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Home Sales Unlikely to beat last year’s high – The Straits Times, 1 Nov 11

Summary Strong economy first 9 months but global economic uncertainty to take toll Sales of new private homes may come close to last year’s record high, but they are unlikely to surpass the figure with global economic uncertainty affecting demand, experts say. Homes sales for the first 9 months of this year came in at […]

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MTI expects a lingering slowdown, sluggish rebound

Business Times – 12 Aug 2008 Price fears ease but Q2 growth down to 2.1% on pharma swings and electronic weakness (SINGAPORE) Concern here over price pressures will likely take a back seat to growth risks in the months ahead, as global inflation looks to be peaking but no quick economic rebound is expected anytime […]

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S’pore Q2 GDP up 2%

Business Times – 11 Aug 2008 SINGAPORE – Singapore’s economy grew at the slowest pace in five years. The gross domestic product expanded 2.1 per cent in the second quarter, after growing 6.9 per cent in the first quarter. The Ministry of trade and Industry said on Monday the economy was hurt by a plunge […]

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From exuberance to caution

In just 12 months, Singapore has swung from Boom Town to seeing its slowest quarter in five years. ONE year ago, economic and business sentiment in Singapore was probably at an all-time high: The property market was on a roll, banks and finance houses went on a hiring spree, and the economy, flush with liquidity, […]

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Singapore inflation stays at 26-year high

The Straits Times March 25, 2008 Prices jump 6.5%, driven by higher food, transport and housing costs CONSUMER prices surged 6.5 per cent last month from a year ago, continuing a rate of increase not seen in 26 years. Food, transport and housing costs were again the main drivers as a confluence of external and […]

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Business confidence takes a dive

Business Times – 24 Mar 2008 BT-UniSIM survey shows companies gloomy about next six months, despite strong orders  (SINGAPORE) Business confidence in Singapore has slumped to its lowest level since end-2004, according to the latest business climate survey by The Business Times (BT) and SIM University (UniSIM). While sales and profit figures were largely unchanged […]

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Strong demand in Asia seen slowing next year

Business Times – 20 Mar 2008 This poses risks as firm US recovery unlikely: consultancy  (SINGAPORE) Domestic demand in Asian countries this year look strong, but may slow down in 2009. This may present risks to regional countries as the US economy is unlikely to make a strong recovery next year, according to consultancy firm […]

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Economists trim S’pore Q1 growth forecast to 5.7%

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 Q2 may see another dip before rebound kicks in; inflation likely to rise  (SINGAPORE) Private sector economists have pared their forecasts of Singapore’s first quarter GDP growth to a median 5.7 per cent, from 7 per cent three months earlier. Economic growth is then expected to dip below 5 […]

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Investments push S’pore growth again

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 But the biggest problem facing policy-makers is inflation; if it doesn’t stabilise, we may see more drastic steps SINGAPORE has enjoyed exceptionally strong and stable gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the last few years. For many years after 1997, Singapore’s economy had suffered volatile growth even as it […]

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A growth engine for the economy

Spore’s aviation players have been riding the wave of growth in the sector, but there are challenges, and opportunities too OVER the years, aviation has become the lifeblood for Singapore’s economic growth. This is despite the fact that the sector’s direct contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is rather small – at around 5 per […]

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Key S’pore economic indicator takes another dip

PMI now just above threshold between expansion and contraction (SINGAPORE) The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slid for a third straight month in February, with declines in export orders and output. But the electronics index edged up, even though orders were also weak. With its latest 0.2-point drop, the PMI – a barometer of the manufacturing […]

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If the US goes into a recession…

How will a US slowdown or recession affect your organisation and industry, and the Singapore economy in general? What can businesses do in the event of a slowdown? THE US recession had already started since December 2007. I predict that the federal funds rate will drop to one per cent by September 2008. After that, […]

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Govt uses ‘realistic’ assumptions instead of ‘optimistic’ ones

GST introduced while revenue position was still strong: Tharman IN explaining the background to the way the government has turned out to have gathered far more money than was predicted in last year’s Budget, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told Parliament yesterday that the basic approach is to use the best information available at the time, […]

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6.6% – Housing, transport, food prices fuel Jan inflation

INFLATION accelerated last month to a 26-year high of 6.6 per cent with housing, food and transport costs registering steep increases over the past year. The January figure picks up pace from December’s 4.4 per cent jump – itself the biggest rise since April 1982 – as external and local factors added further upward momentum […]

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COST SPIRAL: Rising prices, bigger handouts

Rising costs for individuals and businesses, a growing ‘gimme’ mentality and the dangers of the ‘green-eyed’ syndrome in society were among the concerns raised at a Straits Times roundtable, chaired by deputy editor Warren Fernandez, ahead of next week’s debate on this year’s Budget THEIR big looming worry is how fast costs for both individuals […]

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GST hike, Budget surplus and rising costs

LAST year’s huge Budget surplus of $6.45 billion is causing some economists and MPs to question the timing of last July’s hike in the goods and services tax (GST). The issue came up for debate when a taxi driver, two MPs, two economists and a businessman met at The Straits Times on Thursday for a […]

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Lack of green perks disappoints industry players

Lack of green perks disappoints industry players Budget surplus gives scope for perks such as tax credits, say industry players IT HAD been widely anticipated, but in the end, the ‘green Budget’ that many people had been waiting for did not materialise. The lack of incentives such as tax credits to encourage environmentally sustainable business […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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: 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Singapore’s competitive edge eroding

Hourly wage cost rise for production staff in 2006 was second highest among 33 locations in US study (SINGAPORE) A shortage of talent is still the biggest headache for businesses in Singapore, but sharp pay hikes in recent years – on top of increases in rentals and other costs – are triggering concerns about the […]

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What is scary about latest economic data?

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) issues a monthly index of activity in the non-manufacturing or services sector in the United States by surveying purchasing managers around the country. The ISM is a US-based industry association. The ISM survey on the services sector is a closely-followed gauge of a wide swathe of the US economy […]

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Germans remain bullish about S’pore

Business community upbeat on growth prospects: survey THE German business community remains bullish about Singapore as a regional business hub, a survey published yesterday shows. The survey of businesses varying from small operations to multinationals was conducted by Droege & Comp in December, for the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The companies were asked […]

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Markets will recover after 3-6 mths of mild recession: S&P analyst

He warns of one more major market collapse between now and rosier H2 THE sub-prime crisis will cause a mild US recession, but financial markets will recover in three to six months after most of the bad news is flushed out or priced in, says a leading US analyst. Stephen Biggar, New York-based director for […]

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Budget may soothe fears over costs creeping up

Businesses worry over transport bills, economists expect some goodies (SINGAPORE) Amid concerns that the costs of living and doing business could go up, economists expect the upcoming Budget to provide some form of relief. These could come in the shape of more cash handouts, particularly targeted at the low to middle-income groups, as well as […]

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SMEs upbeat about 2008 growth

84% see same or faster GDP expansion: HSBC poll SMALL businesses across the Asia-Pacific region are optimistic about their respective country’s economic prospects, with more than half of Singapore firms expecting the country’s economy to grow at the same pace as it did in 2007. This is according to an HSBC survey conducted in the […]

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F1 in S’pore ‘an opportunity on the doorstep’

THE inaugural Singapore Grand Prix offers companies in the Republic an unprecedented opportunity to do some marketing and branding to a vast global audience, said a visiting Formula One (F1) marketing expert. Still, few Singapore names have thus far stepped forward to take advantage of the opportunity that is ‘right here on your doorstep’, said […]

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Small businesses in S’pore less bullish about growth outlook

SMALL businesses in Singapore are less confident about the growth outlook compared with six months ago, according to the latest survey by HSBC Singapore. The bank conducted a survey covering more than 2,700 small businesses across nine economies. In Singapore, only 32 per cent of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed expect faster economic […]

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SM GOH IN DUBAI: Grow economy, draw investments to fight inflation

S’pore can tap Middle East and China to grow; inflation here lower than other nations: SM DUBAI – SINGAPORE can tackle the rising cost of living with a clear focus on spurring economic growth and wooing foreign investments, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. One front of this growth strategy is to open new doors […]

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Prices up everywhere, but inflation rate for food low here

Govt casting net wider to source for food; businesses also helping to limit price hikes FACTORY operator Loke Yew Whye, a 54-year-old father of three school-going children, is finding it hard to cope with rising food prices. The family, which survives on about $2,000 a month, which he and his wife earn, has been buying […]

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Firms post strong gains so far, but all eyes are on bank results

Keppel Corp leads at half-time with record full-year earnings of $1.13b THE stock market may have had a torrid time of late, but the financial reporting season has so far brought little but big smiles for investors. With the reporting season for companies with Dec 31 year-ends now at the halfway mark, Singapore has so […]

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Staff costs, inflation major issues this year

SINGAPORE’S economy is strong enough to weather the fallout of a US recession this year, while escalating staff costs will be the top problem bosses have to grapple with in 2008, human resource practitioners were told at a conference yesterday. Speaking at the SHRI Outlook 2008 conference, Hui Cheung Tai, regional economist at Standard Chartered […]

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Sustainable development a priority for S’pore: PM Lee

A top-level panel of ministers has been formed to chart the way forward, he says IN DAVOS PURSUE economic growth, but with an eye on the Earth. Going forward, sustainable development will be a priority for Singapore – and a top-level panel of ministers has been formed to chart the way forward. On the sidelines […]

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

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

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Overheating of Asian economies likely: Lehman

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

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Soros warns of worst financial crisis since WWII

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

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Governments urge calm in face of market turmoil

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

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

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

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Investment bar set high, but EDB expects to cross it

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

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

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

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EDB revises key indicators to reflect industry changes

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

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TOP OF THE NEWS: The dome picked for Sports Hub

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

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Inflation seen eating into pay hikes this year

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

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Singapore may dodge recession in 2008: economists

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

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Exports lurch to worst showing in five years

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

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Nominal wages could rise 5% this year: Survey

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

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Export growth slumps to slowest pace in five years

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

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S’pore economists unfazed as US recession fears grow

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

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Stanchart lowers S’pore growth forecast

STANDARD Chartererd Bank (Stanchart) expects Singapore’s economy to slow even further this year – to 4.5 per cent – as fears of a recession in the United States loom ever larger. Weaker exports to the world’s largest economy will drag down trade-related services in Singapore, said the British lender, which cut its forecast from 5.7 […]

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GIC pumps $9.8b into troubled Citigroup

THE Government of Singapore Corporation (GIC) is investing US$6.88 billion (S$9.82 billion) in the troubled American banking giant Citigroup, it said last night. It is GIC’s second largest investment and came on a day of dreadful news for Citi, which has been battered by the credit crisis rocking the global financial system. Citi reported US$9.83 […]

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Goldman Sachs cuts Asia’s growth forecast

Expected US recession seen eroding demand for region’s exports (SINGAPORE) Goldman Sachs Group has lowered its growth forecast for Asia on concern that an expected US recession will erode demand for the region’s exports. Asia, excluding Japan, will expand 8.3 per cent this year, down from an earlier estimate of 8.6 per cent, Hong Kong-based […]

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Inflation in S’pore may hit 6.5% this month

CONSUMER prices in Singapore may surge a staggering 6.5 per cent this month, bringing full- year average inflation to an equally eye-popping 5 per cent, according to Citigroup. Higher housing and food costs are likely to cause a spike in price levels this month, while low interest rates may stimulate property prices later in the […]

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Slowing Europe may be bigger concern for S’pore, region

FOR Singapore and other Asian economies that are heavily dependent on exports, a decelerating Europe may be a cause for greater concern than a slowdown in the United States. While the US economy will slow down in the first half of the year, it is unlikely to sink into a recession, said Deutsche Bank chief […]

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Developing nations to lift world economy amid US slowdown

They will be the biggest drivers of global growth as pace slows to 3.3% this year: World Bank DEVELOPING nations will be key in helping the global economy mitigate the drag from a slowing United States. With their domestic economies coming into their own, poor countries will be the world’s biggest growth driver this year, […]

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Businesses stay upbeat on S’pore economy: survey

Optimism balance is still at 84% despite greater uncertainty (SINGAPORE) Despite a gloomier outlook and inflation fears, Singapore businesses remain optimistic about the local economy, a global survey of private businesses has found. Accounting firm Grant Thornton International’s latest International Business Report ranked Singapore fourth, with an optimism balance of 84 per cent, unchanged from […]

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US slowdown won’t eat into S’pore growth: MM Lee

Temasek, GIC comfortable with Merrill, UBS, he says (SINGAPORE) A slowdown in the American or European economy will not reduce the rate of Singapore’s economic growth, according to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. Barring a ‘big recession’, China and India – where the economies are tipped to expand by 8-10 per cent yearly – will […]

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Hot 2008 topic: The rising cost of living

WHEN Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang announced last November that inflation could hit 4 per cent or 5 per cent in the first quarter of this year, analysts and consumers sat up. It would be a ‘historic high’ in the 25 years since 1983. The previous high was in July 1991, when it […]

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Economists unfazed by weaker quarterly growth

Only 1 in 6 polled revises first-quarter estimates despite latest data being weaker than expected ANALYSTS are upbeat about the economy’s outlook in the current first quarter despite some weaker-than-expected economic figures yesterday. In fact, out of six analysts polled by The Straits Times, only one was revising her first-quarter estimate. The rest are sticking […]

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Fourth-quarter growth slower than expected

Economists derive a figure of 6.4 per cent based on full-year growth of 7.5 per cent THE Singapore economy appears to have slowed more than expected. In his New Year address yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said gross domestic product (GDP) – economic output – had expanded by 7.5 per cent last year. Private […]

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Will investors’ confidence in bank stocks improve this year?

Developments and results in next few weeks will be closely tracked WITH 2007 behind them, investors in the Singapore-listed banks will be closely watching developments in the next few weeks to see what 2008 has in store. Analysts expect core lending to continue to do well, given strong loans growth so far. But the banks […]

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Bombs, security fears mar revelry as world greets 2008

(NEW YORK) Millions staged midnight parties at iconic landmarks around the world to ring in 2008, but bomb attacks and security fears quickly darkened New Year festivities in places. In New York, hundreds of thousands of revellers crowded the fabled Times Square, braving cold temperatures and stringent security measures to see Mayor Michael Bloomberg release […]

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IMF expects to lower global growth outlook

(ZURICH) The International Monetary Fund will lower its growth outlook as the continued credit crisis hurts the US and European economies, while global imbalances also weigh on growth, its top economist was quoted as saying. ‘Given this background, the numbers will indeed be weaker than in our latest World Economic Outlook,’ IMF chief economist Simon […]

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Job market outlook brightens for professionals

THE job market outlook remains bright, particularly for white collar employees, but may be stabilising. Some 35,500 jobs were unfilled in September, or a vacancy rate of 2.4 per cent, according to data released yesterday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This third-quarter scenario was ‘better’ than a year earlier when 29,900 jobs went begging […]

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Consumers are more upbeat about outlook: survey

But sentiments over stock market, quality of life, regular income slide SINGAPORE consumers are now more bullish about their prospects in the next six months than a year ago, despite the recent spike in market volatility and US sub-prime troubles, according to a MasterCard Survey of consumer confidence in the Asia-Pacific. The twice-yearly study said […]

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Inflation in S’pore to taper off as growth slows: economist

He blames energy prices for recent surge in inflation (SINGAPORE) The recent surge in the pace of inflation here is mostly due to a sharp increase in energy prices and is unlikely to last as economic growth slows next year, a senior economist maintained yesterday. Meanwhile, Asian economies still have a lot of tools at […]

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Fight inflation with CPF, GST: economists

Cool labour demand by raising employer contribution, roll back July GST hike (SINGAPORE) The government should restore some of the CPF employer contribution cuts as a way to cool labour demand, which in turn will moderate growth. That should help ease inflation and help people cope with runaway prices that are biting into the lives […]

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How S’pore stays at the top of the game

With its 7.9 per cent growth last year, it has been called a developed country growing at developing-nation rates. Bryan Lee explains this anomaly. IT IS almost a given that in the global rankings for economic growth, poor countries typically fill the top spots while rich nations bring up the rear. Last year’s top three […]

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S’pore economy tipped to grow more than 6% next year

Experts revise forecasts down slightly but say construction and property will sizzle DESPITE a cloud of gloom over the United States, private economists here expect Singapore’s economy to grow at a still-respectable rate of more than 6 per cent next year. The upbeat finding came in a Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) quarterly survey of […]

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Rising inflation putting pressure on S’pore firms to raise pay by over 5%

Current budgets may allow for measly 0.5%-1% hike in real wages THE higher inflation tipped for next year is pressuring companies to raise wages by more than what they are currently prepared to give, according to human resources services company Hewitt. Companies have, on average, budgeted a 5 per cent wage hike for next year, […]

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Be vigilant about asset bubbles: Jackson Tai

Falling lending standards among key risks in Asia FALLING standards of lending due to intense competition among banks and ‘too much money’ driving asset prices up are some of the main risks to Asia’s financial industry, said outgoing DBS Group chief executive Jackson Tai last week. ‘Underwriting standards for loans and financings have deteriorated in […]

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MONEY MATTERS: Correction? What correction?

GLOBAL equity markets have been volatile in the past few months. Losses on sub-prime mortgages have morphed into a more general credit crunch problem arising from the loss of confidence within the global financial system. Due to the lack of transparency, banks find it difficult to determine what sub-prime exposure banking counterparties have, although this […]

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Industrial output gauge climbs on strong exports

FACTORY orders continued to pour in for local manufacturers last month, despite the spectre of a global economic slowdown. This was among the key findings of a forward-looking indicator called the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Strong export orders pushed the PMI from 52.9 in October to 53.8 last month, the sixth straight month that the […]

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