Monday, 5 November 2012

Watz Online - 5 Nov 2012

Manufacturing to remain key pillar of Singapore economy: PM

Xinhua - Manufacturing will remain a key pillar of the Singapore economy, as it creates good jobs, integrates well with services and innovation and helps broaden the economic base of the city state, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday.

Speaking at the celebration of a pharmaceutical and healthcare company, Lee said Singapore will continue to maintain a pro- business environment by providing good infrastructure, keeping taxes low and staying open to foreign talent.

The manufacturing sector currently accounts for roughly 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), with the biomedical and the electronics sectors among the largest contributors.

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Las Vegas Sands Profit Misses Views on Singapore Results

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the casino company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, reported an 18 percent drop in profit, missing estimates as results from the company’s Singapore casino fell short.

Net income fell to $349.8 million, or 42 cents a share, from $424.9 million, or 44 cents, a year earlier, excluding preferred dividends, the Las Vegas-based company said yesterday in a statement. Profit of 46 cents, excluding items, trailed the 60-cent average estimate of 23 analysts compiled by Bloomberg. The company raised its quarterly dividend 40 percent.

Las Vegas Sands cited lower casino revenue in Singapore, the result of increased customer winnings and higher provisions for accounts receivable. That led to a 5.1 percent drop in adjusted property earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, to $876.9 million.

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Singapore's GLP eyes $1.3 bln from Japan property trust

Singapore's Global Logistic Properties Ltd, one of the world's largest warehouse operators, plans to raise $1.3 billion by setting up a real estate investment trust (REIT) in Japan.

The group will set up its first real estate investment trust with 30 properties valued at $2.6 billion. The Singapore firm expects to raise net cash proceeds of $1.3 billion that it will use mainly for projects in China and Japan.

Reuters reported GLP's intentions to spin off properties via a REIT - an investment vehicle that owns real estate assets and pays regular dividends to investors - in September last year.

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Singapore’s share in India’s trade fails to pick up

More than seven years after India signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Singapore, the latter's share in India's total trade has not picked up. The India-Singapore CECA came into existence in August 2005 and, from 2007-08 to 2011-12, Singapore’s share in India's total trade has actually declined from 3.74% to 3.2%.

The decrease in share is despite the trade (export and imports) between India and the city state growing close to 20% annually, which indicates higher growth in New Delhi's trade with many other countries, especially those with which the base is relatively higher.

In 2011-12, India's trade with Singapore stood at $25.4 billion compared with $16.9 billion in 2010-11. The balance of trade was in favour of India at $8.2 billion- the highest in the last five years.

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Fewer jobs to be created in coming years in Singapore, says labour chief

The Republic's job growth rate will slow by half in the coming years to 2 per cent or less labour chief Lim Swee Say warned yesterday

Mr Lim's comments came a day after a Manpower Ministry report showed that fewer jobs were created between July and September compared to the previous quarter amid gloomy external economic conditions

Apart from the weak global demand for goods and services Mr Lim attributed the slower job growth to the Government's move to tighten the inflow of foreign labour

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Hougang resident spared from bearing legal costs


No order of costs will be made against the Hougang resident who had sought a court declaration on the Singapore’s Prime Minister’s power to call for by-elections.

In his judgment on Friday, High Court Justice Philip Pillai noted that the resident, Vellama Marie Muthu, had no private interest in her constitutional challenge and had instead made her application to the court through in the interest of the public at large.

Vellama, through her lawyer M Ravi, earlier this year applied for a declaration that the Prime Minister does not have “unfettered discretion” in determining when to hold by-elections.

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'In the shadow of strongmen' Bridget Welsh

In the last few years both Malaysia and Singapore have been undergoing political liberalisation evident from the increasing parliamentary representation of the opposition and more open political discussion

Yet with this opening the challenges the two neighbours face in liberalising are becoming clearer One of the main obstacles involves dealing with the legacies of Lee Kuan Yew and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as their imprint on politics continues to overshadow current transformations How do the legacies of the two strongmen constrain contemporary political change Lee and Dr Mahathir were successful leaders delivering economic progress and giving their countries international prominence

However views of these leaders remain divided with some lauding them as political strongmen who delivered development and stability and others highlighting their excesses This debate will continue and likely intensify over time Still few dispute the fact that the two leaders profoundly shaped the countries they led In order to understand contemporary politics in both countries we need to look beyond these leaders as individuals or their tenures and appreciate how the strongmen continue to shape the two societies.

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Singapore keeps spot among top 4 finance hubs

Singapore has retained its position as the world's fourth-best financial center in this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) report, with a better overall score.

Improved financial stability, a stable currency, a strong trade balance and healthy international investment enabled the Republic to keep its ranking.

Hong Kong claimed the top spot in the financial development index for the second year running. It was followed by the United States and Britain, then Singapore, Australia and Canada. These top rankings were the same as last year's.

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Singapore Airlines Profit Falls 54% as Cargo Loss Triples

Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) posted a worse-than-estimated 54 percent drop in quarterly profit after losses at its cargo unit tripled.

Net income fell to S$90.1 million ($74 million) in the three months ended September from S$194.2 million a year earlier, the airline said in a statement yesterday. Analysts expected a profit of S$141 million, based on the average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue rose 2.5 percent to S$3.8 billion.

Losses at the cargo unit jumped to S$50 million amid a global trade slowdown and rising competition from Middle East carriers. The airline, the world’s second-largest by market value, said it will further reduce cargo capacity by parking one of its 13 Boeing Co. 747 freighters for more than a year.

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Singapore To See Slow Growth And High Inflation In 2013

Singapore is likely to see another year of lackluster economic growth and elevated inflation in 2013 as exports remain weak and rising rents and car prices continue to push up the cost of living, its central bank said on Tuesday.

But the job market will remain tight and "resident wage growth could rise from 2-3 percent in 2012 to above 3 percent in 2013 even if overall economic growth remains sluggish," the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in its half-yearly macroeconomic review.

Singapore's gross domestic product growth "is likely to be positive though below-trend next year," while "CPI-All items inflation could rise to 4.5 percent temporarily in Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 from 4.2 percent in Q3" before moderating to around 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of next year, MAS said.

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Singapore Managers Turn Delivery Men in Labor Crunch: Economy

At Pine Garden’s Cake Pte., Wei Chan used to have three drivers delivering chocolate and martini-flavored cakes around Singapore. Now, the head of the company transports the goods himself because he can’t get enough workers.

A government push to reduce the city-state’s reliance on cheap imported labor has led to an emerging shortage of workers and increased business costs. The squeeze has left Chan with only one driver, a Chinese national, after he failed to obtain new permits to replace the other two.

“I can’t accept new orders and my top-tier people are doing the lowest-end jobs,” said Chan, 40, whose managers also fill in for the lost drivers at his family’s 28-year-old Singapore bakery. “I’m fighting for survival and expanding is definitely not on the cards. Productivity is certainly compromised.”

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