Archive | February 18, 2008

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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