CEO Morning Brief

Author: edgeinvest   |   Latest post: Wed, 31 May 2023, 8:56 AM


Singapore Home Prices Overtakes Hong Kong as APAC's Most Expensive — Survey

Author: edgeinvest   |  Publish date: Wed, 31 May 2023, 8:56 AM

HONG KONG (May 30): Singapore's private home prices have surpassed Hong Kong as the most expensive in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) in 2023, while rents in the city-state were also the region's highest, the Urban Land Institute said on Tuesday (May 30).

The institute's 2023 APAC Home Attainability Index showed the median price for a Singapore home was US$1.2 million (RM5.54 million) compared with US$1.16 million in Hong Kong, where prices dropped 15% last year. Sydney houses ranked third at US$980,000.

Singapore's property market has been unusually resilient, with prices rising 8.6% last year and 10.6% in 2021, prompting authorities to introduce tough new cooling measures.

Monthly rents in Singapore also held the top spot in the Asia-Pacific at a median of US$2,598, trailed by Sydney houses at US$1,958 and Sydney apartments at US$1,732. Hong Kong ranked fourth at US$1,686.

A heavy influx of immigrants and a trend among young professionals to move out of multi-generational family homes were key drivers behind Singapore's sharp rise in rents and home prices, the institute said.

When including public housing options, however, Singapore offered the most affordable home ownership with its government-built Housing and Development Board flats, which sold for a median price just 4.7 times the median household income.

The report compared housing prices against median incomes in 45 cities across the Asia-Pacific region.

Home ownership posed severe challenges in major cities in China, the Philippines and Vietnam, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, where median home prices were 20 to 35 times the median household income.

Rents were generally deemed more affordable, with monthly rents in most cities below 30% of median household income. Cities in Japan and South Korea had the lowest ratio of monthly rent to income.

Source: TheEdge - 31 May 2023

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Olam Group to Delay Agricultural Unit's Singapore-Saudi Dual IPO

Author: edgeinvest   |  Publish date: Wed, 31 May 2023, 8:50 AM

BENGALURU/SINGAPORE (May 30): Agri-food giant Olam Group does not expect the dual initial public offering (IPO) of its agricultural unit, Olam Agri, in Singapore and Saudi Arabia to be completed in the first half of this year as originally planned, it said on Tuesday.

Shares of the Singapore-based commodity trader fell 6.9% on Tuesday afternoon trade after the announcement.

The dual listing of Olam Agri, which sources had said could raise up to US$1 billion, will be the first such dual IPO in the world if completed.

It would also make Olam Agri the first company to list in both countries and the first non-Gulf Cooperation Council incorporated business to list in Saudi Arabia.

Olam said in a statement that "all the necessary regulatory approvals required to launch this transaction are yet to be obtained".

Olam said a decision on the timing of the dual IPO is subject to factors that include regulatory approvals from Singapore and Saudi Arabia and prevailing market conditions.

It added that it will continue to seek the dual listing "at the next practical window". It did not provide an approximate time frame and said that there is no assurance that it will materialise.

The listing delay comes as regional IPO markets are still struggling. Last Thursday, China's Horizon Construction Development lost about a third of its value on its Hong Kong IPO debut, after raising US$210.2 million as the Asian financial hub's second biggest listing this year.

Olam's plan to list Olam Agri comes after it sold a 35.4% stake in the unit last year for US$1.24 billion to Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co, a unit of Saudi's sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund.

The deal valued Olam Agri at an equity valuation of US$3.5 billion, Olam has said.

Besides Olam Agri, Olam has plans to list its other unit, Olam Food Ingredients, as part of a business overhaul flagged three years ago. The listing will take place after Olam Agri's IPO, Sunny Verghese, Olam's co-founder and group CEO, told a news conference in January.

Olam is one of the world's biggest agricultural commodity traders. It counts Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings as its largest shareholder with a 51% stake, followed by Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp with 14.4%, Refinitiv data showed.

Source: TheEdge - 31 May 2023

Labels: Olam Group
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Singapore Asks Public to Prepare Face Masks as Haze Threat Looms

Author: edgeinvest   |  Publish date: Wed, 31 May 2023, 8:50 AM

(May 30): El Niño will likely increase the risk of transboundary haze in Singapore, according to the national weather office, saying the public should ensure they have sufficient face masks and air purifiers.

The Meteorological Service sees an El Niño climate pattern occurring in the second half of the year. Coupled with a positive Indian Ocean Dipole that’s also likely to develop, this will bring warmer and drier conditions to the city-state and surrounding regions through October, increasing the chance of haze.

Haze is a recurring problem in Southeast Asia, disrupting tourism and costing local economies billions of dollars. It originates from natural or man-made fires in Indonesia and Malaysia, such as when conditions are dry and lands are cleared for growing oil palm, pulpwood and rubber trees. Haze has sparked diplomatic rows between Singapore and its neighbours in the past.

Members of the public have been advised to make preparations like ensuring they have sufficient N95 face masks and air purifiers in working condition, according to the Meteorological Service statement.

Source: TheEdge - 31 May 2023

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Singapore's 1Q GDP Contraction Raises Recession Risk; China Revival Key

Author: edgeinvest   |  Publish date: Fri, 26 May 2023, 8:57 AM

SINGAPORE (May 25): Singapore's economy contracted in the first quarter, raising the risk of a recession in the city-state as the global economic outlook weakens and major trading partner China struggles for a post-Covid lift-off.

Singapore, a major financial hub, is reliant on trade flow to keep its economy humming, though external demand has faltered in the wake of rising borrowing costs and still-strong inflationary pressures.

Gross domestic product rose 0.4% on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2023, official data showed on Thursday, beating the advanced estimate of 0.1% released last month.

Yet, on a quarter-on-quarter, seasonally adjusted basis, the economy shrank 0.4%, a reversal from the 0.1% growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 — leaving the affluent city-state at risk of a technical recession in the event of another contraction in the current quarter.

Maybank economist Chua Hak Bin said a technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of contractions, is possible if the boost from China’s reopening fails to materialise in the second quarter.

"The return of China tourists is more a trickle than a flood so far," he said.

The trade ministry, however, said it does not expect a technical recession this year but acknowledged that the external demand outlook for the rest of the year had weakened.

Yong Yik Wei, chief economist at the trade ministry, said the government expects low quarterly growth in the first half of this year and a pick up in momentum thereafter.

"But obviously, you know, given the downside risks and the weakening outlook, we cannot rule out the possibility that there could be some quarters of negative q-on-q growth this year."

Separately, the central bank said its current monetary policy was appropriate but it is keeping a watching brief on both growth and inflation trends.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore left monetary policy levers unchanged last month, after tightening five times in a row from October 2021, including in two off-cycle moves last year in January and July.

The trade ministry is maintaining its GDP growth forecast at 0.5% to 2.5% this year, with growth likely to come in at around the mid-point of that range.

Maybank's Chua said he was surprised to see the growth forecast maintained.

"We are less optimistic and see the economy stagnating rather than rebounding in the coming quarters."

Source: TheEdge - 26 May 2023

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Singapore Orders Review After Outcry Over Ministers’ Home Rents

Author: edgeinvest   |  Publish date: Wed, 24 May 2023, 8:52 AM

(May 23): Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ordered a review after questions were raised in parliament and on social media about colonial homes rented by two of his cabinet ministers.

Lee said Tuesday (May 23) that he’s asked Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean to lead a inquiry into the issue of the residences rented by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Law Minister K Shanmugam.

The review will determine “whether proper processes have been followed, and if there has been any wrongdoing,” Lee said in a statement. “This must be done to ensure that this government maintains the highest standards of integrity.”

The reports should be completed and ready for presentation at the next sitting of parliament in July, Lee said, adding that the ministers supported an independent review.

The rentals were in “full compliance” of the Singapore Land Authority’s procedures, the agency which manages the two sprawling homes said May 12. Opposition politician Kenneth Jeyaretnam had questioned whether the ministers were “paying less than the fair market value” for the bungalows along Ridout Road, near a high-end entertainment and lifestyle hub.

Source: TheEdge - 24 May 2023

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Singapore Airlines Hands Staff Eight Months’ Salary Bonus After Record Results

Author: edgeinvest   |  Publish date: Fri, 19 May 2023, 8:49 AM

(May 18): Singapore Airlines Ltd will pay staff a bonus of around eight months’ salary after posting a record annual profit.

Eligible staff will be paid a profit-sharing bonus equivalent to 6.65 months’ pay, and a maximum of 1.5 months’ salary of ex-gratia bonus in recognition of their hard work and sacrifices during the pandemic, a spokesperson for the airline said. Senior management won’t receive that additional ex-gratia bonus.

“The bonus for Singapore Airlines’ employees is based on a long-standing annual profit-sharing bonus formula that has been agreed with our staff unions,” the spokesperson said.

The city-state’s flag carrier on Tuesday reported net income of S$2.16 billion (US$1.62 billion) for the year ended March 31, and said forward sales are healthy across all cabin classes, led by bookings to China, Japan and South Korea. Singapore Airlines’ shares were up 1.2% on Thursday.

Singapore Airlines and its budget offshoot Scoot carried 26.5 million passengers in the year, six times higher than the 12 months through March 2022, with passenger capacity rising to 79% of pre-Covid levels in March.

On Monday, Singapore Airlines said it flew 1.75 million passengers in April, up 53% from the same month last year. Hong Kong rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has a way to go before it gets to those heights, with last year’s revenue still only about half of pre-pandemic levels.

Source: TheEdge - 19 May 2023

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