Friday, January 30, 2015

News Highlights

More workers in Singapore laid off last year as businesses restructure

SINGAPORE (Jan 30): More workers in Singapore were laid off last year than in 2013 as companies restructured.
Some 12,800 workers were made redundant, compared with 11,560 the previous year, according to preliminary estimates from the Ministry of Manpower released today.
There were 3,800 redundancies in the fourth quarter, more than the 3,660 in the same period a year earlier and 3,500 in 3Q2014.
Overall, Singapore's unemployment rate last year inched up to 2% from 1.9% in 2013.

Catalysts for SMRT nowhere within sight despite earnings improvement

SINGAPORE (Jan 30): The big improvement in SMRT Corp's December-quarter earnings is no doubt commendable. And with fares going up from April and energy costs coming down, the public transport operator should continue doing well for some time, even amid rising demands from commuters and the government for it to beef up capacity, service standards and reliability.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Singapore shares inch up; eyes on Fed statement

SINGAPORE (Jan 28): Singapore shares edged higher despite weakness on Wall Street overnight.
Buyers nibbled at stocks amid caution ahead of a statement from the US Federal Reserve early tomorrow morning (3am Singapore time) after it wraps up a two-day policy meeting.
With deflation becoming a worry for central banks worldwide, investors are hoping that the Fed will delay raising interest rates. Earlier today, Singapore's central bank surprised markets by easing monetary policy in response to weaker oil prices and global economic prospects.

Sheng Siong's venture into China to yield 'satisfactory' return: Daiwa

SINGAPORE (Jan 28): Profit margins for supermarket operators in China may be thin, but Sheng Siong Group can still expect a decent return from doing business in Asia's biggest economy, according to Daiwa.
The company firmed up plans last month for a joint venture with Kunming LuChen Group, a condiments maker, to operate supermarkets in the country.
Sheng Siong will own 60% of the new entity, which will have a registered capital of US$10 million ($13 million), while LuChen will have a 30% stake. Sheong Siong executive director Tan Ling San will own the remaining 10%.

Singapore ups the ante in cyber security fight

SINGAPORE (Jan 28): Singapore is gearing up for a crackdown on cyber crime with the launch of a central agency and the appointment of a minister in charge of cyber security, the government said on Tuesday, as the wealthy city-state grapples with a rise in online crime.
In recent years, Singapore has struggled to combat cyber criminals, who have committed offences including stealing client data from Standard Chartered Bank and hacking the official website of the prime minister.

Singapore central bank cuts 2015 inflation forecast

Singapore's central bank has downgraded its inflation forecasts amid lower oil prices and weaker global economic prospects.
Core inflation, which excludes private road transport and accommodation costs, is now expected at 0.5% to 1.5% this year, down from a previous projection of 2% to 3%, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a statement today.
Its 2015 forecast for headline inflation now ranges from minus 0.5% to 0.5%, compared with 0.5% to 1.5% previously.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


  • Singapore shares opened lower on Tuesday, with the benchmark Straits Times Index at 3,404.42 in early trade, up 0.65 per cent, or 22.02 points.
  • Alex Zou joined about 100 Singaporeans who packed shoulder-to-shoulder into an auction at the Amara Hotel on a Friday afternoon looking for a cheap home to buy.
  • Two Singapore oilfield service firms are finding it tough to refinance debt maturing later this year as the slump in crude prices has made investors and lenders hesitant, banking sources said.
  • Oil fell in see-saw trade on Monday, with US crude ending at its lowest in nearly six years, as traders discounted comments from Opec's top official about the market finally finding a bottom.
  • Shares of China Environment jumped 13% on strong volume to a five-month high in early trading.

UBS says wealthy Asians abandoning Australian dollars

SINGAPORE (Jan 27): Asia's wealthy are falling out of love with the Aussie dollar as record-low yields and sustained declines persuade them to look elsewhere, according to UBS Group.
Many of the bank's wealthiest clients in the region began to abandon the currency as Australia's bond yield premium over the US slid and the Federal Reserve discussed raising interest rates, said Simon Smiles, Zurich-based chief investment officer for ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
The 10-year yield is 74 basis points above that of the US, down from 130 a year ago.

Singapore shares advance; small caps active

SINGAPORE (Jan 27): Singapore shares headed higher as buyers returned a day after lying low amid uncertainty over Greece's commitment to its austerity programme.
At 10:20am (0220 GMT), gainers outnumbered decliners by two to one. The Straits Times Index was up 0.7% at 3,421.49.
Pacific Andes Resources Development, which just wrapped up a rights issue, was the most active stock in the market, rising 6.1% to 5.2 cents with more than 47 million shares changing hands.

Singapore oilfield service firms struggle to refinance debt as oil slides

SINGAPORE (Jan 27): Two Singapore oilfield service firms are finding it tough to refinance debt maturing later this
year as the slump in crude prices has made investors and lenders hesitant, banking sources said.
Ezra Holdings has a S$200-million bond due in September while Swiber Holdings has a S$85-million bond due in June.
Even though the bonds are just five to eight months away from maturity, they are trading as much as 2-2.5 points below par, indicating the concerns around refinancing.