arm eyeing China, says CEO

(SINGAPORE) Dubai government investment agency Istithmar is mulling investments in China, the Wall Street Journal quoted its chief executive as saying yesterday. Istithmar comes under the umbrella of the state-owned Dubai World, which also includes DP World, a container port handler that was forced by lawmakers in the United States to sell its US assets […]

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Data shows recession in some US states, industries

Economists see signs damage is spreading to states; industries now unaffected (WASHINGTON) A wide range of data from the government, private corporations and independent analysts paints a picture of a nation that is already in recession in some states and industries, while much of the nation and big parts of the economy have suffered little. […]

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LATEST US DATA: Housing starts plunge 14% in December

Building permits post biggest fall in 12 years as housing slump deepens (WASHINGTON) Builders in the US broke ground in December on fewer houses than forecast, making 2007’s decline in homebuilding the worst in almost three decades. The 14 per cent decrease to an annual rate of 1.006 million, the lowest since 1991, followed a […]

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Sub-prime losses could near half a trillion dollars: study

TOKYO – Potential losses from US mortgage woes could top US$460 billion worldwide with aftershocks to be felt until late 2008, a Japanese private think tank estimated on Friday. The Japan Research Institute said in a report that combined losses to be suffered by financial institutions and investors worldwide could reach US$463.6 billion ‘in the […]

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Bush, Bernanke back economic rescue plan

No specifics yet, but package is likely to include tax rebates (WASHINGTON) US President George W Bush and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday embraced calls for an economic stimulus package to avert recession. Mr Bernanke said that such a plan should be quickly implemented and temporary so that it will not complicate longer-term fiscal […]

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Merrill takes US$11.5b sub-prime writedown

Largest US broker posts first full-year loss since 1989 (NEW YORK) Merrill Lynch reported a second straight quarterly loss after writing down US$11.5 billion of subprime mortgages and bonds, ousting its chief executive officer and losing almost half of its market value in 2007. New York-based Merrill said yesterday that it suffered a fourth-quarter net […]

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Buddy, can you spare a few billion dollars?

US banks seek foreign govt, other funds, but for how long will they be obliged? (NEW YORK) First hard-pressed Wall Street banks turned to rich foreign governments for help. Now, they are seeking aid from the likes of New Jersey and big mutual funds to bolster their weakened finances. Citigroup and Merrill Lynch said on […]

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1,098 HDB flats now open for balloting

THE Housing Board yesterday launched a ballot for the sale of 1,098 flats in Bedok, Clementi, Queenstown and Jurong West with demand for public housing staying on the boil. The flats are surplus units from the board’s Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, which relocates residents from ageing blocks to new ones nearby. Such flats are […]

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Home prices stay firm even as property stocks retreat

Amid weak sentiment in a quiet market, many players are adopting a wait-and-see attitude SINGAPORE’S property stocks have been taking a hammering lately but the property market has so far remained unscathed. After riding the boom to dizzy heights, property counters have now dropped by up to 60 per cent or so from their high […]

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Nominal wages could rise 5% this year: Survey

SINGAPORE employees can expect a hefty 5 per cent pay rise this year, on average, according to a new survey, up from 4.5 per cent last year. However, a rising inflation rate could mean their real spending power barely changes, despite the rise. The survey, carried out by human resources organisation ECA International, is based […]

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CHINESE ECONOMY’S SUPER-GROWTH

‘Growth’ problems won’t go away yet THE Chinese economy, having chalked up an average growth rate of 9.7 per cent for over two decades, sustained another year of double-digit growth last year, at 11.5 per cent. This was first announced by Premier Wen Jiabao on Nov 20 last year whilst visiting Singapore. Soon after this, […]

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Export growth slumps to slowest pace in five years

2.3% figure is well under official forecasts of between 4% and 6% growth A SURPRISE contraction last month capped a disappointing year for Singapore exports, which missed official targets as growth slumped to its slowest pace in five years. Expansion last year hit just 2.3 per cent, well under official forecasts of between 4 and […]

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Lie low till next quarter, Credit Suisse tells investors

THE Singapore stock market will continue its wild swings for the next few months – so keep clear. That was the health warning from Credit Suisse’s head of Asian equity research, Ms Fan Cheuk Wan, who believes the bourse will start to stabilise and head north in the second quarter. She estimates that regional markets […]

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Borrowing costs swell as banks clamp down

NEW YORK – STUNG by billions of dollars in bad debts, banks in the United States are clamping down on loans, making borrowing costlier for the consumers and companies that are the best hope for keeping the US economy out of recession. Economists are increasingly worried that reluctant banks plus skittish borrowers will create a […]

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Fed chief backs quick action to help US economy

But Bernanke says Fed is not forecasting recession; Bush also sees need for fiscal stimulus WASHINGTON – FEDERAL Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday threw his support behind efforts to craft a fiscal stimulus package, and repeated that the United States central bank was ready to act aggressively to counter recession risks. The remarks came shortly […]

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Forget forecasts, US may be in recession already

Misreading economy not unusual due to mixed signals from various sectoral data WASHINGTON – FOR all the complex ways in gathering economic data and crunching it at the speed of light, predicting recessions is still an inexact science. ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ said Mr Bill Clinton and he was elected President in 1992 on promises […]

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Merrill’s losses in fourth quarter balloon to $14b

Write-downs of $21b force world’s largest brokerage to declare worst-ever quarterly hit NEW YORK – MERRILL Lynch, the world’s largest brokerage, lost nearly S$10 billion (S$14.3 billion) in the fourth quarter, its biggest quarterly loss since it was founded 94 years ago, after reporting US$14.6 billion (S$20.9 billion) in write-downs. Of the five biggest Wall Street […]

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Next wave of US housing woes could come from the rich

At risk are owners who bought too many homes or borrowed too much against them HINSDALE (ILLINOIS) – A HOUSE in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Hinsdale, Illinois, is far beyond the reach of most Americans. Unfortunately, Hinsdale may also now be too expensive even for some of the people who already live there. ‘There […]

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US hurdles force Dubai state fund to look to China

Istithmar among such funds seeking out less developed markets to avoid excessive scrutiny DUBAI government investment agency Istithmar is considering investments in China, after being rebuffed in the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Istithmar comes under the umbrella of state-owned Dubai World, which also includes Dubai Ports World (DP World), a container […]

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US may get economic stimulus plan in 30 days

Package on fast track in Congress after rival parties reach agreement WASHINGTON – AN ECONOMIC stimulus package to avert a possible recession in the United States could be passed within 30 days, a leading US congressman said. The package is on the fast track in Congress after Democratic and Republican leaders in the US House […]

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UK housing market falls in Dec

Worst performance since aftermath of 1992 recession (LONDON) UK real estate professionals said that December was the worst month for the housing market since the aftermath of Britain’s last recession in 1992. The number of real estate agents and surveyors saying that prices fell exceeded those reporting gains by 49.1 percentage points, the Royal Institution […]

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Marina Bay Suites priced around $3,000 psf

Over 600 potential buyers, half foreigners, have registered interest to buy units in 221-unit project   AT around $3,000 psf, the next luxury development to go on sale – Marina Bay Suites – looks like it could actually be quite reasonably priced, especially as luxury home prices have trended towards the $4,000 psf range. Revealing […]

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All eyes on Fed as main line of defence against recession

Many sceptical that spending measures, tax cuts will help (CHICAGO) Concern that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cuts will have a limited impact on economic growth, and may risk fuelling inflation, have led to calls for a fiscal policy boost for the US economy. But many are sceptical that Congress or the White House can […]

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Another bid to stop sale of Gillman Heights

A GROUP of minority owners at the Gillman Heights condominium is making another bid to stop the $548 million collective sale of the huge estate in Alexandra Road. They filed a High Court appeal yesterday against last month’s decision by the Strata Titles Board (STB) to approve the sale to CapitaLand and other parties. Among […]

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Marina Bay Suites to go on sale this month

PREVIEW sales of the posh Marina Bay Suites will start before the end of the month, even though sentiment in the property market remains weak and the stock market is very rocky. About a year ago, apartments like this – in the new downtown and preferably with a bay view – were setting new price […]

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Little-known trader made billions from sub-prime bust

THE big losers in the United States sub-prime crisis are well-known – Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and UBS. But probably the biggest winner is Mr John Paulson, a little-known hedge fund manager who made an estimated US$3 billion to US$4 billion (S$4.3 billion to S$5.7 billion) for himself from the crisis – believed to be the […]

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Real estate firm’s offices smashed after closures

Customers and staff lash out; company blames China govt policies for its woes BEIJING – EMPLOYEES and customers of a leading real estate company have smashed its offices after the closure of some 1,000 of its branches across China. Chuanghui said it had closed more than half of its 1,800 outlets since October. A company […]

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Rise in US consumer prices largest in 17 years

WASHINGTON – UNITED States consumer prices rose 0.3 per cent last month and for all of 2007 they shot up at the fastest rate in 17 years, largely because of soaring energy costs, the US Labour Department reported yesterday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most broadly used gauge of inflation, rose 4.1 per cent […]

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US recession fears send Asian markets into a tailspin

STI, Hang Seng suffer big drops; bank and tech stocks, energy and base metal prices also hit STOCK markets across Asia plummeted yesterday amid fears that a gathering financial storm in the United States might tip the global economy into a recession. Hong Kong was the worst hit as the Hang Seng Index plunged an […]

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MARKET TUMBLE: Bank stocks hit by US recession, sub-prime fears

Sell-off symptomatic of broader sell-down, slowing in S’pore’s economy: analysts BANK stocks were clobbered yesterday on continuing concerns of a possible recession in the United States, subprime lending woes and a general slowing down of the Singapore economy. This comes on the back of the news that Citigroup reported its biggest loss in its 196-year […]

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HK’s Far East to spin off hotels into US$513m Reit

It’ll own up to 75% of the trust and expects HK$1.22b gain from the move (HONG KONG) Far East Consortium International Ltd plans to spin off its hotels into a property trust worth at least US$513 million to raise funds to repay loans and start new property projects. The planned initial public offer (IPO), announced […]

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Transitional office site fetches just one bid

Mezzo’s $7.8m offer for Aljunied site also below expectations INTRODUCED as a quick fix to address the shortage of office space, the new transitional office sites may just as quickly become redundant. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) closed the tender for the fourth transitional office site at Aljunied Road and Geylang East Avenue 1 yesterday […]

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Las Vegas Sands draws down $2b for S’pore IR

LAS Vegas Sands Corp, the world’s largest casino operator by market value, has drawn down $2 billion from its credit facility for the building of a Singapore casino, it said in a statement yesterday. The company is paying an interest margin of 3.6 percentage points more than the 30-day Singapore dollar swap offer rate, it […]

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S’pore economists unfazed as US recession fears grow

They opt to wait for more data before revising growth forecasts FEARS of a United States recession are hitting a fever pitch with the dreaded ‘R’ word mentioned with increasing frequency by American policymakers and economic soothsayers. But the temperature in Singapore is notably lower. Local analysts are sitting tight on their forecasts – for […]

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Oil drops to 3-week low on economic concerns

OIL prices slid below US$91 a barrel yesterday to the lowest level in more than three weeks. This came ahead of a slate of oil industry data that could show more signs of possible weakening demand and as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries repeated its pledge to lift output if needed. US light crude […]

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2008 construction deals seen hitting record $27b

BCA forecast based on strong demand from private sector (SINGAPORE) The value of construction contracts awarded this year will reach $23-27 billion on the back of strong demand from the private sector, according to official estimates released yesterday. Last year, the total value of construction contracts awarded hit $24.5 billion – also mainly due to […]

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Sleepy December takes the shine off sparkling year

Record 14,826 private home sales in 2007, but only 305 in its last month (SINGAPORE) A year that started with a bang ended with a whimper. Developers sold a record 14,826 private homes last year – a third more than the year before. But sales slowed to a trickle in December at only 305, or […]

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CapitaLand, NUS sell Hitachi Tower

CAPITALAND has sold its 50 per cent stake in Hitachi Tower for $403.5 million, the property giant said yesterday. Upon the deal’s completion, CapitaLand will recognise a gain of $110.1 million, it said. The National University of Singapore, which owns the remaining 50 per cent of the Collyer Quay office building, also sold its stake. […]

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Welcome them home at Keppel Bay on Saturday

A GRAND homecoming is planned for the Uniquely Singapore Clipper at Keppel’s new Marina at Keppel Bay on Saturday. The home boat crossed the finish line off Batam, Indonesia in seventh place around 1pm Singapore time yesterday. There are another two Clipper yachts which have yet to finish and they are expected in some time […]

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GIC buys a slice of embattled Citigroup

The US$6.88b investment, with limited downside, makes it potentially one of the global bank’s largest shareholders (SINGAPORE) It’s two giant purchases in as many months. The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) is investing US$6.88 billion in Citigroup through a private offering of convertible preferred securities, it said yesterday. The downside is limited as the […]

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Familiar strain of worry weighs heavy

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT THE pattern of trading over the past month or so has been the same and yesterday was no different – shortcovering lifted the index temporarily in the morning before renewed weakness and shorting resumed soon afterward. The cue for short-covering is usually either an overnight rebound on Wall Street, or a rise in […]

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