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MAS WARNING: Credit squeeze, US slump could hit banks

A SHARP slowdown in the United States and an increased aversion to risk in the part of investors spooked by the sub-prime fallout could hurt the profitability of local banks, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said yesterday. Volatile financial markets may lead to trading losses, markdowns in collateralised debt obligation assets and lower fee income, […]

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Expat cost of living in S’pore gaining on HK’s

S’pore and Chinese cities move up the ranks due to strong currencies, inflation (SINGAPORE) The Republic is catching up with Asia’s leading cities in one area it probably does not wish to make strides in – expatriate cost of living. While some of the region’s most pricey cities became relatively less expensive in the past […]

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Inflation rises with policy posers in tow

Analysts expect swift counter-measures as monthly numbers climb to a 16-year high (SINGAPORE) The need for further policy action to stem price pressures – sooner rather than later – has grown with an unexpected surge in October’s inflation rate to 3.6 per cent, economists say. The market consensus estimate was 2.8 per cent. ‘We thought […]

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October inflation hits 16-year high of 3.6%

Figure surprises economists, who say Govt may do more to cool economy CONSUMER prices rose at their fastest pace in 16 years last month as food, housing and transport costs all accelerated their rate of increase. Inflation hit 3.6 per cent, resuming an upward trend after September’s 2.7 per cent breather. Yesterday’s figure caught out […]

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SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL – Big market in projects from int’l agencies

S’pore firms can grow their overseas businesses and leverage on the IOs’ facilities Many Singapore companies do not realise how big the market is for projects awarded by international organisations (IOs) like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank. The World Bank and ADB jointly award about US$31 billion of business projects annually through […]

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MTI raises ’08 forecast for ‘hotter’ economy

Easing resource crunch, cyclical downturn will prevent overheating: officials (SINGAPORE) The Ministry of Trade & Industry has raised slightly its forecast of GDP growth in 2008, but maintains that the economy has not become ‘too hot’. In a somewhat unusual move, it has upped the 2008 growth forecast by half a point to 4.5-6.5 per […]

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Asia faces the inflation test

As long as economic policymakers act responsibly and transparently, Asia can avoid excessive price increases By WILLIAM PESEK JR ASIANS sure are unique; they don’t eat and they don’t use energy. That’s nonsense, of course, yet it’s how some are viewing Asia. Even as prices rise faster in some places than during the 1990s, investors […]

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Consumer prices could rise by up to 4.5% next year: MAS

Central bank sticks to policy of letting Sing$ strengthen gradually, modestly PRICE pressures ranging from rising oil prices to a squeeze on resources at home, are likely to push consumer prices up by 3.5 to 4.5 per cent next year, after rising by about 2 per cent this year. Singapore’s central bank announced its new […]

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S’pore needs to slow growth: economists

Economy will be fully stretched if it maintains 7-8% growth (SINGAPORE) While Singapore’s underlying growth potential has risen in recent years, the economy will be fully stretched at the seams if it continues to grow between 7 and 8 per cent, as it has on average between 2004 and 2007, economists say. They now see […]

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Business confidence takes a dive

Sentiment indicators for next 6 months sliding amid signs of nascent slowdown: BT-UniSIM survey (SINGAPORE) Business confidence here has taken a dive, according to the latest BT-UniSIM quarterly survey of business activity. Companies are much less optimistic about the next six months and there are signs that a slowdown in business activities has started. The […]

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Bigger but unequal pay gains seen for ’08

(SINGAPORE) With the economy still hot and workers harder to come by, bigger pay hikes are expected in the coming year. But not everyone will get an equal share of the bounty, according to a recent poll of 126 companies by human resource services firm Hewitt Associates. The survey showed that salaries will rise by […]

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Services workers most willing to jump ship amid tight labour market: poll

In manufacturing, managers are the least loyal group (SINGAPORE) Job-hopping is more rampant in the services sector than among manufacturing employees, a survey has found. But while it is manual and general staff in the services sector who are more ready to jump ship in Singapore’s current tight labour market, in the manufacturing sector, it […]

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S’pore, China to jointly develop eco-city

Tianjin Eco-City to be a model of sustainable devt (SINGAPORE) In a highly anticipated landmark signing at the Istana yesterday, the governments of Singapore and China inked a framework agreement to jointly develop an eco-city in Tianjin, which will deepen cooperation and bring bilateral relations to greater heights. The vision is for the Sino-Singapore Tianjin […]

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The incredible shrinking dollar

How do we ensure that our savings are not eroded by inflation? Finance Correspondent Lorna Tan looks at how rising prices affect the value of your money and highlights the need to start financial planning early INFLATION could hit 5 per cent in the first quarter of next year. This would be a 25-year historic […]

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US credit woes hurt foreign funds to Asia

While inflow is fast slowing for HK, China and India, S’pore is experiencing outflow THE flood of foreign funds surging into Asian bourses over the past four weeks has been reversed by the ongoing credit woes in the United States. Singapore has started experiencing an outflow, with a net sale of US$2.1 million (S$3 million) […]

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The next step in reinventing S’pore

It must have a tool to attract foreign SMEs that are incipient MNCs before they are lured by Hong Kong or Shanghai   ATTRACTING regional offices here is not the only way for Singapore to achieve its ambition of being a regional hub by leveraging on the rapid rise of Asia. It’s timely to also […]

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World Bank sees robust East Asia growth next year

But if oil prices hit new highs, region’s resilience will be tested, it cautions   IN TOKYO THE East Asian economies will continue to see robust growth next year despite a likely US slowdown, but new highs for oil prices will test the region’s resilience, says the World Bank.   The bank has, in its […]

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Rosy figures but forex losses, write-downs cloud horizon

Overall profits rise a third to $7.2b despite hiccups at some companies THE profit numbers certainly look good but confidence has been shaken with investors left with more questions than answers.  As of last night, the profits of 258 Singapore-listed companies with third quarters ending on Sept 30 totalled $7.21 billion. This is 32 per […]

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Credit crisis ‘unlikely to faze East Asia’

World Bank expects region to shrug off sub-prime woes, high oil prices to log in solid growth THE sub-prime crisis in the United States is not posing a significant risk to East Asia‘s rapid growth, according to the latest World Bank forecasts.   The region is expected to expand by a solid 8.2 per cent […]

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China’s prosperity a boon for S’pore: MM Lee

Minister Mentor lauds efforts at greening Beijing before Olympics A GROWING and prosperous China is good for Singapore, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said yesterday.   Mr Lee, who is in Beijing to meet China‘s top leaders, made the remarks when he held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Trade and investment between the […]

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Credit crisis, inflation threaten world growth, says Fukui

GLOBAL economic growth is under increasing threat from two fronts – the United States sub-prime crisis and soaring commodities prices that may push up inflation. The warning came from Bank of Japan governor Toshihiko Fukui at a function in Singapore last night. He said the sub-prime turmoil could severely disrupt financial markets, which could then […]

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Still positive on Asian equities

Region will continue to expand at a respectable pace even if below-potential US growth extends into 2008. DESPITE a credit crisis emanating from the US and fresh highs in oil prices, global stock markets have broken records again this year. In Asia, especially since the August turmoil, investors have experienced impressive returns. Most regional equity […]

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Inflation may hit 5% in Q1 ’08 as oil, food prices head north

But Singapore’s competitiveness still intact: Hng Kiang (SINGAPORE) Singapore’s inflation rate could hit 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2008 on the back of record oil prices and higher food and transportation costs, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang told Parliament yesterday. ‘We expect (inflation in) the first quarter of next year […]

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Sub-prime woes continue to hold sway

ST Index hits two-month low after 2.5 per cent fall, in line with Hang Seng Index AS EXPECTED, the local stock market was unhinged yesterday by Wall Street’s continuing fears over the impact the sub- prime crisis might have on its earnings and the US economy, fears which have now rendered the two interest rate […]

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Inflation could hit 5% early next year, then taper off

AS CONSUMER prices continue to rise, inflation in Singapore will likely surge to 4 or 5 per cent in the first quarter of next year. But it should taper off by the second half of the year to ‘more normal conditions’, said Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang yesterday. The average rate for next […]

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S’pore won’t fight inflation with price controls: PM Lee

Rising cost of living for lower-income, elderly to be met in other ways (SINGAPORE) The government is unlikely to impose controls on food or utility prices in response to rising inflation, but will continue to use other ways to help Singaporeans cope with the cost of living, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. Although […]

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S’pore still top HQ choice but China closing in: report

Republic scores on economic policies, infrastructure and political stability MULTINATIONAL companies (MNCs) in the Asia-Pacific still see Singapore as the best place to base their regional headquarters but China is catching up fast, according to a survey. The findings by Spire Research & Consulting show that manufacturing companies based in Asia-Pacific still consider Singapore the […]

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TAKING STOCK – S’pore bourse may face fresh selldown

Regional banks set to be hit hardest by fear of US fallout spreading to Asia WALL Street’s late selldown last Friday bodes ill for Asian markets as they open for trading today. What may un-nerve traders is the contagion that seems to be spreading across Wall Street, as more United States banks unveiled write-downs on […]

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two cents’ worth – Smart investors scout for the best place to park their money

SPORTS teams consider intelligent scouting vital to their long-term success. The same applies to financial investments. Before deciding where to park their money, investors should scout around for the best bargain; that is, they need to gather and sift through information about the money managers they are considering and the strategies these managers employ. Depending […]

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Spreading Orchard buzz

New outlets offering niche, top-end products liven up the ‘quieter’ part of Singapore’s premier shopping area WHILE the talk in town a week ago was about the government’s $40 million makeover of Orchard Road, the part of Orchard Road that stretches from Wheelock Place to Tanglin Mall has been going through some positive changes of […]

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Turbulent time for Asian markets next year: S&P

ASIAN stock markets face a difficult 2008 and could slide sharply, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said yesterday, as regional share prices fell heavily. ‘Next year will be a more difficult one for stock-market returns and we would not rule out the risk of a sharp correction,’ Asia-Pacific equity research head Lorraine Tan said […]

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NEWS ANALYSIS – Banks’ showing may be as good as it gets amid credit turmoil

IS THIS as bad as it gets? This was the question on many investors’ minds as they scrutinised the impact of the global credit market turmoil on the third-quarter results of the three Singapore banks. They have reason to be jittery, given the financial haemorrhage suffered by Wall Street banks. Merrill Lynch has made write-downs […]

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Climate Change plans ‘green buildings’ fund

It will start meeting investors in Q12008 to raise ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars (SINGAPORE) Climate Change Capital, a London-based fund manager and adviser on global warming, plans to start a fund to invest in properties that use energy more efficiently. Climate Change, which manages about US$1.6 billion, will start meeting investors in the first […]

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OCBC’s $221m writedown to cut CDO losses

Bank hopes aggressive move will lift shadow from future earnings as market for ABS CDOs dries up (SINGAPORE) The market for some debt instruments linked to US sub-prime mortgages that were popular with banks worldwide ‘has come to a virtual standstill’, said OCBC Bank yesterday. This led it to slash the value of its portfolio […]

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Jump in number of new PRs, citizens

Record number likely this year; upswing will help tackle population problem THE number of foreigners becoming either Singapore citizens or permanent residents will likely hit a new record this year. And the upswing will go some way in tackling Singapore’s population problem, a key long-term challenge. About 7,300 Singapore citizenships were granted in the first […]

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Sentosa IR to cost $800m more, says Genting

Higher construction and labour costs and new attractions will bring the bill to $6b THE price tag for Genting’s Resorts World at Sentosa will be bigger than expected as a result of higher construction costs and additional attractions, such as a new roller coaster, being lined up. Genting International now expects to spend $6 billion […]

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Inflation risks remain high: Citigroup

CPI may not be capturing full extent of inflation pressures: report OVERHEATING and inflation risks in Singapore remain high and further monetary tightening may be on the cards, says Citigroup. While recent government remarks suggest that the economy is not overheating, the US bank – in a Singapore Market Weekly report published yesterday – is […]

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Market hit by property, bank fears

ST Index suffers 1.2 per cent fall, due also to sharp plunge in Hang Seng Index SINGAPORE stocks started the week yesterday on a sour note due to renewed fears in the property and financial sectors, and a sharp plunge in Hong Kong’s main share index. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 45.14 points or […]

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Markets shudder as Citigroup’s profit engine stalls, writedowns rise

CEO steps down; bank’s sub-prime hit may reach US$11b (NEW YORK) Citigroup Inc, the profit engine built by Sanford ‘Sandy’ Weill, has seized up. The biggest US bank by assets said yesterday that sub-prime mortgages and related securities lost as much as US $11 billion of their value in the past month, a decline that […]

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Inflation may hit record 4% next year

Citigroup forecast based on further tightening of labour and property sectors INFLATION may hit a record- breaking 4 per cent in the first half of next year as a red-hot economy adds more strain on the already-tight labour and property markets. The warning from Citigroup economist Chua Hak Bin also came with a call for […]

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INSIDE MARKETS – More sales deals than buys for the first time in 19 weeks

Bearish sentiment prevails with 17 firms recording 73 disposals last week BUYING activity plunged while sales by directors and substantial shareholders remained constant last week based on filings to the Singapore Exchange from Oct 29 to Nov 2. The sentiment was bearish as sellers recorded more trades than buyers for the first time in the […]

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Sub-prime woes won’t deter S’pore: SM

Financial sector devt will continue here; Asia must press on (SINGAPORE) Singapore is not going to be deterred by the US sub-prime mortgage meltdown and will press on with developing its financial sector, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday. Asia was relatively untouched by the sub-prime crisis because it has yet to move into […]

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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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Credit crisis has lessons for Asia: SM Goh

Region can learn about risk and crisis management from recent US sub-prime turmoil ASIA has escaped relatively unscathed from the recent global credit crisis, as it has not yet developed newfangled complex financial instruments, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday. But Asia can glean some lessons about risk and crisis management from the recent […]

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Singapore is Asia’s most competitive economy

WEF report ranks it No 7 globally, overtaking Japan; another seven Asia-Pacific countries among top 30 (SINGAPORE) Singapore has overtaken Japan to become the most competitive economy in Asia, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report. The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2007-2008, which was released yesterday, ranks Singapore at No 7 in the world […]

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Banks lend big for property and share investments

Share financing grows a thumping 74.8% over the year (SINGAPORE) Bank loans to the property sector in September grew at the fastest annual pace in nearly eight years, according to new data released yesterday. Meanwhile, lending by banks to individuals to buy shares rebounded to its highest level since end-July, when the recent financial market […]

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COMMENTARY – Even the experts can get it so badly wrong

History is replete with heavy trading losses that were all too easily incurred WITHIN less than a fortnight, two Singapore shipbuilders have announced massive currency trading losses. How and why these losses were incurred will surface only after investigations have been conducted. However, history is replete with financial case studies of how heavy trading losses […]

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Sovereign funds pose little risk to the world

UK Chancellor Alistair Darling doesn’t like them. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson don’t either. Sovereign wealth funds, the huge pools of capital built up by a small group of mainly oil-rich nations to invest their assets around the world, are becoming very unpopular. As the funds grow in […]

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Govt won’t let space crunch hinder finance hub ambitions

THE space crunch that has hit the office sector and sent rents soaring will not be allowed to derail Singapore’s aim to be a key financial centre. The pledge came from National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, who also pointed out that the tight supply – itself a factor of the booming economy – provides […]

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Domestic cost factors will add to CPI

Rising wages, rents, car prices, GST hike will have an impact (SINGAPORE) Even with rising oil and food prices, imported inflation will remain muted in 2008, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). But various domestic factors will impact on the consumer price index (CPI), it says. Wage pressures, for one, will persist in […]

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Economy may take breather in 2008 with 4-6% growth

Oil prices and financial volatility are concerns but other drivers of growth still intact, says MAS (SINGAPORE) After four years of robust above-trend growth, Singapore faces a rather ‘more uncertain’ outlook next year, says the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), citing high oil prices and the chances of further bouts of financial volatility. And as […]

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Rising inflation a major risk in emerging markets: economist

Currencies, property, stocks may become more attractive than debt for investors (SINGAPORE) Rising price inflation is fast becoming a major risk in emerging markets around the world due to surging food, oil and asset prices, according to a senior economist. For investors, the inflationary pressures building up in these countries and the likely response of […]

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WARRANT WATCH – Property contracts in the limelight

WARRANTS of property counters drew the attention of investors yesterday, following the withdrawal of the deferred payment scheme last Friday. Homebuyers in Singapore will now have to make progressive payments in step with the construction process, instead of deferring payment till the property is completed a few years later. The most heavily traded CapitaLand contract […]

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Norwegian firms here expect rosy 2008

However, spiralling business and manpower costs are a concern for them MOST Norwegian firms in Singapore expect to see their businesses expand in the next 12 months, as Norway became the sixth-largest foreign investor here in 2005. However, many are increasingly concerned about spiralling business and manpower costs in the city state. In a survey […]

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MAS official casts light on two market risks

Deputy MD also calls on banks to update their stress test scenarios (SINGAPORE) THE recent credit crisis has put the spotlight on off-balance-sheet exposures and regulatory liquidity requirements, said Ong Chong Tee, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) deputy managing director. Two financial innovations most often cited as the culprits which caused the credit markets […]

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September inflation rate eases to 2.7%

Consumer prices decline 0.3% from August, latest statistics show THOSE who think prices in Singapore just keep going up had a pleasant surprise yesterday when the latest inflation figures were released. Consumer prices rose at a slower rate of 2.7 per cent last month from a year earlier and eased from August’s 2.9 per cent. Not […]

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Emerging Asia: positive outlook despite pitfalls

Beware uncertain global economy and riskier financial environment EMERGING Asia’s economies have been among the most dynamic in the world in the last decade. Today, the region accounts for almost half of global economic growth. Much of this success stems from broad reforms by these countries in the last 10 years. These reforms have led […]

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Sub-prime rescue bid will do more harm than good

By PAUL KRUGMAN IT pains me to say this, but this time former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is right about US housing. Mr Greenspan was wrong in 2004, when he sang the praises of adjustable-rate mortgages. He was wrong in 2005, when he dismissed the idea that there was a national housing bubble, suggesting […]

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Credit crunch puts global growth at risk: IMF chief

Champions of super fund to rescue mortgage market seen losing case (WASHINGTON/ZURICH) World credit markets ‘have lived through an earthquake’ and the question is now whether the global economy has reached a turning point after five years of strong growth, the head of the International Monetary Fund said yesterday. Addressing the IMF’s 185 member countries, […]

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Developing markets little hit by turmoil: World Bank

Central bankers see need for multilateral talks to strengthen risk management (WASHINGTON) The impact of recent turbulence in financial markets on developing countries has been limited, and global economic growth remains strong, the World Bank said on Sunday. Finance ministers and central bankers agreed at weekend meetings that while the global economy was on the […]

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Widen moves to calm markets: global finance chiefs

Steps include tighter IMF scrutiny of state investment funds (WASHINGTON) Global finance chiefs on Saturday called for a more broad-based effort to calm financial markets, including tighter scrutiny by the International Monetary Fund and other institutions of increasingly powerful state-owned investment funds. This year’s fall meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank come […]

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WALL STREET INSIGHT – Analysts dismiss spectre of crash, but selling’s not over

Last week’s 4% slide due more to recent sharp run-up than to fear of another crisis IN NEW YORK AS STOCKS plummeted on earnings outlooks and renewed credit worries last Friday on the 20th anniversary of Black Monday, Wall Street forecasters couldn’t help but draw parallels to that record-setting dire day of October 19, 1987, […]

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5.5m population more achievable for Singapore

THE 6.5 million population used as a guide for planning purposes in Singapore is not within reach in the next 50 years, an academic said yesterday. Saw Swee Hock of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies said 5.5 million is a more achievable target. Prof Saw – the second Singaporean after former deputy prime minister […]

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A confused message from the G-7?

WHAT are we to make of it when spokesmen for the world’s most powerful economies and financial institutions begin to contradict each other in public – or make remarks which appear less than consistent with reality? Today, the finance ministers and central bankers of the G-7 – namely the countries of the US, Britain, Canada, […]

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Property booms, busts make economy vulnerable

SINGAPORE ECONOMIC POLICY CONFERENCE Bubble cuts private spending, raises reliance on volatile foreign demand PROPERTY price booms and busts make Singapore’s economic growth more vulnerable to volatile factors and should be prevented, an economist at a think-tank said here yesterday. While the impact of a spike in property prices on overall GDP growth is ‘quite […]

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Tuas Power is first Temasek genco to go on sale

Offer open to all including overseas bidders; no cap on foreign ownership (SINGAPORE) Singapore yesterday kicked off its ‘beauty parade’ of power companies when investment agency Temasek Holdings put Tuas Power up for sale. Tuas is the smallest and youngest of the three generating companies to be sold by Temasek, each of which is expected […]

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Greenspan: No $ plunge if China offloads Treasuries

Markets are clever enough not to over- react, he says (SEOUL) Alan Greenspan doesn’t expect a rapid decline in the dollar should China sell more of its holdings of US Treasuries, according to people attending a forum here yesterday. ‘When asked whether there will be a plunge in the dollar in case China offloads its […]

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Sept exports disappoint with 2.2% growth

Showing falls short of forecast 8.1% and pales against August’s 10.9% pace (SINGAPORE) After expanding stronger than expected in August, Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports sprang another surprise last month – this time it was a dismal showing with meagre 2.2 per cent growth from a year ago, falling far short of the 8.1 per cent […]

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Economy’s solid growth to spill into 2008: NTU

It cites uptick in world electronics demand, sizzling construction activity THANKS to the sustained health of the global economy, an uptick in world electronics demand and sizzling construction activity here, the rosy picture for Singapore’s economy will persist into next year, Nanyang Technological University economists said yesterday. Singapore’s gross domestic product is expected to grow […]

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Possible 2008 recession in US will hit Asia: Stephen Roach

Asia needs to take events in US more seriously, he says IN SEOUL THE United States could face a consumer-induced recession next year, which will also hit Asian economies, said Morgan Stanley’s chairman for Asia, Stephen Roach. Speaking at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Mr Roach – well known for his bearish views – […]

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Foreigners sell record US financial assets in Aug

(WASHINGTON) International investors sold a record amount of US financial assets in August as tightening access to credit threatened economic growth and spurred an exodus from American equities. Total holdings of equities, notes and bonds fell a net US$69.3 billion after an increase of US$19.2 billion in July, the Treasury Department said on Tuesday in […]

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Wealthy group growing fastest in S’pore

IN SEOUL SINGAPORE is home to the fastest-growing population of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in the Asia-Pacific, according to a report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. The 2007 Asia Pacific Wealth Report – released yesterday at the World Knowledge Forum, organised by the Maeil business newspaper, in Seoul – shows the number of HNWIs […]

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Investors’ short memory is worrying

Granted, the sub-prime crisis has passed. But the US economy has other major problems. So it’s advisable to be prudent By WONG SUI JAU WHAT a difference two months makes. In mid-August, the sub-prime loans scare had just rocked markets around the world, causing them to fall for two weeks. The air was heavy with […]

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Making that next crash insignificant

Shield your money to ensure that you won’t be devastated by what markets do in any particular time period WHAT were you doing and feeling during the 1987 stockmarket crash, which will be 20 years ago this week? Having married just two weeks before the crash, I was about a year into a great new […]

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Expected volatility may hit investors: Principal Global CEO

They should diversify portfolios in this period of increased volatility, he says JIM McCaughan, chief executive of US asset manager Principal Global, has turned cautious on the market, warning that expected volatility could cause worried investors to exit at a loss. His broad market outlook, however, is for a number of interest rate cuts which […]

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TAKING STOCK – Record oil prices beat down markets

Trading curbs on Uni-Asia spark fears of similar moves on other soaring stocks THE bull run in China-related stocks was stopped in its tracks yesterday as bourses from Hong Kong to Sydney turned jittery over soaring crude oil prices. Market sentiment in Singapore was also spooked as some brokerages imposed trading curbs after the recently […]

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Rising S$ will hurt many tech firms: Citibank

LOCAL tech stocks, which have long lagged the surging broader market, may be dealt another blow by the recent appreciation of the Singapore dollar, which is expected to squeeze margins further, Citibank says in a report. Although many tech firms have a natural hedge between revenue and raw material purchases, most have revenue that is […]

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Finance sector: future demand trends

The office space needs of financial institutions are changing globally. CHRIS ARCHIBOLD discusses how Singapore is rising to the challenge THE financial services sector has seen unprecedented growth in Singapore over the last two or three years, both as a result of domestic growth and the influx of regional and global jobs into the market. […]

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Businesses roll with stronger S$ but some brace for a crunch

Singapore companies keep firm eye on competitiveness as US dollar slides (SINGAPORE) Some are thinking of shifting their operations to cheaper locations like China and Vietnam. But for most businesses here, the strengthening Singapore currency and weakening American dollar have not made more than a dent on their cost competitiveness – at least not yet. […]

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Why Singapore is what it is

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was the keynote speaker at the opening of the International Bar Association’s annual conference last night. This is his address. TO UNDERSTAND Singapore, you have to know how we were suddenly thrown out of the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 and became an independent state. Peninsular Malaya had been Singapore’s […]

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NEWS ANALYSIS – Asset inflation may not always be a bad thing

Property owners, for instance, could gain as asset prices climb AS RECENTLY as four years ago, it was the fear of falling consumer prices and its corrosive effect on the stock market and residential properties which gave investors sleepless nights. Now, economists are worrying about the very opposite phenomenon – rising levels of inflation and […]

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MAS seeks amendments to financial market laws

Changes aim to enhance regulatory oversight, responsiveness to market innovation LAWS relating to the financial market in Singapore will be amended, with regulators asking for comments on the proposed changes. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has released a policy consultation paper on proposed changes to the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) and the Financial […]

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US credit crunch may test global economic growth

Broader slowdown cannot be ruled out after sub-prime fallout: IMF (WASHINGTON) The recent global credit squeeze caused by the meltdown of risky US mortgage loans may test the ability of the world’s economy to keep expanding as it has over the past several years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday. The IMF also […]

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MAS to let S$ strengthen faster to cool rising inflation

Local currency may hit $1.40 against the greenback by end of next year INFLATION concerns have taken centre stage, after a surprise move by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to curb rising pressure on consumer prices. Amid rosy economic news on the local economy. the central bank said yesterday it will allow the Singapore […]

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S’pore economy is not overheating: PM Lee

Inflation well under control even though economic growth this year is expected to be 7-8% (BUDAPEST) Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday said that he did not believe the Republic’s economy was overheating, with inflation under control despite firm economic growth. ‘This year, we expect 7-8 per cent growth. It’s a good figure but […]

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IMF cuts growth forecasts, warns of downside risks

World growth seen at 4.8% next year, driven mainly by emerging economies ROME – THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its forecast for growth in the United States next year and made more modest downward revisions to its outlook for the euro zone and Japan, Italian news agency Ansa reported yesterday. Citing a draft […]

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Q3 economic growth likely to be strong: economists

Expected 7.5% jump seen as a return to more normal rates SINGAPORE’S monetary policy will probably be left unchanged this week despite higher inflation, while annualised third-quarter economic growth is likely to be strong, if just half that in the unusually strong second quarter. A Reuters poll of 11 economists forecast that the advance estimate […]

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Singapore economy is showing signs of overheating: HSBC

SINGAPORE’S economy risks overheating as home prices reach the highest in a decade, companies hire workers at an unprecedented pace and the stock market soars to record levels, economists say. Inflation at a 12-year high and an economy expanding ‘a little too rapidly’ mean signs of overheating are ‘a few too many for comfort’, Robert […]

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Is the sub-prime crisis really behind us?

TOKYO CORRESPONDENT THE fact that the world – its richer countries at least – has been living through a bubble economy period financed by junk (sub-prime) mortgages and funny money (carry trade) borrowing should be obvious enough to anyone observing events over the past few weeks. But anyone who doubts it need only consider the startling […]

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Wise not to ignore market risks

SINCE the US Federal Reserve’s somewhat surprising 50-basis points interest rate cut on Sept 18, investors all over the world have piled back into stocks with much gusto. Wall Street on Monday rose to a new all-time high while most Asian markets continue to set records of their own. The mood is once again bullish, […]

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US spending slowdown won’t hit Asia hard

But risk from China equity correction is a threat: economist THE threat to Asian economic growth from a slowdown in US consumer spending may not be as great as widely feared, said a senior HSBC economist last week. Economic growth in Asia is increasingly driven by domestic demand, while the historical relationship between US consumer […]

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Emerging-market stocks: views divided

Speculators turn bearish, but bulls are even more confident rally will persist (NEW YORK) Speculators are increasing their bearish bets against two-thirds of the 50 largest emerging-markets companies. That’s making the bulls even more confident stocks will keep rising from Brazil to China. Short sales on Brazilian oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s US-traded shares climbed […]

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MONEY MATTERS – Yes, sub-primes still offer an investment opportunity

And this is despite the matter having morphed into a more general credit crunch problem By JOSEPH CHONG I RECEIVED a few queries from readers of my last article in BT (‘Deciphering the message of the markets’, Aug 1), which discussed, among other things, the origins of the recent sharp market retrenchment. There were two […]

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Is the worst over?

Investors and analysts clash over whether the global sub-prime mortgage crisis has turned the corner Yes, say investors POSITIVE OUTLOOK Banking giants disclose sub-prime related losses on Monday but investors take the disclosures as a sign that the worst may be over. DOW’S RECORD CLOSE Investors push US stocks to its highest-ever close on optimism […]

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Singapore out-Bostons even Boston itself

Republic honoured for harnessing intellectual capital (SINGAPORE) Singapore has been named Most Admired Knowledge City in a new study to identify urban communities that best harness intellectual capital for competitive advantage, pipping among others, the Athens of America, Boston. The other finalists in the inaugural Most Admired Knowledge City (MAKCi) awards – a joint effort […]

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A glowing report card for the hotel industry

Business is brisk as visitor arrivals climb steadily, pushing up room rates and triggering a flurry of new hotel construction SINGAPORE is all set to spur tourism in the next few years with high-impact projects like the two integrated resorts, the Singapore Flyer, the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix and a rejuvenated Orchard Road. Last […]

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Inflation rises to 2.9% – highest since December 1994

Climbing food prices and higher transport and communication costs drive CPI up CONSUMER prices rose by 2.9 per cent last month from a year earlier, the biggest increase since 1994, as the effects of the goods and services tax (GST) hike continued to set in. The August figure came in above the median market expectation […]

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INSIDE MARKETS – Buy and sell transactions hit low levels; fund managers quiet

PURCHASES by directors and substantial shareholders was low for a second straight week with only 34 companies posting 72 ‘buys’, based on filings on the Singapore Exchange from Sept 17 to 21. The figures were consistent with the previous week’s 35 companies and 72 acquisitions. Investors should note that the buying has been low in […]

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Sands raising $5b to fund building of S’pore IR

Banks roped in are said to include DBS, UOB, OCBC (SINGAPORE) Las Vegas Sands Corp, the world’s largest casino operator by market value, is seeking a record loan in Singapore currency to fund construction of the nation’s first integrated resort (IR), which will include a casino, three people familiar with the deal said. The gaming […]

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Rising costs, competition top list of SME concerns

Annual poll shows firms are squeezed by higher wages, input costs, rents RISING business costs have overtaken staffing issues as one of the top hurdles faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), an annual survey has found. Stiff competition, a perennial worry, is the top concern, but escalating costs were the next biggest worry cited […]

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