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S’pore, US among top destinations for rich Chinese migrants – The Straits Times 4 Nov 11

About 60 percent of the rich Chinese people, each of whom has a net asset of at least 60 million yuan (S$12.12 million), said they intended to migrate from China, a report has found. About 14 per cent of them have either already migrated from China or have applied for migration. The three most favoured […]

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US crisis deepens as home owners turn to short-term loans

The Straits Times March 25, 2008 Such ‘payday loans’ come with high interest rates, piling on the debts CLEVELAND (OHIO) – AS HUNDREDS of thousands of American home owners fall behind on their mortgage payments, more are turning to short-term loans with sky- high interest rates to get by. While hard figures are hard to […]

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Opportunistic investors recoil from Asia property

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 They see more scope for picking up cheaper properties in US, Europe; loans in Japan tougher (HONG KONG) Opportunistic investors are pulling back from Asian property because they see more scope for picking up distressed assets in the United States and Europe, and loans are harder to get in […]

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Property investors set sights on market trough in US, Europe

March 11, 2008 HONG KONG – OPPORTUNISTIC investors are pulling back from Asian property because they see more scope for picking up distressed assets in the United States and Europe. Hedge funds have stopped dabbling in property in the region, fund managers say. Although private equity firms will continue to develop property in India and […]

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New rules ‘must keep sub-prime market open’

SPRINGFIELD (ILLINOIS) – LAWMAKERS must not be too heavy-handed as they react to the collapse of the United States sub-prime mortgage market and end up closing this source of credit forever, a senior Federal Reserve policymaker said yesterday. St Louis Fed president William Poole said the sub-prime market was now basically shut and might never […]

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Citigroup to sell, close some US branches: WSJ

(NEW YORK) Citigroup has agreed to sell its network of retail banking branches in Amarillo, Texas, and plans to shutter other branches in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Wednesday.Citibank, its retail banking unit, has agreed to sell branches in Amarillo to local lender Happy State Bank for an […]

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Existing home sales stay at just short of record low

Home foreclosures and rate of homes entering the process at record highs in Q4 (WASHINGTON) Industry data released yesterday show January pending US home sales were below analysts’ expectations and remained at the second-lowest reading on record. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes held at […]

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Fed and Bush moving closer to mortgage rescue

Bernanke calls for more action by banks and the govt to help millions of home owners (WASHINGTON) However much they might oppose it on ideological grounds, the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve are inching closer towards a government rescue of distressed home owners and mortgage lenders. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told a group of […]

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Scams and schemes compound woes of US housing crisis

(CHICAGO) As the US housing meltdown forces hundreds of thousands of Americans from their homes, the extent to which fraud was a factor in the crisis is just coming to light.Products such as stated-income loans – known as ‘liar loans’ because no proof of income was needed – led to widespread misrepresentation by borrowers about […]

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The slow unwinding of the US housing crisis

IT is becoming increasingly evident that the US housing crisis – the root cause of the US economic slowdown and the turmoil in the financial markets – is getting worse by the day. Any hopes for an economic recovery and a restoration of market stability will turn on how this crisis unfolds, and how it […]

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US commercial property seen falling by 20%

But office properties should fare relatively well over the near term, say JPMorgan analysts (NEW YORK) The US commercial real estate market could decline by as much as 20 per cent over the next five to eight years as tighter credit squeezes business property but with less ferocity than it choked the housing market. ‘We […]

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US housing woes: It’s the affordability, stupid!

GLOOM. Doom. Calamity. Home prices are tumbling. We’re bombarded by sombre reports. But wait. This is actually good news, because lower home prices are the only real solution to the housing collapse. The sooner prices fall, the better. The longer the adjustment takes, the longer the housing slump (weak sales, low construction, high numbers of […]

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US regulators eye next trouble spots

(WASHINGTON) US regulators are watching credit cards and commercial construction loans for signs they may be the next trouble spots as strained financial markets constrain credit. The housing downturn, with its epicentre in the sub-prime mortgage market, remained atop the list of concerns. But banking regulators and Federal Reserve officials expressed concerns on Tuesday that […]

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US regulators look for signs of credit crisis spreading

They are keeping a keen eye on credit card, home equity and building loans WASHINGTON – UNITED States regulators are watching credit card and commercial construction loans for signs that they may be the next trouble spots as strained financial markets constrain credit. The housing downturn, with its epicentre in the sub- prime mortgage market, […]

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Banks hit by sub-prime may need more cash

Dubai fund chief says much more is needed to rescue Citigroup, others (DUBAI) Banks and securities firms led by Citigroup may need more money from Arab states as losses stemming from the collapse of the US sub-prime mortgage market increase, the head of Dubai International Capital said. Citigroup, the biggest US bank by assets, received […]

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Bernanke urges more action to fix housing slump

Vigorous response needed to reduce rising foreclosures, says Fed chief (WASHINGTON) Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called yesterday for additional action to prevent more distressed US homeowners from falling into foreclosure. ‘This situation calls for a vigorous response,’ Mr Bernanke said in a speech to a banking group in Florida. Even with some relief efforts […]

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Bernanke urges banks to forgive part of mortgages

ORLANDO – FEDERAL Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, battling the worst United States housing recession in a quarter century, has urged lenders to forgive portions of mortgages for more borrowers whose home values have declined. ‘Efforts by both government and private sector entities to reduce unnecessary foreclosures are helping, but more can, and should, be done,’ […]

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US housing crisis deters first-time buyers

US housing crisis deters first-time buyers Greater security seen in renting as home prices fall and foreclosures surge (BOSTON) For decades, buying a home was a key step on the path to financial security for the American middle class. Home owners could count on a fixed mortgage payment rather than rising rent, take advantage of […]

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US existing home sales fall to lowest in a decade

US existing home sales fall to lowest in a decade Weakness in housing market continues as median prices drop 4.6% year-on-year WASHINGTON – SALES of existing United States homes fell to the lowest level in nearly a decade last month, while the median price for a home dropped for the fifth straight month. The National […]

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Banking regulator sees more US mortgage defaults

WASHINGTON – Defaults are increasing among US homeowners with good, but not perfect, credit histories who obtained a non-traditional mortgage, a top US banking regulator said on Friday. More pain can be expected as both borrowers with poor credit, who hold sub-prime mortgages, and borrowers with good credit, who hold Alt-A mortgages, see their interest […]

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Banks caught in sub-prime limbo

AFTER the excitement of the previous week during which the Straits Times Index (STI) enjoyed a 156-point bounce, this week was much more sombre as US recession fears reared its head while oil crossed US$100 per barrel. For the most part, trading exhibited the same two-tier pattern evident in previous weeks with large-cap blue chips […]

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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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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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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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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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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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CBRE Q4 earnings slide 2.1% on interest expenses

It also cites softer investment sales environment (NEW YORK) CB Richard Ellis Group Inc, the world’s largest commercial real-estate broker by market value, said fourth-quarter profit fell 2.1 per cent on higher interest expenses. Net income declined to US$122.4 million from US$125.1 million a year earlier, the Los Angeles-based company said on Tuesday in a […]

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US banks raise standards on commercial property loans: Fed

(NEW YORK) The Federal Reserve said it became tougher for US companies and consumers to get loans in the past three months, particularly to buy real estate. Most lenders anticipate more delinquencies and losses this year, assuming ‘economic activity progresses in line with consensus forecasts’, according to the central bank’s quarterly survey of senior loan […]

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US DATA: Dec home sales fall, cap biggest yearly slump

Purchases fall 2.2% to an annual rate of 4.89m; 1st fall in prices in 40 years (WASHINGTON) Sales of existing homes in the US fell more than forecast in December, capping the biggest yearly slump in more than a generation. Purchases fell 2.2 per cent to an annual rate of 4.89 million, the National Association […]

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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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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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Merrill in hunt for more capital as losses set to hit US$15b

It’s wooing investors in US, Asia, Mid-East to shore up finances (NEW YORK) Merrill Lynch is expected to suffer US$15 billion in losses stemming from soured mortgage investments, almost double its original estimate, prompting the firm to raise additional capital from an outside investor. The largest US brokerage firm is expected to disclose the huge […]

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LATEST US DATA: Existing home sales down 2.6% in Nov

Stringent lending practices, prospects that prices will keep falling deter buyers (ATLANTA) The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell more than forecast in November, signalling further deterioration in housing. The National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home sales decreased 2.6 per cent to 87.6, following a revised 3.7 per […]

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US state probes broker’s role in sub-prime losses

BOSTON – MASSACHUSETTS said last Friday that it launched an investigation to determine Merrill Lynch’s role in investments linked to sub-prime mortgages made by the city of Springfield that have fallen in value. Merrill was subpoenaed by Massachusetts regulators after the value of collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) the United States brokerage firm sold to Springfield […]

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Seattle on edge as housing gloom looms

Economists expect city to be caught in national slump (SEATTLE) It’s the kind of house that a year or two ago would have been snapped up in days: a refurbished rambler in a woodsy residential neighbourhood minutes from downtown. The asking price: US$559,000. But after seven weeks, Kristen and Al Dittmaier have not received a single […]

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Lust for big homes in US recalls dotcom bubble

DOWN the block from my home, workmen are finishing a new house. It replaces a small bungalow that had measured about 1,500 square feet. The new home has a covered front porch, two fireplaces and a finished basement. It comes in at just under 5,700 sq ft. What is it with Americans and their homes? […]

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NY hotel boom to ease room shortage

But mid-market room rates of US$200-300 still too high for some (NEW YORK) While planning her vacation to New York, Lisa Werness was so horrified by the prices in Manhattan that she chose cheaper lodging in Brooklyn – where she got a room rate of just US$400 a night. ‘Don’t remind me. I’m trying to […]

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Greenspan favours govt bailout for home owners

ATLANTA – FORMER United States Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan says he favours using US government money to bail out mortgage borrowers who risk losing their homes because they cannot make payments. Mr Greenspan, speaking on ABC’s This Week programme aired last Sunday, said cash bailouts, while creating a larger budget deficit, had the advantage […]

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US sub-prime bailouts help stocks but STI runs into headwinds

IT HAS been bailout week as far as stock markets were concerned but judging by the performance of the past two days, scepticism abounds. First, it was Fed officials dropping blatant hints about cutting interest rates at their Dec 11 meeting, then came the Bush administration’s mortgage-freeze offer to ease the sub-prime pressure. It looks […]

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Bush’s mortgage plan draws mixed reactions

No relief for those who can’t keep up teaser rate payments (WASHINGTON) President Bush’s plan to slow the mortgage meltdown could help hundreds of thousands of people from losing their homes, but many others would get no relief – and the plan’s effect on the broader economy remains a topic of sharp debate. Under the […]

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US house prices to slide 30% before crisis is over: Moody’s

(NEW YORK) Housing markets from Punta Gorda, Florida, to Stockton, California, will crash and suffer price drops of more than 30 per cent before the housing crisis is over, a report from Moody’s Economy.com said yesterday. On a national level, the housing market recession will continue through early 2009, said the report, coauthored by Mark […]

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US mortgage relief package could avert 1m foreclosures

(WASHINGTON) A mortgage relief package hammered out by the US administration and major lenders could help more than one million homeowners avert foreclosure in the next two years, a White House official said yesterday. The official said the plan, to be formally announced later in the day, would involve refinancings or freezing of interest rates […]

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US housing slump could last up till early 2009

NEW YORK – HOUSING markets from Punta Gorda in Florida to Stockton in California will crash and suffer price drops of more than 30 per cent before the housing crisis is over, a report from Moody’s Economy.com said yesterday. The United States housing recession will continue up till early 2009, said the report, co-authored by […]

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Biggest drop in US home prices in 25 years

Freddie Mac index falls by 1.3% on tighter lending and turbulent markets NEW YORK – HOME prices in the United States dropped the most in a quarter-century over the three months to end-September on an annualised basis as inventories, restrictive lending and a credit crunch yanked support from the market, a Freddie Mac index showed […]

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Fallout from sub-prime mess hits Florida public fund

(NEW YORK) Local governments and school districts in Florida scrambled on Monday to assess the damage to their investment portfolios from subprime mortgage loans, as the credit crisis reached into pockets of the investment world previously thought to be out of harm’s way. Florida last Thursday froze withdrawals from its Local Government Investment Pool, a […]

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US mortgage industry fleshes out rate-freeze scheme

Plan may offer relief of up to 7 years for some sub-prime loans (WASHINGTON) Mortgage industry executives worked on Saturday to hammer out details of a homeowner rescue plan that would freeze interest rates on some US sub-prime mortgages for up to seven years, but questions remained over how to avoid investor lawsuits and other legal […]

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Asia may take a hit in ‘Act Two’ of sub-prime crisis

Stanchart S-E Asia chief says turmoil will hit export-driven regional economies A TOP banker just posted to Singapore has warned that ‘it’s only the end of the beginning’ of the global credit crisis. The world is still reeling from US$50 billion (S$72.3 billion) in losses linked to sub-prime home loans in the United States, Standard […]

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Grim US housing outlook in 2008

(CHICAGO) US homebuilders said the housing market probably will weaken in 2008 as foreclosures rise and banks tighten lending standards. Demand has deteriorated in many markets, limiting the prospect of a rebound in new home sales, chief executive officers for D R Horton Inc and Beazer Homes USA Inc. said on Tuesday at a JPMorgan […]

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US commercial real estate set to take a hit

Traders see bond defaults rising to the highest level since Great Depression (LONDON) In the bond market, commercial property investors are about as creditworthy as US homeowners with sub-prime mortgages. ‘Commercial real estate is a full-blown bubble that feels very much at a bursting point,’ said Christian Stracke, an analyst in London at CreditSights Inc, […]

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US existing home sales fall to 8-year low

WASHINGTON – SALES of previously owned United States homes fell last month to the lowest level in at least eight years as loan restrictions and the prospect of further price declines deterred buyers. Purchases dropped 1.2 per cent, more than forecast, to an annual rate of 4.97 million, the lowest since record keeping began in […]

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Bond insurers affected by credit crunch

(NEW YORK) INVESTORS already burned by turmoil from the credit crunch are now worried about unwanted surprises in the industry that insures bonds. In the face of mounting losses in US mortgages, rating agencies are reviewing eight leading bond insurers, which could lead to downgrades. Such a move could ripple across the financial sector, because […]

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Sub-prime crisis takes its toll on European markets

But stability can be expected if the US avoids recession: DTZ (SINGAPORE) Shockwaves from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis a few months ago are reverberating through the real estate markets of the UK and Europe, with deals shelved or abandoned. In its European Quarterly 2007 report, DTZ says the volume of transactions could fall at […]

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It wasn’t me, Greenspan says of housing mess

Sales and price slump not a reflection of Fed policies when he headed central bank LONDON – FORMER Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said he has ‘no particular regrets’, and that the deepening slump in the United States housing market is not a result of his policies. ‘Markets are becoming aware of the fact that […]

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US commercial property sales down 70% in Oct

But report says the five-year bull run may not be over (NEW YORK) US office building sales fell 70 per cent in October from a year earlier, yet another sign the credit crunch that began in the US housing market has spread to the commercial real estate market, Real Capital Analytics said on Tuesday. But […]

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LATEST US DATA – Housing starts up 3% in Oct, permits down 6.6%

Building permits fall to 1.178m unit pace, the lowest level in 14 years (WASHINGTON) US home construction starts were up 3 per cent in October, the biggest monthly gain in eight months but building permits were down 6.6 per cent to a level not seen in 14 years, a government report yesterday showed. The Commerce […]

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Rise in US housing starts not sign of rebound for sector

Unexpected 3% rise due to surge in apartments; applications for building permits continue to fall WASHINGTON – CONSTRUCTION of new homes and apartments in the United States rebounded last month by the largest amount in eight months, but the unexpected increase was not viewed as a signal of a housing turnaround. The Commerce Department reported […]

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SCALE-BACK IN LOANS – US could face $3 trillion lending shock: Goldman

LONDON – THE impact of the United States mortgage market crisis on the underlying economy could be ‘dramatic’ as leveraged investors may need to scale back lending by up to US$2 trillion (S$2.9 trillion), according to investment bank Goldman Sachs. In a report on Thursday, Goldman’s chief US economist Jan Hatzius said a ‘back-of-the-envelope’ estimate of […]

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UK’s Land Securities plans 3-way split

(LONDON) Land Securities, Britain’s largest real estate firm, is to consult shareholders on plans to demerge its retail, London office and property outsourcing businesses into three separate quoted companies, it announced yesterday. The company said that the plan – which would be executed only in favourable market conditions – was in shareholders’ best interests, enabling […]

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Casinos unfazed by ongoing mortgage crisis

Credit downturn not as bad as previous cycles: analyst (LAS VEGAS) Casinos have little to fear from the credit crunch sparked this summer by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, according to finance professionals who addressed the issue at the Global Gaming Expo on Tuesday. Steve Croxton, co-head of gaming and leisure investment banking and managing director […]

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MGM Mirage to open first casino in Macau in Dec

(LAS VEGAS) Casino developer MGM Mirage Inc said on Monday it would open its debut property in the Chinese gambling destination of Macau on Dec 18. The US$1.25 billion project is a joint venture with Pansy Ho, daughter of Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho, a gambling industry veteran. The resort will feature 600 rooms, suites […]

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NY mayor’s housing plan faces risks: report

More progress made in preserving existing homes than creating new units (NEW YORK) New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 10-year plan to create 165,000 new and renovated units of below-market ‘affordable’ housing by 2013 may encounter difficulty reaching its goal, the city’s Independent Budget Office said. In a study released on Friday, the agency created to […]

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Mortgage market losses may hit US$400b

(NEW YORK) Losses from the falling value of sub-prime mortgage assets may reach US$300 billion to US$400 billion worldwide, Deutsche Bank AG analysts said. Wall Street’s largest banks and brokers will be forced to write down as much as US$130 billion because of the slump in subprime-related debt, according to a report yesterday by Mike […]

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Foreign cash could provide relief for US housing market

Some mortgage brokers are already seeing a boost in inquiries about buying property from overseas (NEW YORK) The weakening dollar has caused many problems for consumers, but it may also be providing the fuel for one unintended – and very welcome – benefit: a rally in the struggling US housing market driven by foreign investors. […]

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Soros warns of ‘serious’ US economic correction

He says things are worse than what Fed chief sees (NEW YORK) Billionaire investor George Soros has forecast that the US economy is ‘on the verge of a very serious economic correction’ after decades of overspending. ‘We have borrowed an awful lot of money and now the bill is coming to us,’ he said during […]

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COMMENTARY – Bank’s explanation for sub-prime losses defies belief

NEW YORK – CITIGROUP says it isn’t sure how much its United States sub-prime-related assets have fallen in value this quarter. Maybe it is US$8 billion (S$11.6 billion). Maybe it is US$11 billion. On one point, though, Citigroup is not budging: It says none of these declines began until after the last quarter ended. The […]

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Sub-prime woes may hit 10-year Treasuries next

(NEW YORK) The US housing slowdown that propelled 10-year Treasuries to their biggest gains since 2002 may soon make the same securities laggards in the government bond market. The notes returned 9.6 per cent since mid-June as investors sought a haven from credit market losses caused by sub-prime mortgages, Merrill Lynch index data shows. Sales […]

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High US home inventories a major concern: Greenspan

TOKYO – Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday that falling US home prices and high home inventories raised major concerns amid the ongoing turmoil in the sub-prime mortgage market. He added that the slide in the dollar was neutral for the economy, and that the currency would slide in the long run […]

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US rate cut seen buying Fed breathing space

(CHICAGO) The Federal Reserve’s decision on Wednesday to cut interest rates for a second consecutive meeting could buy policymakers a few months’ grace to watch incoming US economic data before deciding whether to move rates again. The Federal Open Market Committee, as expected, lowered its target for the federal funds rate to 4.5 per cent […]

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US rate cuts won’t defuse sub-prime mess: ‘Mr Yen’

Asia, though not much affected so far, must be vigilant (SINGAPORE) Interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve – which have amounted to 75 basis points since Sept 18 – are unlikely to defuse the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, according to the influential economist Eisuke Sakakibara. Mr Sakakibara, formerly Japan’s vice-minister for finance and […]

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UBS hit by bigger than expected loss

First quarterly loss in 5 years, investment bank unlikely to break even in Q4 (ZURICH) UBS AG reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter loss after hefty writedowns on sub-primerelated investments, but said it expects to turn in a group profit in the last quarter. The Swiss bank, which took charges of 4.2 billion Swiss francs (S$5.22 billion) […]

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US sub-prime losses slow BOC Q3 net growth

(SHANGHAI) Bank of China Ltd (BOC), the nation’s third-largest bank, reported third-quarter profit growth that trailed rivals as losses related to US sub-prime mortgages dented earnings. Net income climbed to 15.9 billion yuan (S$3.1 billion), or 0.06 yuan a share, from 13 billion yuan, or 0.05 yuan a year earlier, the Beijing-based bank said in […]

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No certainty of Fed rate cut this week

(TOKYO) A Federal Reserve interest rate cut this week is no sure thing and officials are not seriously considering a half-point reduction in overnight rates, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday without citing sources. The article by Greg Ip, the Journal’s Fed watcher who is known for sometimes reflecting the views of senior central bankers, […]

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Sub-prime losses up to 30b yen: Mitsubishi UFJ

IN TOKYO EVIDENCE of increasing international fallout from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis mounted yesterday as Japan’s biggest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, said it would need to write down the value of sub-prime-related investments by up to 30 billion yen (S$379 million) – six times more than previously announced. The bank is expected to […]

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Affluent Asians buck downtown LA trends

Koreans and others helping fuel resurgence of area as a place to live, not just work (LOS ANGELES) Architect Christopher Pak understands what upwardly mobile Koreans want and that’s why his latest project, a 22-storey residential tower, has no apartments on the fourth and fourteenth floors. The number 4 sounds like the word ‘death’ in […]

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Rise in US new home sales ‘too good to be true’

WASHINGTON – LAST month’s surprising rise in new home sales in the United States is too good to be true and will likely be revised away, say analysts. Troubles in the US housing market have made tracking new-home sales activity more difficult and more volatile in recent months, resulting in huge downward revisions to government […]

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LATEST US DATA – New home sales in surprise Sept upturn

But orders for durables fall 1.7% in the first back-to- back decline in a year (WASHINGTON) Sales of new homes in the US posted an unexpected gain in September although the improvement came after sales had fallen to the slowest pace in more than a decade. The Commerce Department reported yesterday that sales of new […]

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Falling property could cost US$4t

Financial firms could face aggregate losses of some US$400b says NYT (NEW YORK) US real estate wealth is expected to fall anywhere from US$2 trillion to US$4 trillion when the total costs of the recent credit crunch are tallied, the New York Times reported yesterday, citing economists. Household real estate wealth – the equity people […]

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US sub-prime solution flies in face of ’97 advice to Asia

ASIANS could be excused for looking askance at Henry Paulson’s plan to calm credit markets. The reason: It’s the sort of thing that had US Treasury secretaries browbeating Asians a decade ago. One thinks back to the whistle-stop Asian tours then-treasury secretary Robert Rubin did 10 years ago. Such trips became more numerous as Asia’s […]

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Gloomy prognosis for US housing market

Analyst who predicted slump before it happened reckons on a 50-60% chance of recession (CHICAGO) Ivy Zelman’s view of the US housing market is gloomy, but it is probably the most realistic. A veteran Wall Street analyst, Ms Zelman, chief executive of the research firm Zelman & Associates, says it is unlikely that the US […]

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Global property investment expected to fall

Mortgage defaults in US may prompt lenders to tighten credit, says JLL (TOKYO) Global direct real estate investment may fall this year as concerns about defaults on US mortgages prompted lenders to tighten credit, said Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, the world’s second-largest commercial real estate broker. Asia may be the only market to experience an […]

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US$1b renovation to boost Holiday Inn sales

(LONDON) InterContinental Hotels Group plc said Holiday Inn owners and franchisees will boost sales by investing US$1 billion on renovations and new bedding, along with the first change to the chain’s green logo in 50 years. InterContinental will spend £30 millionpounds; (S$89.7 million) to speed the rebranding, which will be reported as a one-time charge, […]

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LATEST US DATA – Existing homes sales at record low in Sept

Turmoil in mortgage markets adds more problems to housing industry slump (WASHINGTON) Sales of existing homes in the US plunged by a record amount of 8 per cent in September to a record low 5.04 million unit pace as turmoil in mortgage markets added more problems to a housing industry in its worst slump in […]

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Dow hit by poor US existing home sales

WASHINGTON – SALES of previously owned homes in the United States fell 8 per cent last month to a record low 5.04 million-unit pace, thus sending US stocks crashing down yesterday. After two hours of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 198.43 points, or 1.45 per cent, at 13,477.8. The Nasdaq Composite Index […]

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US housing slump may extend into 2009

There’s a 50 to 60% chance of a recession as consumers curb spending: analyst (CHICAGO) Ivy Zelman’s view of the US housing market is gloomy, but it’s probably the most realistic. A veteran Wall Street analyst, Zelman, chief executive of the research firm Zelman & Associates, says it’s unlikely the US housing market will recover […]

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Bleak house – Recession fears grow as US property slump worsens

WASHINGTON – THE risk of an outright recession is mounting for the United States as the housing slump heads towards ‘perfect storm’ conditions, say economists. The cloudy US housing picture has become even grimmer, as housing starts sank 10.2 per cent last month to a 14-year low, government data revealed on Wednesday. The report also […]

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US leading economic indicators rebound

WASHINGTON – A forward-looking gauge of US economic activity rebounded in September, pointing to ‘slow but steady’ growth, the Conference Board reported on Thursday. The business research group said its index of leading economic indicators, a gauge of activity in the coming six to nine months, increased 0.3 per cent to a reading of 137.9 […]

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US homebuilders’ sentiment at record low

Bigger discounts and sweetened incentives have yet to revive demand, survey finds out (WASHINGTON) CONFIDENCE among US homebuilders fell to a record low in October as declining prices, higher mortgage rates and loan restrictions scared off buyers. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder sentiment fell to 18, more than economists had […]

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US mortgage volume likely to dip to a low next year

(BOSTON) Mortgage originations will fall next year to the lowest levels since 2000, forcing job losses for at least 30,000 more home finance professionals, according to a forecast released yesterday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Inventories of homes for sale will remain high as tighter lending standards across the industry reduce available credit for prospective […]

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US home building hits 14-yr low as inflation kicks up

Data seen by some as sign of continuing headwinds for the economy (WASHINGTON) US home construction starts fell in September to their lowest level in more than 14 years, while consumer prices rose at the sharpest rate in four months, separate reports showed yesterday. Weak housing data boosted US government bond prices and the US […]

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Foreign investors dump US assets at record rate

Sales hit high of $102b in August, when credit woes were most intense NEW YORK – FOREIGN investors dumped United States stocks, bonds and notes by a record amount as the credit squeeze intensified, according to the latest US Treasury figures. Until now, US policymakers have appeared relatively relaxed about the US dollar’s decline, since […]

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Home starts dive to 14-year low; consumer prices up

WASHINGTON – HOME construction starts in the United States fell last month to their lowest level in more than 14 years. Meanwhile, consumer prices in the US rose at the sharpest rate in four months, separate reports showed yesterday. ‘We knew housing was weak, but these numbers show another pretty big drop, so the sector […]

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US$80b fund planned to mop up bad mortgage loans

US Treasury, global banks talking to find way out of looming credit crunch (WASHINGTON) Major banks including Citigroup are looking at setting up a roughly US$80 billion fund to buy ailing mortgage securities and other assets, sources said. Representatives from the US Treasury have organised discussions among top global banks in a bid to prevent […]

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MGM’s casino resort to rival Vegas’ best

AN OTHERWISE dismal year for the Atlantic City casino industry turned a bit brighter on Wednesday when gambling giant MGM Mirage, announced plans to build a huge resort hotel that would rank among the most expensive casino projects in history. The casino hotel, to be called the MGM Grand Atlantic City, will cost US$4.5 billion […]

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Existing and new-home sales expected to drop

‘Exceptionally weak’ US housing market may lead to recession BOSTON- EXISTING home sales this year probably will fall to a five-year low – worse than forecast – signalling that the United States housing market is far from hitting its bottom. New-home sales may decline 24 per cent to a 10-year low of 804,000, and existing […]

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World’s wealthy still eyeing property

They are undeterred by the market turmoil triggered by the US sub-prime crisis (GENEVA) The wealthy have lost none of their appetite for property despite the market turmoil triggered by the sale of risky sub-prime mortgages in the US, according to some of the world’s top private bankers. Clients of wealth managers are, however, on […]

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Sub-prime defaults could total US$150b, says S&P

Crisis will not peak until 2009, but emerging markets offer silver lining (MUMBAI) The US subprime housing crisis will not peak until 2009 and total defaults could reach US$150 billion, rating agency Standard and Poor’s said yesterday, but robust emerging markets would help keep global growth strong. S&P expected the world economy to grow 3.6 […]

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Housing slump set to cut volume at LA ports

(LOS ANGELES) The busiest port complex in the US could see its first decline in container traffic in four years because of the housing market slump and a loss of consumer confidence that is making retailers cautious about importing goods. Volume at the adjoining Los Angeles and Long Beach ports had been expected to increase […]

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US real estate agency files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK – FOXTONS, a discount real estate agency, has joined mortgage lenders that have buckled under the weight of United States sub-prime woes and filed for bankruptcy protection. The company listed debt of US$480,944 (S$710,354) and assets of US$2.6 million in the Chapter 11 documents it filed on Friday. The agency, which pioneered selling […]

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Sub-prime delinquencies accelerating, Moody’s says

(NEW YORK) Sub-prime mortgage bonds created in the first half of this year contain loans that are going delinquent at the fastest rate ever, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The average rate of ‘serious loan delinquencies’ in the securities has been higher than 2006 bonds, Moody’s analysts Ariel Weil and Amita Shrivastava wrote in a […]

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Merrill sacks 2 top execs over mortgage crisis

Firings show more bankers are being held liable for failed investments NEW YORK – MERRILL Lynch, facing the prospect of losing billions from its exposure to the sinking United States mortgage market, fired the global chief of its fixed-income division and one of his top two American deputies. The dismissals are the latest sign that […]

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