Archive | February, 2008

Property sector braces for tougher times in 2008

Players feel squeeze from more credit woes and soaring construction costs THE property market in Singapore is set to face a challenging year ahead as it continues to take hits from the sub-prime crisis in the United States and rising construction costs, industry body Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) said. ‘Unfortunately, the sub-prime […]

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Parkway justifies record land bid with vision for a ‘hospital of the future’

Focus will be on cardiology, oncology and orthopaedics (SINGAPORE) Parkway Holdings will be building on its newly-acquired Novena site what it calls a ‘hospital of the future’, that will incorporate a hub of top medical professionals, with the latest technology, organised along a high level of thoughtfulness for the patient. Speaking to the press and […]

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Office rents in Singapore on upward climb: property firms

THE occupancy cost for office space in Singapore is now higher than in Hong Kong, according to a new report. Data from property firm CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) show that total occupancy cost here hit US$10.42 per square foot per month (psf pm) at the end of 2007. By comparison, total occupancy cost for Hong […]

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Tanjong Pagar hotel site may fetch $750 psf ppr

CONTINUING its rollout of hotel sites amid the current shortage of hotel rooms, the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday made available for application a reserve-list site in the Tanjong Pagar area. The 99-year leasehold site, at the corner of Gopeng Street and Peck Seah Street, can be developed into a 30-storey hotel with about 330 hotel […]

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2 good class bungalows on Leedon Road up for sale

A PAIR of recently completed Good Class Bungalows at 37 and 39 Leedon Road are being launched by their developer George Lim. His asking price is about $35 million for each bungalow. The plots’ land areas are 22,000 square feet and 21,000 sq ft respectively. Each five-bedroom, two-storey freehold house has a basement garage for […]

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Maybank’s home loan promotion creates a buzz

Other banks won’t get into price war, says OCBC’s chief executive (SINGAPORE) Maybank’s promotional home loan package has apparently drawn massive interest from new home buyers and home owners looking to refinance. But at least one bank here has come out to say that this is unlikely to spark a mortgage price war in Singapore. […]

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$6.4b Budget surplus poser: Was GST hike needed last year?

The question may be visited during the Budget debate (SINGAPORE) The $6.4 billion bumper Budget surplus racked up in FY2007 has begged the question – was there a need to raise the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by two percentage points last July, if at all? The issue has surfaced in Budget talk public and […]

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Singapore’s Olympic dream comes true

It wins right to host YOG 2010; SMEs poised to ride branding boom (SINGAPORE) Shortly after 7pm yesterday, the Padang erupted. The two-horse, Moscow-versus-Singapore race to host the very first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010 had just seen Singapore breast the tape first, and everyone – from the Prime Minister to the other VIPs […]

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Japan’s exports improve despite US slowdown

Rising import costs due to surging oil, gas prices cause big trade deficit in Jan IN TOKYO FACED with slowing demand in the US market, Japan’s exports still managed to improve last month on the back of solid sales to other parts of Asia and to Europe. But surging oil and natural gas prices pushed […]

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US Fed to focus on growth with possible risk of inflation

Most other central banks put a single goal above all others: stable prices (WASHINGTON) A nightmare scenario of rising prices and falling growth emerged on Wednesday as the US government reported that consumer prices are surging even as the beleaguered housing sector remains stuck in its worst slump in a quarter century. The combination of […]

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US growth forecast cut but S’pore economists unperturbed

Outlook for Republic has already factored in a more severe slowdown for US THE Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut its forecast for United States economic growth, but the move left American investors and economists in Singapore unfazed. The US central bank now expects the world’s biggest economy to expand between 1.3 per cent and 2 […]

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Quieter property market but outlook favourable in long run

THE real estate roller coaster that developers have ridden in recent years has taken a sharp turn, thanks to United States sub-prime woes, and left the industry wondering what is coming next. ‘Six months ago, we were concerned about the market exuberance,’ said Mr Simon Cheong, the president of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of […]

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Development fees may jump for non-residential sites

For residential areas where strong land sales have lifted values, charges could surge DEVELOPERS may soon have to pay more to redevelop non-residential sites such as land for hotels or hospitals. A key government fee for redeveloping sites will be revised again next month, and property consultants expect it to be raised for land used […]

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DELISTING A SUBSIDIARY

CapitaLand raises Ascott stake to 91.7% CAPITALAND is on track to delist its serviced apartment unit, The Ascott Group, after lifting its stake in the firm to 91.7 per cent. The property giant said yesterday that once its offer expires next Tuesday, Ascott shares ‘may be suspended’ by the Singapore Exchange. CapitaLand has stated its […]

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‘US has slipped into recession’

NEW YORK – THE United States economy is in a recession, albeit a mild one, as a weakening consumer sector has compounded ongoing problems in the housing and credit markets, according to UBS economists. ‘It’s not coming. It’s here,’ UBS said in a research report on Wednesday. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday sharply lowered its […]

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It’s Singapore 2010

An honour and privilege for everyone, says PM Lee; now for the countdown to the main event THE news that Singapore waited over seven months for came at precisely 7.11pm yesterday, broadcast live via satellite link from Lausanne in Switzerland. It was delivered by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge, who simply said: ‘The […]

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Mass-market safe, high-end may take a hit

Property players sketch the best and worst-case scenarios for private homes in 2008 (SINGAPORE) Luxury-home prices could fall by up to 20 per cent in 2008, assuming sub-prime woes don’t end this year. But the mass market may hold its own or ease 5-10 per cent at most. This was the worst-case scenario according to […]

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Plan to defer public works will have little impact: report

Delaying $3b worth of projects won’t help relieve building demand, says RLB CONSTRUCTION industry experts are seeking to play down the significance of the government’s moves to ease the pressure on the industry’s costs. The government is intending to defer an additional $1 billion worth of public-sector projects to help the industry – a move […]

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Recent crises serve as wake-up calls

Focus on corporate governance; S’pore updating Companies Act: Lim Hwee Hua (SINGAPORE) Think of the huge fraudulent trading losses at Societe Generale. Or think of the sub-prime mortgage fallout. The recent crises that have rocked the financial sector have also brought corporate governance under the spotlight, Minister of State for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee […]

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$200m note issue from HDB

THE Housing and Development Board (HDB) launched a $200 million, two year fixed-rate note issue yesterday under its $7 billion medium-term note programme. The issue will have a coupon of 1.64 per cent per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears, HDB said. The notes will be issued in denominations of $250,000 and will be offered to […]

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India’s Primary Real Estate plans US$500m fund

(HONG KONG) Indian fund manager Primary Real Estate Advisors is planning to launch a fund worth as much as US$500 million, probably in the second half of this year, but said it will tread carefully as the country’s property boom stutters. Foreign investors have taken advantage of such funds to rush into property development in […]

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Budget 2008: Businesses highlight what’s ‘wanting’

Panelists cite lack of measures to cut business costs, tackle manpower crunch IT’S not just relief from rising costs that businesses find wanting in the 2008 Budget. They could also do with help to tackle a growing manpower crunch, a Budget seminar heard yesterday. Panelists at PricewaterhouseCooper’s seminar on the Singapore Budget cited the lack […]

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Budget 2008: Businesses highlight what’s ‘wanting’

Panelists cite lack of measures to cut business costs, tackle manpower crunch IT’S not just relief from rising costs that businesses find wanting in the 2008 Budget. They could also do with help to tackle a growing manpower crunch, a Budget seminar heard yesterday. Panelists at PricewaterhouseCooper’s seminar on the Singapore Budget cited the lack […]

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US commercial property prices slip 1.5% in Dec

(LOS ANGELES) Commercial real estate prices in the United States dropped 1.5 per cent in December, the second consecutive monthly decline, indicating that the market is at the start of a slump, Moody’s Investors Service Inc said. The 1.5 per cent fall measured by the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices is worse than the 0.2 […]

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LATEST US DATA: US inflation gathering steam

Core readings above market forecasts; more grim news on the property front (NEW YORK) US inflation accelerated in January in a worrying sign for the Federal Reserve’s campaign to bolster the flagging economy, while a separate report yesterday showed more troubling signs for the beleaguered housing market. Annual consumer price inflation increased to an unexpectedly […]

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Weak US$ lures foreign buyers to US property

Florida is the most popular state, accounting for 26% of all transactions (MIAMI) Canadian retiree Sheldon Kovensky felt the lure that attracts so many foreign buyers to sunny Florida these days – falling prices for luxurious oceanfront condos that can be bought with weak US dollars. Mr Kovensky has been scouring south Florida from Miami […]

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STRONG FULL-YEAR GAINS: UOL still bullish on office rentals

OFFICE rents have been skyrocketing over the past 12 months but property group UOL Group reckons there will still be further rises to come. The firm reported stellar full-year results yesterday. It said rents for retail space should benefit from high levels of employment, as well as strong tourist arrivals, although the pace of increase […]

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CapitaLand, HPL sue eight owners of Gillman Heights

Developers claim contract breach as owners seek ruling over validity of sale A GROUP of home owners in Gillman Heights Condominium are being sued by the estate’s buyers for alleged breach of contract. They face legal action by CapitaLand and Hotel Properties (HPL), which have agreed to buy the sprawling 607-unit estate in Alexandra Road. […]

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US homes market weakens while consumer prices rise

WASHINGTON – PERMITS to break new ground on US homes last month dipped 3 per cent to the lowest rate in more than 16 years while housing starts rose 0.8 per cent, showing signs of more struggles ahead for the homes market. Consumer prices in the United States also rose for a second straight month […]

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TAKING STOCK: Inflation worries hammer STI and regional bourses

NO SOONER does the market show some spark than another bout of bad news clobbers it back down again. Yesterday, it was inflation concerns after oil rose above the US$100 a barrel mark. Red ink flowed from the word go. The Straits Times Index (STI) opened lower and kept spiralling downwards, losing more than 78 […]

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MAS fears Asia will hurt if US engine seizes

A negative spiral can take hold, affecting even the real economy (SINGAPORE) A sharp and deep recession in the United States will hit Asian economies, warned Heng Swee Kiat, managing director, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), yesterday. And in his first public comment on the global financial turmoil, Mr Heng said the credit crisis has […]

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Only one way to go for yuan – up, say analysts

Rapid economic growth, soaring inflation leave China with no choice (BEIJING) China has no choice other than to let the yuan appreciate against the dollar, analysts say. The combination of the world’s fastest economic growth, the highest inflation rate in 11 years and the rising cost of intervention will force gains in the yuan to […]

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Inflation in China hits 11-year high, set to rise further

(BEIJING) China’s inflation rose to its highest level in more than 11 years in January after devastating snowstorms worsened food shortages, according to data reported yesterday, and analysts warned there might be sharper increases to come. Consumer prices in January climbed 7.1 per cent from the same month last year, driven by an 18.2 per […]

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Rising costs, strapped consumers squeeze top US foodmakers

(CHICAGO) For more than a year, food makers and other consumer products companies have passed on much of the burden of rising commodity costs to consumers. In fact, companies like H J Heinz and Hormel Foods proved again with earnings forecasts and announcements on Friday that this was still the case early this year, fuelling […]

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Jurong Lake area: Big changes planned

URA in talks with stakeholders about plans for tourism, retail and entertainment centre A WAVE of changes has been planned for Jurong Lake. Government officials and industry captains have met and discussed the area’s potential as a commercial, retail and entertainment centre. Preliminary discussions centred on developing office space, a commercial centre with retail shops, […]

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Falling stock volumes reflect bearish market

Many investors stay on sidelines despite STI’s rebound from last month’s drop THE stock market’s recovery after the nasty pre-Chinese New Year selldown was nothing short of spectacular, but the headline numbers tell only half the story. While the Straits Times Index (STI) has shot up 5.7 per cent, or 166 points, in the last […]

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Parkway dives 8.3% on record bid for site

Winning bid of $1,600 psf ppr for Novena hospital site is over twice the second highest offer   SHARES of Parkway Holdings took a beating yesterday as concerns emerged that the healthcare provider might have overpaid for a hospital site at Novena. Parkway’s stock slipped as much as 9.7 per cent yesterday following Friday’s news […]

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Modest weekend sales at Waterfront Waves

IN A bellwether post-Budget property launch, Frasers Centrepoint and Far East Organization sold 20 units at the weekend at their Waterfront Waves condo fronting Bedok Reservoir. The project was officially launched at the weekend with the start of an advertising campaign. The sales brought the total sold so far at the 99-year leasehold project to […]

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Merchant Square and Waldorf Mansions up for sale

MERCHANT Square, a four-storey office building off Merchant Road, is up for sale with a guide price of $73 million. With a total net lettable area (NLA) of about 50,262 square feet, the unit price works out to $1,450 psf of NLA. The property, which was developed by carpet manufacturer Jackson Carpet and completed in […]

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Maybank’s home loan rate cut sets cat among pigeons

Analysts divided on whether this will signal undercutting among the banks (SINGAPORE) Maybank has fired a salvo that could shake up the home loan market here by slashing its rates. This has led to speculation that banks might start to undercut each other to drum up business. Meanwhile, the banks themselves are adopting a cautious […]

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278 HDB flats swamped by 9,900 applications

Unsuccessful buyers urged to consider build-to-order flats THE Housing and Development Board received 9,900 applications for 278 flats offered in its February bi-monthly sale. Most of the units offered are four-room flats, plus 64 five-room units and 20 executive flats in 13 estates. There are 119 units in Toa Payoh and 39 in Tampines. HDB […]

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CPF to keep OA interest rate at 2.5% for Apr-June

THE Central Provident Board said yesterday that it will continue to pay 2.5 per cent interest a year for members’ CPF savings in their Ordinary Account (OA) from April 1 to June 30. The concessionary interest rate for HDB mortgage loan, which is pegged at 0.1 percentage point above the CPF interest rate for the […]

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Amex signs up for Marina Bay Financial Centre

It is said to be taking 50,000 sq ft in Tower 2, in the project’s 1st phase AMERICAN Express International is the latest new tenant at Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC), which means that slightly more than half of the total 2.9 million square feet of offices in the entire development has been taken up. […]

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Invesco eyeing real estate in China, Japan

Global fund firm poised to make first direct investments in Asia property (HONG KONG) Global fund firm Invesco hopes to make its first direct investments in Asian property this year,  with Chinese housing and Japanese offices at the top of its wish list as global economic uncertainty throws up new buying opportunities. Cheng-Soon Lau, who […]

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Chinese developer bond risk rises to a record

(HONG KONG) The risk of Chinese real estate developers defaulting on their debt soared to a record on concern they will seek to sell securities after Country Garden Holdings Co completed its first convertible bond sale. Three-year credit-default swaps on Country Garden traded at 1,100 basis points at 4:27pm in Hong Kong, according to BNP […]

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Two more govt agencies to vacate downtown offices

IDA, SLA making room for private businesses to ease office shortage MORE help is on the way to ease Singapore’s office shortage, which has led to soaring rents. At least two government agencies will give up their downtown offices to make room for private businesses that need more space. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will […]

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Merchant Square on sale for $73m

A MODEST office development with well-known cosmetics company Estee Lauder as its anchor tenant is up for sale at an indicative price of $73 million. The price for the 99-year leasehold Merchant Square – located in Merchant Road, opposite Riverside Point – works out to $1,450 per sq ft (psf) of net lettable area. The […]

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Day of reckoning for banks hit by US mortgage crisis

WASHINGTON – IT IS D-Day for the world’s big banks as they finalise last year’s results and try to account for the full scale of the credit upheaval spawned by the United States sub-prime crisis that threatens to stall the global economy. Over the next two weeks, most major US banks will file annual reports […]

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CPF floating rate to be announced next month

THE interest rate for the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Special, Medisave and Retirement accounts (SMRA) for April to June this year will be announced next month, after the average yield of the 10-year Singapore Government Security (SGS) is computed, said the CPF Board yesterday. The SMRA is based on the average yield of the 10-year […]

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Capital will keep flowing into Asia, says fund manager

CAPITAL will keep flowing into Asia despite the turbulence across global stock markets, according to a senior executive of an international fund manager. Fidelity International’s global head of institutional investment, Mr Michael Gordon, said long-term investors remain positive on Asia’s prospects, as the region is not plagued by debt problems being witnessed elsewhere in the […]

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China, wary of social unrest, scrambles to contain food prices

It wants to avoid mistakes of 1988 as inflation hits 10-year high of 6.9% (HONG KONG) Rocketing food prices in China have sown deep concern among the communist leadership, ever wary of social unrest, as they fumble to control inflation without repeating past mistakes, analysts say. Overall inflation in China is running at a 10-year […]

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Indian govt struggles to keep food prices down

Surge in global food prices hits millions of people in India (NEW DELHI) Anand’s restaurant has served flat bread, lentils and vegetables to loyal customers every day for four decades but for the past year he’s been on the receiving end of almost non-stop complaints. ‘They argue because we’ve raised prices. But we had to […]

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Price of oil for delivery in 2015 hits fresh high

(LONDON) Oil for delivery in future years is extending record highs, a sign that investors are betting that supply concerns and other factors boosting the cost of crude are unlikely to fade soon. Oil for delivery in December 2015 set a record high of US$92.50 a barrel last Friday. When oil for immediate delivery hit […]

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Sales activity surges to 42 disposals, buying falls to 79 purchases

INSIDE MARKETS Fund manager sentiment turns negative, while companies’ buybacks stay sluggish for third straight week THE buying was low while the sales activity by directors and substantial shareholders was high last week, based on filings on the Singapore Exchange from Feb 11 to 15. A total of 26 companies recorded 79 purchases versus 16 […]

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Investors looking for some clarity on the economy

WALL STREET INSIGHT Focus on consumer price report, results of retail giants AFTER somewhat of a comeback week for US stocks following the previous week’s heavy losses, investors will be forgiven if they feel as though they’ve got no idea what’s coming next. Indeed, the events of the past week alone would normally be enough […]

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Signs of US stagflation will pass off, say economists

Weakening demand will eventually cool inflation, they say (WASHINGTON) A clutch of distressing US economic data on Friday rekindled fears of 1970s-style stagflation, but the current bout of slow growth and rising costs should be short-lived. While there is little hope of a quick reprieve for US consumers coping with petrol around US$3 per gallon […]

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2008 not necessarily like 2007: UBS

(ZURICH) UBS AG does not expect 2008 to be a year like 2007, when the Swiss bank wrote down US $18 billion in bad credits and posted the first loss since its creation, its chief executive was quoted as saying yesterday. ‘I view the environment as difficult due to great uncertainties related to the US […]

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HDB flat still very affordable for average S’porean

Some get up to $88k in subsidies, says Mah Bow Tan; also flats still cheap enough for families to use CPF for full mortgage payments PROPERTY prices may be on the rise but HDB flats still remain very affordable for the average Singaporean, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan emphasised yesterday. That is because families […]

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Budget could have helped more with costs, firms say

Tax rebate and cut in worker levies, fuel taxes among measures sought THE Government’s Budget this year may look like it is hongbaos all around, but companies are disappointed that they are getting little aid with their most pressing challenge – escalating costs. Even as families look forward to generous Budget goodies to help them […]

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Don’t expect big Budget goodies every year: SM Goh

THE generous goodies given out last Friday are the result of a bumper Budget surplus that cannot be expected every year, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong warned yesterday. The surplus was driven by ‘exceptional’ economic growth of 7.7 per cent last year that may not be repeated, he said. And the other conditions that led […]

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IMPROVING OUTLOOK: UBS expects this year to be a better one

ZURICH – UBS does not expect this year to be like the last, when the Swiss bank wrote down US$18 billion (S$25.5 billion) in bad credits and posted the first loss since its creation, its chief executive officer (CEO) was quoted as saying yesterday. ‘I view the environment as difficult due to great uncertainties related […]

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Asia won’t catch flu if US gets a cold, says MM Lee

With China and India propelling it, Asia won’t be ‘unduly disadvantaged’ by a recession in the US ASIA – propelled by the twin engines of China and India – will not be ‘unduly disadvantaged’ if a recession hits the United States, said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last night. ‘I believe this may be the […]

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PROPERTY: Where to find homes at or below $600,000

They include executive condos as well as older private apartments in suburban locations THE property market has quietened considerably this year, but prices have yet to fall. Nevertheless, if you have a modest budget of about $600,000 for a home, your choices are not just confined to HDB flats. Some fairly new executive condominiums as […]

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ME & MY MONEY: He makes room only for property investments

Door company Slide & Hide MD places his faith in real estate in S’pore and China, and blue-chip property stocks HE HAS worked in the construction industry for more than a decade and so it comes as no surprise to learn that Mr Andrew Lim, the managing director of door company Slide & Hide System, […]

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9 in 10 find S’pore an expensive place to live in

Respondents in Sunday Times poll blame higher cost of housing, transport, food and utilities HOUSEWIFE Goh Lay Leng has seen her monthly grocery bills go up by 10 per cent, and that has prompted the mother of four to look for cheaper alternatives. ‘Everything is increasing and we’re spending more. My husband says there’s hardly […]

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BUDGET 2008: THE DAY AFTER: The Government’s Budget Book

The Government’s Budget Book is a fascinating treasure trove of facts and figures about how different ministries are spending their money and what standards they hold themselves to. Fiona Chan and Adam Lee plough through this year’s offering $20.1 million To be spent for the relocation of the People’s Association headquarters $218 million To be […]

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TOP OF THE NEWS: Budget boost for middle class

THIS year’s Budget has helped Singaporeans cope with their top concern – rising prices – by putting cash in the hands of both low-income and middle class workers, said MPs yesterday. While bonuses for the poor and the elderly have been par for the course for several Budgets now, this year’s Budget saw the so-called […]

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BUDGET 2008: THE DAY AFTER – Goodies for many, a tinge of regret for some

The disabled as well as single working women benefited less from this year’s Budget STROKE patient Jason Yap will receive about $750 in total from the Government this year, from growth dividends announced yesterday and goods and service tax (GST) rebates announced last year. Yet the good news has come with a tinge of regret. […]

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BUDGET 2008: STRATEGY – Some govt units moving out to free up city space

20,000 sq m or more will be available to private sector THE government has decided to relocate several agencies out of the Central Area to free up space of 20,000 square metres or more by first quarter next year for use by the private sector. The space being released, which will help to address the […]

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BUDGET 2008: ESTATE DUTY – Analysts hail scrapping of estate duty

Story Print Friendly Page Move will boost S’pore’s economic competitiveness ESTATE duty is finally dead. Tax consultants and financial advisers yesterday hailed the scrapping of the tax – denounced as ‘death duty’ by its opponents – saying that the move would boost the wealth management industry and Singapore’s overall economic competitiveness. Eliminating the tax on […]

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Parkway’s Novena bid poised to set govt land sales record

(SINGAPORE) Hospital operator Parkway Holdings looks set to shatter all records for government land sales (GLS) with its $1.25 billion bid for a hospital site at Novena. Parkway’s bid, which works out to be about $1,600 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), topped the previous record set by Australia’s Lend Lease, which paid […]

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Demand for mass market projects shifts into higher gear

Story Print Friendly Page Developers not keen to release high-end projects in shaky market, say analysts DEVELOPERS’ housing sales figures for January reflect a change in strategy to focus more on mass market projects. Despite the still lacklustre figures for overall developer launches and sales last month, an analysis by Knight Frank shows the number […]

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BUDGET 2008: BUSINESSES (COMMENTARY) – S’pore sharpens new edge in rivalry with Hong Kong

Battle could go beyond taxes to areas like innovation and pacts with other countries BOTH Hong Kong and Singapore have the advantage of proximity and to a certain extent, blood relationship to China. However, as close as they seem ethnically where their majority populations are concerned, they could also not be more different in terms […]

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BUDGET 2008: STRATEGY(COMMENTARY) – Deficit next year? Just don’t bet on it

Wealth management gets a boost, but Tharman keeps his powder dry EVERY year at Budget time, Singapore’s Finance Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, faces a task that must make him the envy of his peers in the rest of the world: he must explain why the nation’s tax revenues were so much higher than originally planned. Like […]

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BUDGET 2008: INDIVIDUALS (COMMENTARY) – Great expectations … dashed for now

One-off rebate can’t make up for an income-tax cut, especially when inflation is expected to rise sharply THE collective groan of disappointment that greeted the government’s announcement of no cuts in personal tax rates this year was just about matched by the cheers that went up when a one-off 20 per cent rebate was subsequently […]

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BUDGET 2008: STRATEGY – Five-pronged strategy to fight inflation

A key problem is imported inflation, especially of food and oil SINGAPORE will adopt a five-prong strategy to tackle inflation which is expected to stay high at 4.5-5.5 per cent this year, more so especially in the first half, said Finance Minister Tharman Shamugaratnam. This includes steps like diversifying the Republic’s food sources and more […]

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China’s economy may grow around 10% in 2008: IMF

Its MD says a faster pace of appreciation of yuan is needed to address economic challenges (BEIJING) China’s economy is likely to grow around 10 per cent this year despite a global slowdown stemming from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said yesterday. Mr Strauss-Kahn said […]

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Priority is curbing inflation: PM Singh

Rising prices last year caused Congress party to lose power in three states (NEW DELHI) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that inflation hurts the poor the most, indicating that controlling prices was the government’s top priority. ‘There have been some impatient editorials about the sacrifice of growth at the altar of inflation,’ Mr Singh […]

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Citigroup funds may be in trouble: paper

(NEW YORK) Citigroup Inc has barred investors in one of its hedge funds from withdrawing their money, and a new leveraged fund lost 52 per cent in its first three months, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The largest US bank suspended redemptions in CSO Partners, a fund specialising in corporate debt, after investors tried […]

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US on verge of recession: Greenspan

(SAN FRANCISCO) Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said the US economy is on the verge of its first recession in six years as falling home values hurt consumer spending. ‘We are clearly on the edge,’ Mr Greenspan told a group of energy-industry executives at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ 27th annual CERAWeek conference in […]

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BUDGET 2008: More office sites in the offing to ease space crunch

AT LEAST 20,000 sq m of office space – equivalent to 20 floors or more of an Suntec City block – will be freed up to help the private sector deal with the space crunch. The initiative will kick in by early next year. Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the tight supply of office space, […]

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New home sales remain low with cautious property market

Developers launching fewer units as fears over US slowdown, stock volatility linger CAUTION remains the watchword in the property market, with buyers still kept on the sidelines by concerns over the United States economy and choppy stock markets. Developers sold just 316 new homes last month – a tad up on the 305 sold in […]

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New trouble brewing as another debt market falters

Investors now refusing to buy US securities regarded not too long ago as safe as cash NEW YORK – SOME investors got a big jolt from Goldman Sachs this week: Goldman, the most celebrated bank on Wall Street, refused to let them withdraw money from investments they had considered as safe as cash. The investments […]

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Estate duty R.I.P.

Death tax removal makes S’pore an attractive place for wealth to be built up, says Tharman IN A LONG awaited move, the Government yesterday read the last rites for the death tax here. The tax, known as estate duty, had been imposed if the assets of a person who died exceeded certain limits. It was […]

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Robust economy, property market lead to $6.4b surplus

THE Government racked up a Budget surplus of $6.45 billion last year, the highest since 1994, outdoing even the most bullish of market forecasts. Unexpectedly strong economic growth and a runaway property market sent tax revenues surging, putting paid to an initial projection of a $700 million deficit. But such a sizzling performance is not […]

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IMF predicts 10% growth in China

Beijing – THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) still sees China’s economy expanding 10 per cent this year. ‘The current financial crisis, which began in the United States housing market, is spreading to affect the real economy in the US and elsewhere,’ IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters in Beijing yesterday. ‘There will be some […]

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US economy: Paulson, Bernanke play it cool

WASHINGTON – THOUGH economic officials have to avoid hysteria so that they don’t cause panic, United States Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before the US Senate banking committee on Thursday, went so far the other way that they seemed bored. Mr Paulson could have been the secretary of ennui […]

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Govt raises inflation forecast, sees peak in H1

Forecast upped to 4.5-5.5% as S’pore feels effect of rising food and oil prices (SINGAPORE) Singapore’s inflation will get worse before it gets better, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said yesterday, expecting inflation to peak in the first half of 2008 before moderating in the second half. The government raised its full-year forecast […]

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Sembawang E&C bags $400m IR contract

SEMBAWANG Engineers and Constructors (SEC) has been awarded a $400 million contract by Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd to build the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort’s (IR) North Podium comprising the casino, theatres and retail arcade. But with a construction period of just 15 months, pressure will already be on Singapore’s biggest construction company to […]

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Playfair Rd site gets bullish top bid of $142 psf ppr

Sim Lian unit’s offer is whopping 63% above second highest bid A 60-YEAR leasehold industrial site at Playfair Road has attracted a top bid of $142 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) from Sim Lian Development unit Trio Link Development – a record price for such a site in the Ubi/Paya Lebar/Eunos area. […]

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Slower growth, higher prices and uphill climb ahead

2008 growth forecast cut to 4-6% in shadow of US uncertainty (SINGAPORE) The Singapore economy will see lower growth and higher inflation this year, but remains wellpoised to ride the upturn when it comes, says the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). Most economists agree. In view of heightened risks in recent months, chiefly a […]

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US economic outlook has worsened: Bernanke

Fed chief signals that he is ready to lower key interest rate (WASHINGTON) Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress yesterday that the United States’ economic outlook has deteriorated and signalled that the central bank is ready to keep on lowering a key interest rate – as needed – to shore things up. In prepared […]

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Singapore cuts growth forecast to 4% to 6%

Concern over a US recession leads to revision; inflation estimate is raised to 4.5%-5.5% SINGAPORE has lowered its economic growth forecast for the year but also tipped that consumer prices are expected to rise faster than previously thought. Concern over a possible United States recession led the Government to trim its growth forecast from an […]

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Economy grows 7.7%, beats expectations

Growth is somewhat dampened by surprise downward revision for fourth quarter SINGAPORE’S economy grew even faster than expected last year, with a robust 7.7 per cent expansion fuelled by the booming construction and services sectors. That was a notch up from an earlier estimate of 7.5 per cent – thanks to upward revisions to growth […]

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Troubled banks want to transfer some mortgage risks to US govt

New proposal for delinquent borrowers to refinance into loans backed by state THE United States banking industry, struggling to contain the fallout from the mortgage debacle, is now proposing to move some of the risk for troubled housing loans to the government, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. One proposal, being urgently advanced by officials […]

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Japan’s growth beats forecasts, but economists remain cautious

TOKYO – JAPAN’S economy grew at double the expected rate in the last quarter of 2007, but some economists saw this as the last hurrah before a slowdown this year. Strong capital spending and exports helped drive quarterly growth to 0.9 per cent, compared with a forecast 0.4 per cent rise, government data showed yesterday. […]

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Revision of DC rates expected to be ‘moderate’

Consultants project smaller DC rate rise for residential and commercial use THE coming March 1 revision of development charge (DC) rates – payable to enhance the use of sites or build bigger projects on them – is generally expected to be more moderate than the past couple of revisions, which imposed steep rises. That’s because […]

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Average monthly household income grows at fastest pace in 10 years

But income inequality widens despite govt effort (SINGAPORE) Income inequality in Singapore widened last year to its most pronounced state since at least the year 2000, with some high-income households enjoying big pay increases while the less well-off saw more modest wage gains, according to a report released yesterday by the Singapore Department of Statistics. […]

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S’pore world’s 7th most expensive office location

Prime office rents rose 78% last year to US$130.48 psf per annum: report SINGAPORE has jumped 10 places to become the world’s seventh-most expensive office location. According to Cushman & Wakefield’s (C&W) report on office occupancy costs, prime office rents rose 78 per cent in Singapore last year. Occupancy costs are now at US$130.48 psf […]

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Property trusts may soon debut in India

Move will encourage foreign real estate funds to partake in construction boom (HONG KONG) India could follow other Asian countries this year in creating a market for real estate investment trusts (Reits), making it easier for investors to buy into the country’s sparkling new office blocks and shopping malls. The move would encourage foreign property […]

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