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Weekly News Review / Issue 35

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Top News for the Week


Avenue South Residence pricing half of units below S$1.5 million

Half of the units at the 1,074-unit development Avenue South Residence will be priced below S$1.5 million, with public previews for the project to commence on 30 August.

Three hundred units will be initially launched for sale about a week later on September 7. One- bedroom units (474 to 527 sq ft) will start from S$858,000 and two-bedroom units (657 to 883 sq ft), from $1.15 million.

The consortium behind Avenue South Residence – UOL Group, its subsidiary, United Industrial Corporation (UIC), and Kheng Leong Company – expects it to draw interest from both owner- occupiers and investors, pointing to upcoming projects in the vicinity such as the Greater Southern Waterfront, the Rail Corridor and the SGH Campus.

The 99-year leasehold development at Silat Avenue consists of one-, two-, three-, and four- bedroom units across two 56-storey towers, as well as five conserved four-storey blocks dubbed the Heritage Collection. There are 223 3-bedroom units ranging in size from 947 to 1,302 sq ft, and 104 4-bedroom units sized 1,496 to 1,668 sq ft.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/avenue-south-residence-pricing-half-of-units-below-s15-million https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/avenue-south-residence-preview-starts-tomorrow


Bukit Sembawang’s Luxus Hills to open for preview

The Luxus Hills development has released 32 out of 78 units for sale, with public previews starting on 30 August. Six of the 999-year leasehold units in the Seletar Hills Estate have already been sold.

Prices for the four-storey landed homes being developed by Bukit Sembawang Estates start from around $3 million to $4.2 million, or $1,894 per sq ft.

The development comprises 58 intermediate terraces, 10 corner terraces and 10 semi-detached homes.

Intermediate terrace units range from 3,575 to 3,810 sq ft, corner ones from 3,541 to 3,671 sq ft, and semi-detached from 3,541 to 3,671 sq ft.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/bukit-sembawangs-luxus-hills-to-open-for-preview https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/bukit-sembawang-estates-luxus-hills-opens-for-preview-on-aug-30


Curbing ‘lottery effect’ of million-dollar HDB flats easier said than done

This issue of the “lottery effect” of HDB flats in central areas made the news again this past fortnight.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s announcement in the National Day Rally that some 9,000 homes — both private and HDB — will be built on the site of Keppel Club after its lease expires in two years’ time created quite a buzz.

Property analysts chimed in to say that flats in the Greater Southern Waterfront development would be much sought after given the location and sea views, and that buyers can expect premium prices.

One analyst told TODAY that securing an HDB flat at the upcoming waterfront Keppel Club location would be like striking a lottery, prompting a TODAY reader to suggest that HDB come up with new rules such as a longer minimum occupation period (MOP) to curb profiteering.

To be sure, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong had said as far back as 2016 that the Government was looking at ways to tighten sale conditions of future HDB flats at the Greater Southern Waterfront and the new Central Business District in Jurong precisely to curb such “lottery effect”.

New measures could include a shorter lease than the standard 99 years, a higher resale levy or a longer MOP than the current five years.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, Director of Research at Huttons Asia, said that shorter leases or a longer MOP of 10 to 15 years could both help to curb the ‘lottery effect”. But he has another suggestion on how shorter leases could work.

Instead of a blanket rule of say a lease of 70 years, give buyers of these new flats some flexibility in selecting their lease tenures.

This would be based on the current policy for two-room flexi flats where those aged 55 and above can take up a lease of between 15 and 45 years in five-year increments, as long as it covers the buyers till they are at least 95 years old.

For instance, if a couple aged 30 and 32 buy a new HDB flat in the Greater Southern Waterfront, they can opt for a lease of 65 years instead of 70 years.

“In this way, the buyer will have a home for life and he knows very well that because of the shorter lease, the upside will be limited,” Mr Lee told TODAY.

Beyond the effectiveness of measures to curb profiteering, there is also the question of the criteria to impose such measures should the Government decide to proceed with one or a combination of them.

“If we use ‘location’, is it going to be broad or narrowed to a certain estate?” asked Mr Lee.

“If we use ‘sea view’, then should Punggol and Marine Parade be included in this category? If we use ‘in the city’, Greater Southern Waterfront is technically not so. If we use ‘CBD’, then Jurong East falls into this category as it is billed as the second ‘CBD’. It will create a lot of comparison and unhappiness.”

Link to the story:



Singapore mortgages may resist global rates downtrend – for now

Interest rates are falling across the world – with some markets already mired in negative rates – but the flow through to Singapore mortgage rates may be mitigated by local factors.

Historically, the US Fed rate and Sibor – the rate banks borrow from one another – have been closely correlated. In anticipation of the Fed’s cut, some local banks had already cut their home loan rates earlier this year.

Sibor is a reflection of demand and supply dynamics of the domestic Singapore dollar funding market while Fed funds rate is the policy rate in the US. Lower global rates will be one of the key factors driving corporate and home rates lower. However, domestic demand and supply dynamics in the corporate and property sector can act as countervailing factors.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/singapore-mortgages-may-resist-global-rates-downtrend-for-   now


Happy ending for S$401.9m collective sale of City Towers in Bukit Timah

The sale of City Towers in Bukit Timah has finally been completed at its fourth en bloc attempt and after a pair of sibling owners initially attempted to block the deal.

But the sale hit a snag after the siblings, who owed two units at City Towers, filed their objections to the High Court. The duo, however, withdrew their objections; and the sale order approving the collective sale was issued in May this year.

The sale price – which is more than 13 per cent above the owners’ reserve price – works out to a land rate of about S$1,847 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr), after factoring in a development charge of S$3.5 million.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/happy-ending-for-s4019m-collective-sale-of-city-towers-in-bukit- timah-0



Nassim Road condo up for collective sale at S$223m

A prime District 10 freehold condominium, Beaufort On Nassim, has been launched for collective sale by tender at a minimum expected price of S$222.68 million.

The price tag translates to a unit land rate of S$3,508 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr).

Completed in 2008, the four-storey development at 12 Nassim Road stands on a site 4,212.6 sq m in size.

The Beaufort on Nassim site is zoned for residential use, and has a gross plot ratio of 1.4 under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan 2014.

The tender for Beaufort On Nassim closes at 3pm on Sept 30.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/nassim-road-condo-up-for-collective-sale-at-s223m https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/nassim-rd-condo-up-for-collective-sale-at-223m-reserve-price


Bukit Panjang GCB up for auction with S$9m asking price

A good class bungalow (GCB) in Bukit Panjang will be put for sale via auction by its owner next month with an asking price of S$9 million.

The asking price for the freehold property at 7 Chestnut Crescent works out to around S$975 per sq ft (psf), based on the total land area of 9,232 sq ft or 857.7 sq m.

In comparison, a landed home at 29 Chestnut Crescent was sold for S$8.8 million or S$1,103 psf during Q3 2018.

Subject to the relevant approvals, the buyer may also acquire an adjacent state land that spans 2,836 sq ft, which could help to lower the overall effective land rate below S$975 psf.

The bungalow is a short drive from the Dairy Farm Quarry and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Other amenities in the vicinity include Hillion mall, Petir Park, and schools including Bukit Panjang Primary School, Assumption English School, CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace, and Fajar Secondary School. The property is also near the Cashew and Bukit Panjang MRT stations.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/bukit-panjang-gcb-up-for-auction-with-s9m-asking-price-0 https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/bt-panjang-bungalow-up-for-auction-with-9m-asking-price


Residential site off Bartley Road up for sale under GLS

A residential site at Jalan Bunga Rampai off Bartley Road has been launched for sale by public tender under the confirmed list of the second half of the 2019 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced.

The development with a 99-year lease occupies a site area of 4,666.6 sq m, and a maximum gross floor area of 9,800 sq m.

It has been noted that the Bartley Road/ Jalan Bunga Rampai site is the smallest residential site on the GLS programme for the second half of 2019, with the potential to build just 115 units of about 85 sq m each. The plot is also trapezoid-shaped, and situated next to a small park and the Bartley Viaduct.

The tender for the Jalan Bunga Rampai site will close at noon on Jan 9, 2020.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/residential-site-off-bartley-road-up-for-sale-under-gls https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/residential-site-in-bartley-up-for-tender


Japanese rail giant East Japan Railway Company opens co-working space in Singapore

One of Japan’s largest passenger railway companies is opening a co-working space here that it hopes will connect Japanese and Singapore companies.

The space of around 13,000 sq ft across the 11th floor of Twenty Anson in Tanjong Pagar can accommodate around 275 people across private offices, desks and meeting rooms.

East Japan Railway Company’s Singapore branch (JR East Singapore) believes it will provide a platform for companies from both countries to forge connections and facilitate the exchange of technology and ideas.

Opening a co-working space, an idea conceived about 18 months ago, is part of the company’s plans to expand its operations out of Japan, revitalising the Japanese economy and creating new businesses by embracing new technologies and innovation.

Setting up a platform here is intended to help Japanese companies diversify their operations and conduct market research that will aid them in expanding out of Japan.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/japanese-rail-giant-opens-co-working-space-in-singapore https://www.straitstimes.com/business/jr-easts-spore-co-working-space


Metro to shut flagship outlet at Centrepoint

Department store Metro will close its flagship store at The Centrepoint next month, after five years as the mall’s anchor tenant.

Its departure comes after several other tenants announced plans to move out, including Times Bookstores and TianPo Jewellery.

A spokesman for Metro told The Straits Times that it will not be renewing its lease at The Centrepoint, leaving it with two other department stores in Singapore – at Paragon and Causeway Point.

“In recent years, Metro has been rationalising its retail business in response to changing market conditions… Metro continues to focus on its core businesses of retail in Singapore and Indonesia, together with property investment and development,” the spokesman said.

The store, which spans six floors, was advertising clearance sales of up to 85 per cent off when The Straits Times visited last Saturday.

Link to the story:



Decathlon to replace Metro as anchor tenant at The Centrepoint

Sporting goods giant Decathlon will replace Metro as The Centrepoint’s anchor tenant, following news of the department store’s impending departure in September.

A spokesman for Frasers Property Singapore, which owns the mall, said that the outlet is slated to open in the first half of next year.

He did not state how much of Metro’s current six-floor premises Decathlon would occupy, or whether there were plans to bring in any other new tenants to The Centrepoint.

The new Decathlon outlet will be the French retail giant’s first store in the Orchard Road shopping district.

The spokesman said that the store aims to offer an “immersive and activity-based concept” to meet the needs of the new generation of tech-savvy consumers.

It will feature virtual simulations and augmented reality components, which will allow shoppers to try out products in an environment that simulates real-life conditions.

Additionally, the spokesman said that Decathlon will be opening a new click-and-collect store at Waterway Point, which is part-owned by Frasers Centrepoint Trust, a member of the Frasers Property Group. Customers of this store will be able to order their products online and collect them from the Waterway Point outlet within two hours.

Link to the story:



DFS to quit liquor, tobacco business at Changi Airport

After 40 years, DFS Group is bowing out of the duty-free liquor and tobacco business at Changi Airport.

The longtime tenant at Singapore’s renowned airport will be exiting the operations in June 2020 to make way for a new operator.

It will shutter the stores across all four terminals once its concession expires. A DFS spokesperson told The Business Times (BT) that earlier reports of impending widespread layoffs resulting from its pullout was incorrect. About 500 people are directly employed to service DFS’s liquor and tobacco operations at the airport, and the company will “work closely” with these staff to ensure a smooth handover after the new operator is announced around November, the spokesperson said.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/consumer/dfs-to-quit-liquor-tobacco-business-at-changi-airport https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/dfs-to-close-duty-free-stores-at-changi-airport-next-june


Kenny Rogers Roasters to reopen in Jem

Just four months after American rotisserie chain Kenny Rogers Roasters shut its last outlet at Great World City in April, the brand has confirmed that it will return by early October.

Its new 2,200 sq ft store – which seats 80 diners – will open at Jem mall in Jurong East.

The restaurant chain, previously under Pacific Utama, is now under the Lao Huo Tang Group, which runs an eponymous chain of casual restaurants specialising in Chinese herbal soup.

Link to the story:



Two Peninsula Plaza basement units for sale at S$13.5m

Two 999-year leasehold strata retail units on the basement level of Peninsula Plaza have been relaunched for sale at a guide price of S$13.5 million, which works out to be about S$2,825 per sq ft on strata area.

Peninsula Plaza, located in the City Hall area, is a mixed-use 30-storey development comprising an office tower with a five-storey retail podium.

The two units that are for sale have a combined strata area of 4,779 sq ft and are fully leased to five tenants – two restaurants and three retailers.

As this is a commercial property, foreigners are eligible to purchase the property.

There is no Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty or Seller’s Stamp Duty imposed on the purchase.

Link to the story:



Singapore needs to be ready for worst-case scenario: Chan Chun Sing

Among the various challenges facing Singapore, the ongoing US-China trade war was foremost on the minds of many participants at a public forum.

But it is no longer just a trade row, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who chaired the session, and there are many competing interests between the two powers – such as in technology and currency.

“We are concerned with how the global trading system, the global digital economic system is coming together, or is being fragmented,” Mr Chan said at a dialogue organised by government feedback unit Reach and Chinese broadsheet Lianhe Zaobao.

“Because for Singapore, we need to make preparations for the worst-case scenario whereby if the world fragments – be it in the trade, production, or digital space – we will have to ask ourselves, how can we overcome these challenges and play a constructive role, a positive part in this,” he added.

Mr Chan told reporters that while many participants saw the trade war as a challenge, there were also others who saw it as an opportunity for Singapore to position itself, carefully, to ride the waves of change.

Link to the story:



Proposed building of ‘Downtown South’ resort draws mixed views

There are exciting things ahead for Pulau Brani after years of operating as a port terminal, with plans to build attractions such as theme parks on the island, after Brani Terminal is relocated to Tuas Port by 2027.

Revealing the plans at the National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also disclosed that a “Downtown South” resort is likely to be built on Pulau Brani.

This would add to Downtown East, the lifestyle hub in Pasir Ris which hosts, among other things, a resort, an amusement park, event spaces and shops, and is run by the National Trades Unions Congress (NTUC).

But some have questioned if having such a resort on Pulau Brani would be the best use of the island.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/home-design/proposed-building-of-downtown-south-resort-draws-mixed- views

https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/home-design/making-waves-along-the-coastline https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/home-design/lessons-from-st-james-power-station


Singapore exports to Turkmenistan see five-fold rise from 2016

Singapore firms are already exploring cooperation with the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan in the chemicals and private education sectors, and there is potential to increase trade flows further, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon.

He was speaking at the inaugural Singapore-Turkmenistan Business Forum, organised in conjunction with the two-day state visit of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow.

Nine agreements were inked at the forum, including seven memoranda of understanding (MOU).

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-exports-to-turkmenistan-see-five-fold-rise- from-2016

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/spore-sees-exports-to-turkmenistan-grow-fivefold-from-  2016


Retiring. Rehiring. Reskilling.

Working Singaporeans are familiar with upgrading and reskilling to take on new roles, and new jobs.

Singapore companies are restructuring to take advantage of technology and new opportunities. And as more Singaporeans live longer and are able to work well into their late 60s, and beyond, it is also time for workplaces to undergo transformation, said panellists at a round-table discussion. They hope that by 2030, the country will see more multi-generational workplaces, where older workers share their experience and younger workers share their creativity and energy.

Employers should also engage mature workers in structured career planning sessions, redesign jobs and work spaces, and provide part-time employment opportunities, suggested the workgroup.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/manpower/retiring-rehiring-reskilling https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/manpower/start-thinking-about-reskilling-early


Singapore a bigger draw for investment amid global uncertainties

Singapore will likely remain an attractive investment destination over the medium to long term, especially for firms making capital-intensive moves amid global uncertainties and an escalating trade war, analysts told The Straits Times.

Among the reasons cited are the Republic’s stable political landscape and pro-business environment, as well as its infrastructure such as an extensive network of free trade agreements, they said.

One such commitment is industrial gases and engineering firm Linde’s new US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) manufacturing complex on Jurong Island.

It has been held up as one of several significant investments this year, testament to Singapore’s strong fundamentals amid slowing economic growth.

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/singapore-a-bigger-draw-for-investment-amid-global- uncertainties-analysts


Singaporeans’ concern on climate change shows they think long term: DPM Heng

The impact of climate change and the need to tackle it early is one message from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent National Day Rally that resonated with most Singaporeans, especially the young, according to government feedback unit Reach.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was heartened by the response, said Singaporeans see the importance of tackling even challenges that are not imminent and of preparing early.

Mr Heng said Singaporeans have responded positively to the Rally, and its programmes and policies that will enable them to reach their full potential.

These measures include providing high-quality, affordable and accessible education, from the pre- school level up to institutes of higher learning, as well as the extension of the re-employment and retirement ages.

On re-employment and retirement, he said Singaporeans asked for more details.

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/singaporeans-concern-on-climate-change-shows-they-think-long-term-dpm-  heng


Core inflation falls to lowest in three years

In a sign that the economic downturn is hitting consumer demand, Singapore’s core inflation fell last month to its lowest level in more than three years.

Broad-based weakness in consumer prices caused core inflation – which strips out private road transport and accommodation costs – to drop to 0.8 per cent last month. This is down from 1.2 per cent in June and is its lowest since April 2016. Analysts say the muted prices suggest that consumers are worried about their job prospects and have cut back on spending.

The authorities also downgraded their guidance for full-year core inflation. It is now expected to come in “within the lower half of the 1 per cent to 2 per cent forecast range”, from “near the mid- point” of the range.

Experts are of the view that the Monetary Authority of Singapore will likely ease monetary policy during its upcoming October review to boost economic growth.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/core-inflation-falls-to-lowest-in-three-years https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/core-inflation-falls-as-worried-consumers-cut-back-on-purchases https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/economists-now-expect-easing-of-singdollar-slope-in- october


Singapore July factory output beats forecasts, technical recession may be averted

Singapore’s factory output fared better than forecast in July, but economists caution it is too early to hail a manufacturing turnaround as the US and China intensify their tariff brinksmanship.

They added that the stronger-than-expected numbers might save Singapore from a technical recession in the third quarter, but it is unlikely to move the needle when it comes to the widely- projected monetary policy easing in October.

Industrial production dipped by 0.4 per cent in July, narrowing from a revised decline of 8.1 per cent in June, according to estimates from the Singapore Economic Development Board.

This also beat economists’ projections of a 5.8 per cent drop, even as it remains in negative territory for the third straight month. Excluding the volatile biomedical manufacturing sector, output fell 0.7 per cent.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output actually increased 3.6 per cent in July. With biomedical manufacturing stripped out, output surged 9.4 per cent.

The upside surprise in July mostly came from the heavyweight electronics sector, which fell by a much smaller 0.9 per cent compared with the 18.2 per cent dive in June. This was led by an improvement in semiconductors which rose by 0.3 per cent – a sharp surge from the 21.4 per cent plunge in June.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-july-factory-output-beats-forecasts-technical- recession-may-be-averted

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/spore-factory-output-far-better-than-expected-in-july-falling-04 https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/analysts-split-on-outlook-after-factory-output-in-july-falls-04


Service sector’s revenue growth slows to 2.8% in Q2

Revenue growth in the service sector slowed again in the second quarter, with analysts warning of further weakening ahead.

Overall receipts rose 2.8 per cent in the three months to June 30, compared with the same period a year earlier, but fell short of the 3.6 per cent expansion in the first quarter and the 4.1 per cent increase in the fourth quarter last year.

All segments registered higher quarterly revenue year on year, with transport and storage posting a 5.6 per cent year-on-year increase.

This was due to higher demand for water and air transport services, according to data from the Statistics Department.

Turnover in health and social services rose 4.2 per cent on the back of higher receipts from hospitals.

Link to the story:



Median-income among older workers to gain most from changes

Older Singaporean workers whose incomes are in the middle of their cohort will benefit the most from being able to work longer and have more retirement savings over the next 10 years, based on calculations by an economist.

Recent moves to raise the CPF contribution rates for older workers will enhance the annuity payout of median-income earners by close to 22 per cent come 2030.

If they choose to start their CPF Life payouts at 65, they can technically be drawing down their annuity and continuing to get a pay cheque. And if they are re-employed till 70, they will have accumulated additional savings.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/median-income-among-older-workers-to-gain-most-from- changes


Demand here for tech jobs up in past year: Report

Demand for technology jobs in Singapore rose by 20 per cent in the past 12 months, the Salary Benchmark 2019 report released recently by recruiting firm Michael Page shows.

In particular, the report noted high demand in Singapore for specialised e-commerce, digital marketing and data science talent, but a shortage of supply.

The report said the highest-paid roles in the technology sector included chief technology officer, with an average monthly salary of $22,000, followed by IT director or head of IT security at


In the digital sector, an e-commerce director receives an average of $23,000 a month and a digital marketing director, $18,000. An employee dealing with user experience Web analytics, including SEO (search engine optimisation) or SEM (search engine marketing), draws about $9,600 a month, the report said.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/demand-here-for-tech-jobs-up-in-past-year-report https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/technology/demand-for-tech-jobs-in-singapore-grew-20-over-last-year-report-0


Singapore keeps its spot as world’s second safest city

Singapore has retained its position as the world’s second safest city, after Tokyo, in a global index that looks at indicators including the ability of communities to bounce back after a disaster or cyber attack.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Safe Cities Index (SCI), which ranks 60 cities across five continents, looks at 57 qualitative and quantitative indicators spread across four categories in terms of security: digital, infrastructure, health and personal.

A total of 10 new indicators were added this year, including on the existence and speed of emergency services, the existence of a disaster plan and the ability to defend infrastructure against cyber attacks.

Link to the story:




Linde makes big bet on Singapore with US$1.4b Jurong plant

Global industrial gases and engineering group Linde broke ground for its upcoming US$1.4 billion integrated manufacturing complex in Singapore – the single largest investment in the company’s history.

Slated for completion in early 2023, the complex will be located and integrated with Linde’s existing gasification facility on Jurong Island, and will quadruple Linde’s production capacity of hydrogen and synthetic gas in Singapore.

Upon completion of the new facility, Linde is expecting to double its operational staff strength, which also includes the addition of 70 high-value manufacturing jobs that require a broad range of competencies, said Sanjiv Lamba, executive vice-president and chief executive officer of Linde Asia Pacific.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/linde-makes-big-bet-on-singapore-with-us14b-jurong-plant https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/gas-giant-linde-to-quadruple-capacity-here-with-19b- expansion


Auction sales of Australian homes hit two-year high

Australia’s housing market seems to have come out of its doldrums with the hard-hit cities of Sydney and Melbourne set for their third months of gains as sales at auctions pick up remarkably. An end to the long downturn could be a boon for Australia’s struggling economy given the erosion of housing wealth has undermined consumer confidence and spending power. It will also prove a blessing for the construction sector, which has seen a severe downturn in new home approvals, particularly for the once red-hot apartment sector.

Housing auctions across Australia’s capital cities have reached their highest clearance rates in almost two years.

Data showed home prices across the capital cities rose 0.7 per cent in August so far, much stronger than July’s 0.1 per cent increase. The gains come after almost two years of relentless losses.

Link to the story:



US home-price gains in cities slow for 15th month in a row

Home-price gains in 20 US cities decelerated for a 15th straight month and were weaker than projected, pointing to continued cooling in the housing market.

Property values increased 2.1 per cent from a year earlier, according to data released, versus a 2.4 per cent gain in the prior month. Prices were little changed from a month earlier.

The data underscored the overall housing market slowdown in the past year and hurdles that potential buyers confront, such as mounting personal debt and home price increases that have outstripped income gains until recently. At the same time, the solid labour market is supporting sales.

Another report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) showed that prices rose 4.8 per cent in June from the same period a year earlier, and 0.2 per cent on a month-over-month basis.

Link to the story:






Lee Sze Teck Head, Research


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