SINGAPORE : Analysts have said that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) could ease monetary policy further, given the low inflation and weak growth outlook. The regulator is due to meet for its biannual policy review in April as it looks for ways to boost growth.
MAS unexpectedly moved to slow the rise of the Singapore dollar in January as plunging oil prices eased inflation.
To bolster growth, analysts are expecting MAS to further adjust its exchange rate policy as the Singapore dollar’s Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) trades near the lower-end of the band set by MAS.
Mr Francis Tan, an economist with UOB, said: “We do not think that they will lower the Singapore dollar NEER slope again. However, we think that there could be a one-off downward re-centring of the Singapore dollar NEER midpoint – by perhaps 2 per cent. What that means is that it will essentially weaken the Singapore dollar a bit in order to support export competitiveness in Singapore in 2015.”
A weaker currency would help exporters, whose goods become relatively cheaper in foreign markets. Read more here >>
SINGAPORE : More Singaporeans intend to buy a residential property within a year, but are targeting homes in districts with lower prices because of declining budgets, a survey by real-estate portal iProperty has found.
The half-yearly Asia Property Market Sentiment Report released yesterday showed that the proportion of respondents who are looking to buy a property within a year grew to 38 per cent from 23 per cent in its previous survey in September. A total of 2,304 people in Singapore responded to the online survey.
But while the intent to buy is there, more respondents said they had smaller budgets, with 28 per cent of them looking to spend below S$500,000, sharply higher than the 18 per cent in the previous survey.
The number of people with budgets between S$500,000 and S$1 million also fell to 55 per cent from 66 per cent.
Analysts said the survey findings were not surprising, following the recent falls in prices of both private property and Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats. Read more here >>
SINGAPORE : Singapore’s property prices may have largely defied doomsday predictions for a crash, but investors appear reluctant to step back into the market anytime soon.
“Singaporeans continue to see property as a key investment,” Sean Tan, a general manager for Singapore at iProperty.com (ASX:IPP-AU), said in a statement with the results of the real estate website’s market sentiment survey.
But while 29 percent cited rental income as a reason to buy, analysts are concerned about whether tenants and rents may be drying up.
“It has become increasingly difficult to rent out units as the increased completions and slower influx of foreigners is resulting in rising vacancies,” analysts at UOB-KayHian (Singapore Exchange: UOKH-SG) said in a note Monday, citing an 8.5 percent vacancy rate for condo and apartment units. Based on government data, the vacancy rate was around 7.8 percent at the end of 2014, the highest since the end of 2005. Read more here >>
Republic’s housing kept affordable
The topics “superstar cities”, “inequality” and “housing policy” are often discussed separately.
I will focus on the area where they overlap – in particular, how housing policy has been used to mitigate inequality in the context of Singapore, a global superstar city.
The Global City concept originates from the work of sociologist Saskia Sassen, which dates back to the 1980s. In an age of globalisation, division of labour is international in scope and production activities are distributed across the world. A global city is a significant point where the internationally oriented financial and producer services that make the global economy run choose to agglomerate.
In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global City Competitiveness Index, Singapore is ranked third in global competitiveness after New York and London, and the most globally competitive in Asia. The fourth position is shared by Paris and Hong Kong, and Tokyo is ranked sixth. Read more here >>
VIETNAM : South Korean giant Lotte, after inaugurating last September Lotte Center Hanoi, a mixed-use development with offices, a shopping mall, hotels, and apartments, is now eyeing a similar project in Ho Chi Minh City.
With an investment of some US$2 billion, the Smart Complex in HCMC’s new Thu Thiem urban area would be one of its biggest projects in Vietnam.
Lotte is one of several foreign property investors to have recently upped their investment in the country.
Hong Kong’s Sun Wah Group has a more than 40 percent stake in a multi-million dollar project to build an apartment building complex in HCMC’s Binh Thanh District.
The group is currently the owner of the Sun Wah Tower in HCMC, and the developer of the $400 million Saigon Pearl residential-commercial complex. It also plans to build an industrial park in Hanoi and a resort in Vinh Phuc Province. Read more here >>
PHILIPPINES : The real estate exposures (REEs) of universal, commercial (U/KBs), thrift banks (TBs) and trust departments increased by 5.4% this quarter, buoyed by an increase in real estate loans (RELS) while non-performing real estate loans have continued to decrease, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.
The end-2014 figure was 1.221 trillion ($27.4 billion), an increase from P 1.159 trillion ($26 billion) in REEs recorded a quarter earlier.
The rise was attributed to the banks’ real estate loans (RELs), which increased by 6.8 % to P 1.043 trillion ($23.4 billion) quarter-on-quarter.
These loans represented 85.4 % of REEs during the period, with 60% of the RELs extended to land developers, construction firms and other corporate entities. The remaining 40 % went to individual households for occupancy.
Read more >>