Sports Hub free usage while time allows

From late June 2014, the Singapore Sports Hub will unveil the Experience Sports Programme to the community – starting with an introductory period from 28 June till 30 July before the official programme kicks-off in August 2014.

This is an all inclusive in-house community programme that will allow everyone to participate for FREE.

From learning to play a new sport, to having a go at fun try-outs or just letting the kids jump around in the Experience Sports Village, there’ll be nothing short of fun activities for everyone at the Singapore Sports Hub every weekend and occasionally on weekdays.​

With the guidance of certified coaches, the Sports Hub will provide fun learning experiences for all. Their “Learn To Play” programme is designed for all ages, all sporting abilities and for all proficiency levels.

Whether you’ve ever held a badminton racquet, just played for fun at the playground or can hit a mean cross-court smash, Experience Badminton, is for you!

If you had always wondered what sand feels like in your face, Experience Beach Volleyball can be the right tonic for your Saturday.

Every Saturdays and Sundays, all year round, the Singapore Sports Hub will have a new sport for you to Experience.

See more details from the Sports Hub Home page. http://www.sportshub.com.sg/community/Pages/experience-sports.aspx

Singapore SMEs can learn from their German counterparts

One of the key takeaways from years of collaborating with German companies for the German-Singaporean Business Forum (GSBF) is that the differentiating factor between mittelstand and Singapore SMEs is focus, said Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan.

At a factory that specialises in the manufacture of glass lenses in Germany, Spring Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan’s simple question – why don’t you outsource this to Singapore? – was met with a surprising answer.

The head of the family- run business or mittelstand – the German equivalent of a small and medium enterprise (SME) – had approached various companies in Singapore but found that the costs were too high.

“It’s quite surprising, right?” asked Mr Tan. “Then I realised that they have one operator looking after three very sophisticated machines. And because it’s highly automated, they are highly productive because the machines run almost 24 hours. In Singapore, we probably have three persons operating one machine.”

In Singapore, local SMEs try to do everything, but for the Germans, they are focused on deepening their competitive advantage to harness their full potential. This not only increases their productivity but also means they are the best at what they do.

The article can be found here:

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/singapore/importance-smes-being-focused-20140620

 

Asia’s millionaires will outpace the Americans in number and wealth

In a report by Capgemini Financial Services and RBC Wealth Management, the number of millionaires in Asia is expected to surpass that in North America by this year. By 2015, the wealth that these Asian millionaires hold will also overtake that of their North American counterparts as predicted in the same report.

In terms of investable wealth, Asians hold US$14.2 trillion, and North Americans US$14.9 trillion. Together, they make up just over half of the world’s US$52.6 trillion of HNWI wealth.

But Asia is growing at a faster pace. That is one of the key takeaways from the 2014 World Wealth Report, said Claire Sauvanaud, vice-president and senior account executive for Capgemini Asia Pacific.

The two regions are already about neck and neck in the number of such high net worth individuals (HNWIs): Asia-Pacific has 4.32 million of them and North America 4.33 million. Together, they account for almost two thirds of the 13.7 million HNWIs in the world.

In 2013, the numbers of the world’s wealthy grew the most in the US and Japan. The US remains the country with the most number of HNWIs (4M) in the world, while Japan is second (2.3M). SIngapore’s HNWI population grew 4.5% to reach 105K people.

Wealth is concentrated at the very top. Among the 13.7M HWNIs, a mear 0.9% have $30M or more. This group holds a third of the HNWI wealth. The wealthy seek to make an impact to their societies primarily via health, education and children’s causes.

Moody’s Singapore’s AAA rating: Strong fiscal and debt metrics

In today’s report by Moody’s Investors Service, it was stated that  Singapore’s very strong fiscal and debt metrics, strong growth outlook over the coming five years, and an extraordinarily large net external creditor position, underpin its Aaa long-term issuer ratings.

However, credit challenges exist, in the form of rising social pressures as a result of recent marked increases in living costs and other side effects stemming from the implementation of the government’s economic restructuring program.

In addition, as in other developed and highly rated countries, old-age and healthcare-related costs are on a rising trend. However, Singapore’s fully funded compulsory pension system and the absence of a comprehensive government-funded social welfare system mitigate future liabilities.

Moody’s conclusions were contained in its just-released credit analysis “Singapore”, which looks at the country’s credit profile in terms of Economic Strength [assessed as “Very High (-)”]; Institutional Strength [“Very High (+)”]; Fiscal Strength [“Very High (+)”]; and Susceptibility to Event Risk [“Very Low”].

These represent the four main analytic factors in Moody’s Sovereign Bond Rating Methodology. The analysis constitutes an annual update to investors and is not a rating action. Singapore’s long-term issuer ratings are Aaa with a stable outlook.

While Singapore’s ratings are at the highest level, maintaining a market-friendly and fiscally prudent economic policy approach will be credit positive.

As the International Monetary Fund has noted, the publication of more detailed statistics — such as the government’s external assets as well as consolidated public sector finances — would enhance transparency.

In Moody’s view, the stable rating outlook is unlikely to change over the next 12 to 18 months, given the government’s very strong credit fundamentals.

However, the rating could come under downward pressure should the country or the region slip into political or economic instability.

In such a very remote scenario, fiscal strains may emerge and the ability of the country to function as an international center of finance and commerce could be jeopardized.

The report states that Singapore’s “very high (+)” economic strength assessment is characterized by very high levels of per capita income, a strong — albeit volatile — growth performance, supported by a very high degree of competitiveness and a business-friendly investment environment.

Demographic changes pose challenges for the medium-term growth outlook, and government policies to foster productivity growth and innovation take time to show tangible results.

In terms of institutional strength, Singapore shows very high and stable scores in most of the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators. Except for “Voice & Accountability”, all scores are in the 90th percentile when compared to Moody’s universe of rated sovereigns, with particular strengths in “Government Effectiveness”, “Regulatory Quality” and “Control of Corruption”.

Moody’s also assesses the fiscal strength of the Singapore government as “very high (+)”, taking into account the country’s very strong fiscal and government debt metrics, which are supported by a prudent fiscal policy framework, the specific nature of the Singapore government securities market, and sizeable government assets.

In Moody’s view, these features will help mitigate the expected medium-term impact from an aging society on both government revenues and expenditures.

In terms of susceptibility to event risk, Moody’s assesses Singapore as “very low”.

Domestic and political event risks are very low in Singapore. The country has shown a high degree of social and political stability since its separation from Malaysia in 1965. However, this has not been tested by electoral change. While domestic politics have become livelier, political stability and social cohesion are not under threat.

While the banking system is facing headwinds from its operational environment, risks from the banking sector to the sovereign are very limited: Singapore banks are among the highest rated globally, with an average baseline credit assessment of aa3.

https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Strong-fiscal-and-debt-metrics-underpin-Singapores-Aaa-rating–PR_302164

Chart of rising private housing vacancy

It was reported of the recent Barclays analysis on Singapore private residential market in SBR. Large oversupply looms over private developers.

Analysts fear that the government’s efforts to scale down residential supply may not be enough to avert a looming oversupply in 2015 to 2017. A report by Barclays Research noted that the vacancy rate could hit 9.9% by 2016 assuming an annual demand of 15,500 units

According to Barclays Research, “We believe this is testament to the looming oversupply in 2015-2017 as the government reiterated the reduced future supply will be ‘added to the existing large pipeline supply of more than 90,000 private residential units (including ECs)’.”

Private housing (including ECs) on the Confirmed List for 2H14 is down 15% h/h and 34% y/y to 3,915 units. The bulk of the supply is now made up by the Reserve List, which has also been scaled down and which is unlikely to be triggered for sale should market conditions continue to deteriorate. We maintain our negative stance on the Singapore residential sector as we see an oversupply of private housing properties and expect prices to fall 20% by 2015E in view of an expected interest rate rise, coinciding with peak supply, and think the vacancy rate could reach a record 10% by 2016E. 

– See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/residential-property/news/chart-day-see-massive-spike-in-singapore%E2%80%99s-home-vacancy-rate#sthash.MhrCXG2Z.dpuf

Conservation properties for sale in D7 and D8

in today’s local media news, it was reported that a hotel, comprising three shophouses along Jalan Klapa, off Victoria Street in the Kampong Glam Conservation Area has been put up for sale with an indicative pricing of $17-18 million. Located at 9, 11 and 15 Jalan Klapa, the shophouses are on total land area of 4,275 sq ft; the site has a balance lease term of about 92 years. The gross floor area is estimated at 7,911 sq ft. The site is zoned for commercial use but is permanently approved for hotel use. The shophouses have 15 themed rooms (with an average size of around 215 sq ft), spanning across two storeys and a mezzanine level, a cafe lounge and a small pool. The indicative pricing translates to a net yield of around 2-3 per cent, based on the current income stream from rooms as well as food and beverage operations.

Global FDI: SIngapore is no 9.

In today’s papers, Singapore has moved to no 9 spot in global FDI findings — the annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index rankings — based on polls of top business executives by global consulting firm AT Kearney. Only 3 ASEAN countries made it to the list: Singapore (#9), Malaysia (#15) and Indonesia (#50). With the birth of the Asean Economic Community just around the corner, foreign investors seem to be turning their attention back to ASEAN area especially Singapore.

See http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/singapore-climbs-9th-spot-global-fdi-rankings-20140617 or

http://www.btinvest.com.sg/dailyfree/singapore-climbs-9th-spot-global-fdi-rankings-20140617/

http://www.atkearney.com/research-studies/foreign-direct-investment-confidence-index

With the birth of the Asean Economic Community just around the corner, foreign investors seem to be turning their attention back to Singapore.

After it was nearly knocked out of the top 10 in an influential global comparison that predicts where foreign direct investments are headed, Singapore is back on its feet at 9th position this year.

Its climb-back in the annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index rankings, based on polls of top business executives by global consulting firm AT Kearney, came barely a year after total investments flowing into the Asean states exceeded those going into China.

 

Mixed view of Condo Sales in May

In today’s local media of BT, it was reported that the sales for private condos in the month of May doubled from the preceding month. Many new launches with heavy marketing and near transport nodes were sold well. Projects like Coco Palms, Commonwealth Towers, Panaroma and Kallang Riverside were well received in May. However another group of properties like Loft 33, Singa Hills and Sunnyvale Residences were fairly quiet in the sales volume. These properties though freehold, were launched with little fanfare and hence were out of buyers’ radar.  However based on most Singaporeans’ preference for affordable freehold properties, it remains to be seen if such properties remain quiet for long.

From Business Times (17 June2014)

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/may-sales-private-condos-double-preceding-months-20140617

Developers’ sales of private homes nearly doubled in May from a month ago as new launches were priced to target buyers who have become more price-sensitive as a result of loan curbs.

But such robust sales are unlikely to be repeated this month, a seasonally slow period because of the school holidays. Even the World Cup soccer competition could become a distraction for potential buyers in this tepid market, analysts say.

“It is premature to conclude that the market has revived from its slump,” said Ong Teck Hui, national director of Research and Consultancy at JLL, pointing to the mixed showing at new launches last month.

Latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed that developers sold 1,470 private condos last month, the highest level since June 2013 and a 96 per cent jump from the 749 units sold in April. The top five projects made up 78 per cent of total sales in May.

The strong showing is driven by new launches, with 1,790 condo units launched last month compared with only 600 units in April. There were no new launches for executive condos (ECs) last month; 58 ECs were sold, up from 48 in April.

“The increase in the number of new projects launched in May and the strong launch figures do show that developers are more confident in resuming launches as there still many buyers in the market but who are now more price-sensitive,” Mr Ong said.

The two top sellers were Coco Palms and Commonwealth Towers – both located near MRT stations and deemed attractively priced. Together, they made up more than half the month’s unit launches and sales. Some 590 units at Coco Palms were sold at a median price of $1,018 per square foot (psf), and 275 at Commonwealth Towers were sold at a median price of $1,626 psf.

The Panorama in Ang Mo Kio became a top seller last month, with some 100 units sold at a median $1,241 psf after developer Wheelock Properties slashed prices by around 10 per cent in its re-launch last month. The project moved only 56 units in the initial launch in January at a median $1,343 psf.

Not all new launches fared well, however. Oxley’s The Rise@Oxley Residences – the only new launch in the Core Central Region (CCR) – sold eight units out of 120 at a median price of $2,452 psf.

Ecco Development’ Singa Hills and Macly Equity’s Loft 33 managed to move only two units and 12 units respectively. These projects were apparently launched with little or no fanfare.

“Projects that lack visibility will see greater difficulty in attracting buyers, especially if they are not near transport nodes and the price point is not attractive,” said Alice Tan, Knight Frank’s head of research and consultancy.

Colliers International director of research and advisory Chia Siew Chuin noted that Commonwealth Towers in Queenstown and Kallang Riverside in Kampong Bugis have benefited from pent-up demand, given the lack of new launches in the two locations.

But developers’ sales volume is expected to ease to 600-900 units in the traditional lull period of June, before developers resume their launches ahead of August, which is the lunar seventh month and regarded by the Chinese as an inauspicious period to commit to home purchases, Mr Chia said.

Potential launches in the pipeline include Roxy-Pacific’s Trilive, a freehold project in Tampines Road of which 70-80 per cent of the 222 units are dual-key units, which are essentially a 2-in-1 apartments.

Wing Tai opened the showflat last Saturday for its 469-unit The Crest at Prince Charles Crescent, while China Sonangol Land and OKP Land are slated to launch their 109-unit freehold project Amber Skye on Amber Road soon.

Nicholas Mak, executive director at SLP International, expects mass-market condos in suburban areas to continue leading sales islandwide.

Last month, mass-market suburban condos accounted for 64 per cent of sales and slightly over half of total units launched.

This is followed by city-fringe condos in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) that made up about 34 per cent of sales and 39 per cent of units launched. There were only 32 units sold in the CCR or 2 per cent of total islandwide sales.

Mr Mak noted that some developers hurried to launch mass-market condos last month ahead of new EC launches this year. From August to December, five EC projects with a total of 3,100 units could potentially be launched for sale.

With the increased competition, some developers may adopt “a more flexible pricing strategy” to boost their sales, he added. For the whole of 2014, sales volumes in the primary market could total 9,500-12,500 units, Mr Mak predicted. This compares with some 15,301 units sold by developers for the whole of last year.

For Singtel mobile users — new plans in place soon.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-singtel-service/1164996.html

SINGAPORE: Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has launched a new mobile plan that allows users to customise their tariff plans every month to suit their needs and budget, the telco said on Monday (June 16).

Named Easy Mobile, the postpaid mobile service allows customers to tweak their voice, SMS and data bundle within four tariff plans: Small, Medium, Large and XLarge. Each plan comes with a set allowance of units that can be used for voice calls, SMS and data. Customers decide how many units will be allocated for their voice, SMS and data bundle, and they can tweak this every month to suit their needs.

All transactions and plan changes are made via the MySingTel smartphone app or the Easy Mobile website.

Monthly subscriptions start at S$33 for the Small plan with four units of combined voice, SMS and data, through to the XLarge plan at S$105 with 26 units of voice, SMS and data. One unit is equivalent to 50 minutes of outgoing local calls or 500 SMS/MMS or 0.5GB of local data usage.

Customers also have the flexibility to change to another tariff plan each month, SingTel said.

Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, SingTel’s CEO Consumer Singapore, said: “The one-size-fits-all approach of conventional mobile plans may not suit all customers, as their usage may vary from month to month. With Easy Mobile, customers can now tailor-fit their plans to exactly what they need, and adjust them as their needs change.”

The new mobile plan is currently open to new subscribers only, but will be rolled out to existing customers in the coming months, SingTel said.

CNA: Increased Condo sales in May

According to today’s CNA’s report, the primary condo sales market in Singapore rebound to life from increased sales. The improved sales volume came as developers launched 1,790 new units in May, nearly three times more than the 600 homes in the previous month. Is this trend sustainable?

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-private-home-sales/1165100.html

SINGAPORE: The private residential property market sprang to life in May after months of remaining in the doldrums, with developers’ sales surging 96 per cent as buyers snapped up units at the slew of new launches last month.

Developers sold 1,470 new private homes last month, nearly doubling the 749 units that they moved in April, latest data by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Monday (June 16). Including executive condominiums (ECs), new developer sales rose to 1,528 units in May from 797 units in April.

The improved sales volume came as developers launched 1,790 new units into the market in May, nearly three times more than the 600 homes recorded in the previous month.

Two projects by City Developments topped the best-selling list for the month. Coco Palms at Pasir Ris Grove moved 590 of the 600 condominium units launched at a median price of S$1,018 per square foot (psf), while Commonwealth Towers at Commonwealth Avenue sold 275 of 400 homes at S$1,626 psf.

Besides the successes of new launches, May also saw another re-launch that did well: Wheelock Properties’ The Panorama at Ang Mo Kio sold 100 of the 126 units offered last month at a median of S$1,241 psf.

Prime Waterfront Homes and Living in Singapore

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