Friday, 4 May 2012

Watz Online - 4 May 2012

Singapore requests FMS to support training

WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- The government of Singapore has asked the United States for bombs and equipment in support of its F-15 training unit.

The Singaporean detachment -- PEACE CARVIN V (F-15SG) -- is based in the United States at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

The request for follow-on support and services includes 40 GBU-10 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units; 40 MXU-651/B Air Foil Groups; 84 GBU-12 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units; 84 MXU-650/Bs Air Foil Groups; 124 MAU-169L/Bs Guidance Control Units; and 3 P5 Combat Training System Pods.

The contract would include commercial vehicles, publications and technical documentation, tactics manuals and academic instruction, execution and support of CONUS exercise deployments, airlift and aerial refueling, support equipment, spare and repair parts.
The support, for five years, carries an estimated cost of $435 million.

read more

Singapore banks' risks likely to increase from abroad

Fitch Ratings says in a new report that downward rating pressure could gradually increase for Singapore banks, as their credit profiles become increasingly linked to Asia's high-growth markets, through overseas expansion and rising economic integration among major Asian countries.

However, the likely maintenance of strong balance sheets and prudence in expansion, together with Singapore's conservative regulator, would help the banks preserve their financial profiles and high credit ratings in the near- to medium-term. This is reflected in the Stable Rating Outlook.

China, India and Indonesia are Asia's three largest economies with high growth potential. However, risks in emerging markets, particularly in the economy and banking sector, tend to be higher than in steady and developed countries. Moreover, many Asian economies, notably Singapore and Hong Kong, are becoming more interlinked with developments in China through financial and trade channels. Fitch expects the importance of India and Indonesia in Asia to also rise in the medium term.

Singapore is a small economy and domestic banks have always sought growth abroad. Their regional expansion record has been generally conservative, with subsidiaries operating in a self-sustaining manner, where deposit growth and risk-adjusted returns are prioritised over loan growth. The associated risks have been manageable relative to the balance sheet size of the banks, whose historical strengths lie in their core capitalisation and deposit bases in Singapore. Strict regulations play a role in Singapore banks having strong loss-absorption capacities and demonstrating their resilience through economic cycles. Without these offsetting features, the risk profile of high-growth markets could begin to weigh on the banks' high ratings.

read more

Temasek Sells ICICI Bank Stake Into India Rally

Singapore state investment group Temasek Holdings has sold a 1.4 percent stake in ICICI Bank, India's No. 2 lender, raising $299 million in the latest signal investors are using a rally in the Indian market as an exit opportunity.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

The open market sale, announced on Wednesday, came less than a week after U.S. private equity firms Carlyle Group and Warburg Pincus pared their stakes in two financial companies in deals worth $440 million.

India's main stock market index is up 14.6 percent so far this year, mainly led by financial stocks, and bankers expect to see more exit moves as a result.

The market dropped nearly 25 percent in 2011, making it one of the worst global performers and leaving few IPOs or block sales.

Temasek held 39.83 million shares of ICICI Bank, or 3.46 percent, as of end-December, via its unit Allamanda Investments Pte, according to exchange data.

Temasek To Raise Up To US$2.5 Billion Via Selling Shares of BOC, CCB H Shares

Singapore state-investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. is seeking to raise up to US$2.5 billion by selling its stakes in Chinese lenders Bank of China Ltd. (3988.HK) and China Construction Bank Ltd. (0939.HK) via placements, according to term sheets seen by Dow Jones Newswires.

Temasek unit Fullerton Financial Holdings Pte Ltd. plans to sell 3.079 billion shares in Hong Kong-listed Bank of China at a price range of HK$3.13 to HK$3.18 each, according to the first term sheet, raising up to US$1.26 billion. The sale price represents a 2.5% to 4.0% discount to Bank of China's Wednesday closing price of HK$3.26.

Also, Cairnhill Investments (Mauritius) Pte. Ltd., a unit of Temasek, is selling 1.6 billion Hong Kong-traded shares in China Construction Bank at a HK$5.99 to HK$6.10 price range, according a second term sheet, or up to US$1.25 billion. The price range reflects a 1.0% to 2.80% discount to the stock's Wednesday closing price of HK$6.16.

China Construction Bank is the nation's No. 2 largest lender by assets, while Bank of China is No. 4.

PR employment jumped by a staggering 91 percent from 2001 to 2010- Report, 2 May 2012
Published in today’s Business Times are the numbers for the breakdown of our labour force as at June 2010:
There were 1,712,600 Singaporeans (“citizens”), 334,700 permanent residents (“PRs”) and 1,088,600 foreigners in the labour force as at June 2010.
If we group PRs together with foreigners — rightfully so because PRs aren’t citizens if you ask me — there are a total of 1,423,300 non-citizens among the total workforce of 3,135,900 workers.
1423300 / 3135900 = 45.39%
So, non-citizen foreigners make up 45.4% of Singapore’s workforce.

Note:From June 2001 to June 2010, the total number of workers had increased by 34.6%, or 805,4000.
- Singaporean workers increased only by 15.6%, or 243,500.
- PR workers
increased by a staggering 91%, or 159,500.
- Non-resident workers increased by 58.6%, or 402,400.

read more

S’pore could be ‘extremely aged’ by 2050: IPS study

A new report from IPS revealed that Singapore will become “extremely aged” by 2050 if the fertility rate does not increase. (Yahoo! file photo)

HDB flat sizes not shrinking: Khaw Boon Wan
SINGAPORE - National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Wednesday night that HDB flats have been the same size for the past 15 years, and are not shrinking, contrary to popular belief.

Mr Khaw was responding to a National University of Singapore (NUS) student's question on HDB flat sizes at the annual REACH Contributors' Forum.

He added that they will not be reduced to the size of Hong Kong flats, which are far smaller, reported The Straits Times.

read more

Smaller homes but not poorer quality of living: HDB

Even though HDB flats have shrunk in size over the last 30 years, Housing and Development Board (HDB) CEO Cheong Koon Hean has assured residents the quality of life has not lessened.

While HDB flats have decreased in size by up to 10 per cent, compared to flats during the 1980s and 1990s, official statistics also show that the average household shrunk from 4.9 in 1980 to 3.5 last year.

As such, there is an increase in living space for each person, Cheong was reported as saying by Channel NewsAsia.

Cheong, speaking at the sidelines of a housing forum on Thursday, credited the role of good interior design in creating good living space.

read more

Flat owner embroiled in illegal sublet case

The owner of a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat in Geylang has allegedly been caught advertising room rentals for S$60 per night, according to a report in The New Paper.

The advertisement, which was carried in the October 2011 issue of inflight magazine Lion-Mag, showed three photos of rooms for rent, along with the flat's address and highlighted that staff in the house can speak Bahasa Indonesia.

When contacted last week, the owner denied placing the advertisement, adding that it was just a misunderstanding. She claimed that those who came in and out of the flat last year were actually her family members from Indonesia.

read more

Singapore's seedy side

A real surprise ... Geylang, Singapore.A real surprise ... Geylang, Singapore. Photo: Alamy

This doesn't feel like Singapore. But Sheena, self-proclaimed "Queen of the Jungle" and unofficial tour guide for the night, is out to show me a thing or two about her city.

See, Singapore is famous for many things - safety, cleanliness, a really big airport - but edgy nightlife isn't one of them. There might be plenty of fancy bars where you can spend a lot of money in the company of fellow expats, but it isn't the kind of place you would expect to find a red-light district to rival Amsterdam's.

Yet here we are on a Friday night in the suburb of Geylang and the place is pumping. Traffic is at a standstill, a sea of taxis flash red "hired" lights, scooters zip in and out, and pedestrians cut jagged paths through the mess.

There's barely room to walk on the pavement, with the shops' wares spilling out, the plastic tables from restaurants and the sheer volume of people trying to get from one place to another in the muggy evening heat. Sheena doesn't seem fazed, though.

Read more

Chesapeake’s Outlook Dims Amid Board Reversal on CEO Loans

Shareholder confidence inChesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) sank to its lowest point since the 2008 global economic meltdown as company directors reversed course on the need to examine Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon’s personal financial transactions.

Chesapeake’s board, propelled by a plunging stock price and potential conflicts between McClendon’s personal finances and corporate duties, said yesterday it would end a program allowing its chairman and CEO to buy stakes in the company’s wells and review loans McClendon obtained by using those investments as collateral.

“Simply letting the Founders Well Participation Program expire is too little, too late,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, who oversees 3.1 million Chesapeake shares held by the $140 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund. “Much more needs to be done to restore investor confidence.”

read more