Archive | February 15, 2008

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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New Zealand property prices, sales slip in Jan

(WELLINGTON) New Zealand house prices fell and sales dropped in January as the previously hot market continued to cool, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (Reinz) said yesterday. The Reinz national median house price fell 1.4 per cent to NZ$340,000 (S$379,000) from December, but was 4 per cent higher than a year earlier. Institute […]

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Global commercial property sales top US$1t mark

(LOS ANGELES) Global commercial real estate sales rose to US$1.04 trillion for the first time last year, driven by Blackstone Group LP’s purchase of Equity Office Properties Trust and land transactions in Asia. One third of the total was office space, with nearly 1.2 billion square feet of offices worth US$434 billion changing hands, New […]

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Bernanke ‘upbeat’ US will avoid recession

He tells lawmakers the economy may pick up dramatically (WASHINGTON) US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke voiced optimism in a closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers on Tuesday that the United States would avoid slipping into a recession, Senator Charles Grassley said. ‘He was very upbeat about our not going into recession,’ the Iowa Republican said […]

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IEA’s demand forecast cut on US slowdown

(LONDON) The International Energy Agency, an adviser to 27 industrialised nations, cut its forecast for 2008 global oil demand because of the slowing US economy and said the underlying trend was ‘even weaker’. The agency reduced its forecast for demand this year by 200,000 barrels a day to 87.6 million barrels a day. That lowers […]

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Survey of economists signals US recession

(NEW YORK) According to Wall Street’s forecasters, the recession of 2008 is now unavoidable. That is, if you read between the lines of their predictions. In a survey released on Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, forecasters said on average there was a 47 per cent chance that the economy would shrink in […]

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S’pore is world’s seventh most expensive office market

It jumps 10 spots in global ranking of occupancy costs by property consultancy SINGAPORE has moved into the global top 10 most expensive office markets for the first time due to a severe office shortage. A survey of office costs in 203 locations in 58 countries by global real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield saw […]

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Surging business costs worry Chinese chamber

SURGING business costs, brought on by last year’s increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST), higher office rents and rising oil prices, are chief among the worries of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry members. This was the finding of the chamber’s annual pre-Budget survey sent to all of its 4,000 corporate members […]

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Household incomes up but rich-poor gap widens

THANKS to a booming economy and rising salaries, the average family in Singapore saw its household income rise by 9.6 per cent last year, the biggest increase in at least a decade. But the rich again got richer in 2007. Higher-income households generally enjoyed bigger pay hikes than lower-income ones, widening the income gap between […]

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Construction on MRT Downtown Line starts, ready by 2013

A GROUNDBREAKING ceremony in Chinatown yesterday marked the start of construction of the $12billion, 40-kilometre Downtown MRT line. The ceremony, conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), took place at the Chinatown station on Downtown Line (DTL) Stage 1. Chinatown is one of six stations on the 4.3km fully underground line, which is scheduled to […]

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Global tech outlook cut on US recession fears

(SAN FRANCISCO) Two leading technology research firms have cut global technology outlook for this year, citing the risk of a US recession. Forrester Research Inc said it now expects global technology purchases to grow 6 per cent in dollar terms this year, down from an earlier projection of 9 per cent. It expects US purchases […]

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Credit crisis spreading far beyond sub-prime loans

Repayments on prime mortgages, credit cards and car loans also affected (NEW YORK) The credit crisis is no longer just a sub-prime mortgage problem. As US home prices fall and banks tighten lending standards, people with good, or prime, credit histories are falling behind on their house payments, car loans and credit cards at a […]

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White House does not expect a recession

(WASHINGTON) The White House predicted on Monday that the economy would escape a recession and that unemployment would remain low this year, though it acknowledged that growth had already slowed. ‘I don’t think we are in a recession right now, and we are not forecasting a recession,’ said Edward Lazear, chairman of the White House […]

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Some small property launches but most still hold back

Developers selling projects abroad first before launching them in Singapore PROPERTY developers are starting to gingerly test the volatile market with a few launches now that the festive season is behind them. Those dipping their toes into the choppy waters, however, are mostly offering smaller projects away from the prime areas, said property agents. Home […]

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2007 Budget surplus expected to hit eight-year high

Figure forecast to reach between $4b and $5b on higher tax revenues THE Government is widely expected to report its largest Budget surplus since the dot.com boom, after a robust economy boosted tax collections last year. Good corporate profits, strong wage growth and a rip-roaring property market are likely to mean that public revenues exceeded […]

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Don’t over-stretch yourselves: MM Lee

Financial prudence in periods of boom will enable S’poreans to ride out bad times MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last night urged Singaporeans not to over-stretch themselves financially in a period of boom, so that in the event of bad times, they would be better able to ride out the cycle. Describing the effect of […]

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Q4 GDP seen shrinking by 3.4%: poll

But Singapore not expected to slide into recession SINGAPORE’S economy probably shrank in the fourth quarter by an annualised 3.4 per cent, weaker than an advance government estimate and the first quarterly contraction since 2003, a Reuters poll showed. The preliminary government estimate suggested the economy shrank an annualised 3.2 per cent in the final […]

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Stanchart joining quest for space in Changi

Bank seeks to build complex of up to 400,000 sq ft to house backroom operations: sources STANDARD Chartered looks set to be the next financial institution to head out east to Changi Business Park (CBP), which is fast becoming a hub for financial backroom operations. Already, Citibank, Credit Suisse, DBS and OCBC have either staked […]

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HDB offers 278 flats for sale

By end of yesterday, there were 2,224 online applications THE Housing and Development Board launched the sale of 278 flats in various towns and estates yesterday. And by the end of the day the units were many times subscribed, with 2,224 online applications received. Most of the units are four-room flats, plus 64 five-room units […]

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Developer stocks may rise above flat property prices

Goldman says that physical market correction already priced in (SINGAPORE) Goldman Sachs predicts that private home prices will remain flat this year, but is sticking to its view that Singapore’s strong structural story is driving a sustainable multi-year residential upswing. The US bank does not expect a repeat of the mid-1996 (anti-speculation) regulatory measures that […]

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Ayala Land bullish on Philippine housing market

(MANILA) Ayala Land, the Philippines’ biggest developer, plans to sell more homes this year, betting that housing demand will shrug off the impact of an economic slowdown in the US, the Philippines’ largest export market. The company will sell more than the 4,404 lots and condominiums that it sold last year, chief financial officer Jaime […]

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New Zealand house price growth slows as demand cools

(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) House prices in New Zealand rose at the slowest pace in a year last month as record-high interest rates and rising living costs curbed demand for property. Prices climbed 8.9 per cent in January from a year earlier, moderating from a 10 per cent increase in December, Quotable Value New Zealand Ltd, […]

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British home repossessions at 8-year high

(LONDON) British home repossessions last year hit their highest level since 1999 and are likely to increase, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said last Friday. The trade group said that more than 27,000 homes were repossessed in 2007 and forecast that repossessions would rise to a total 45,000 in 2008 – still far fewer […]

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Australia’s home loan approvals rise in December

Increased lending shows economy is weathering higher interest rates (SYDNEY) Australia’s home loan approvals unexpectedly rose in December to a six-month high as jobs growth and wage gains underpinned demand for property. The number of loans granted to people to build or buy houses or apartments climbed 0.1 per cent to 65,645 from November, the […]

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MEDIA & MARKETING: Newspapers still among top media platforms

Despite hype over Internet, traditional forms of advertising still have edge: Poll DESPITE the buzz and hype surrounding advertising on social networking and other Internet sites, newspapers still trounced other media as the most effective marketing platform last year. This is because newspapers and other traditional forms of media still have a far wider reach, […]

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2,224 in HDB line and it’s only Day 1

A BATCH of 278 surplus Housing Board flats in established towns like Bedok, Geylang and Toa Payoh drew more than 2,200 buyers within hours of going on sale yesterday. Buyers have until Feb 18 to submit online applications for a computer ballot that will fix their position in the queue to pick a flat. The […]

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Stock of surplus flats vanishing fast

Buyers on tight budgets looking for finished flats will be vying for fewer units THE Housing Board’s offer of 278 surplus flats in mature towns yesterday will be likely to slash its stock of readily available units to less than 2,000, down from 17,500 in 2002. Surging demand and a shortage of affordable completed property […]

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A touch of glass for Moulmein HDB flats

RESIDENTS of HDB flats in Cambridge and Owen Roads will be the first in Singapore to get see-through, bubble lifts like those found in hotels and shopping malls. They will be up and running by next year, said Minister of State (Education) Lui Tuck Yew yesterday at a Chinese New Year dinner for Tanjong Pagar […]

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MM confident S’pore will ride out global slowdown

US troubles won’t hurt Asia for the first time, thanks to investments and region’s resilience SINGAPORE will do well despite trouble in the global economy, said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. And, for the first time, Asia will not tip into recession even though the United States economy is faltering, he said at his annual […]

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Firms hope for tax measures that help combat rising costs

Faced with possibility of global slowdown, they call for Budget moves to ease inflation pressures TAX relief to help businesses cope with spiralling costs is the key item that just about every company in Singapore is clamouring for in this Friday’s Budget. Companies are unanimous in calling for more government help to combat rising inflation. […]

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US-linked worries drag Asian markets down

Delayed reaction due to holiday break as recession fears dog investors ASIAN stock markets were battered yesterday, after a four-day break for the new lunar year failed to dispel the same old fears that have been unnerving investors. Steep falls on Wall Street last week had a delayed reaction here as markets waited to re-open […]

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Write-downs from sub-prime problems could touch $568b

German minister sounds warning as officials await audits from banks THE bloodbath is not over yet. Sub-prime-related write- offs may hit US$400 billion (S$567.8 billion) – more than treble the US$130 billion losses that Wall Street banks and other financial institutions have revealed in recent weeks, according to the world’s top finance officials. Speaking on […]

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