Friday, May 2, 2008

Credit-Crunch Losses, Fallout Overestimated, Says BOE

Source : The Business Times, May 2, 2008

Sub-prime write-offs could eventually be less than half of forecasts, it says

(LONDON) The scale of losses and the economic fallout from the credit crunch may not be as bad as feared and sub-prime write-offs could end up costing less than half market forecasts, the Bank of England (BOE) said yesterday.

Mr Gieve: Confidence and risk appetite may return in the coming months

The credit crunch has frozen money markets and rattled consumers around the world, pushing the global economy to the edge of a sharp slowdown after banks lost confidence in each other due to defaults on low-end mortgages in the United States.

If the fallout from the crisis turns out to be not as drastic as many fear, the implications for global interest rate - and fiscal - policy will be significant.

Current market estimates of sub-prime mortgages amount to nearly US$400 billion and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said the wider cost to the financial sector could rise to US$1 trillion.

'All of them are potentially significant overestimates of the losses within the wider economy associated with the financial market crisis,' the BOE said in its twice-yearly Financial Stability Report, estimating actual losses could be closer to US$170 billion.

'Using a mark-to-market approach to value illiquid securities could significantly exaggerate the scale of losses that financial institutions might ultimately occur. It will exaggerate to an even greater extent the potential damage to the real economy.'

The BOE has been criticised for taking an unsympathetic line on the lending squeeze. The US Federal Reserve has drastically cut interest rates and, along with the European Central Bank, made cash much easier for banks to get hold of.

However, the BOE responded to pressure to ease the squeeze last week, announcing an unprecedented £50 billion (S$135 billion) swap scheme under which banks can trade in their hard-to-shift assets for risk-free government debt, which is now going to plan.

The central bank is clearly concerned about the consequences of the credit crunch, but deputy governor John Gieve struck an optimistic note in a statement released with the report. 'The unavoidable correction after the credit boom is proving protracted and difficult,' Mr Gieve said. 'While there remain downside risks, the most likely path ahead is that confidence and risk appetite will return gradually in the coming months.'

BOE policy-makers say they are wary of rescuing institutions from the consequences of their own risky behaviour and have to balance the very real threat of rising inflation against the harder-to-gauge prospect of a decelerating economy.

'Losses recorded by financial institutions erode their capital, which may reduce their ability to offer finance to other households and corporations. This may have a detrimental impact on economic performance,' the BOE said. 'But it is at least partly offset by the household sector being in a less weak state than if its mortgage debts had had to be repaid in full.'

Nonetheless, there is strong evidence to suggest the British economy is already suffering at the hands of the credit crunch, with house prices falling, home loan approvals at record lows and consumer confidence at 15 year lows.

BOE arch dove policymaker David Blanchflower warned policymakers must act aggressively to stave off the real risk of following the United States into a recession and a 30 per cent slump in house prices.

Other members of the BOE's Monetary Policy Committee MPC have been more sanguine about the economy. Governor Mervyn King told lawmakers on Tuesday that a period of slower growth would not be a 'disaster', saying it wasn't all doom and gloom just yet. -- Reuters

US Credit Crisis More Than Half Over: Paulson

Source : The Business Times, May 2, 2008

He still expects the US economy to keep growing

(WASHINGTON) US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the credit crisis probably is more than half over and retained his forecast for the US economy to keep growing.

'We are closer to the end of this problem than we are to the beginning,' Mr Paulson said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday in Washington.

Mr Paulson: Acknowledges that there will be some more bumps in the road before the US gets through the credit turmoil

Even with 'headwinds and despite some of the things that we're going through, this economy is still growing, albeit modestly', he said.

Mr Paulson, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, joins the heads of Wall Street firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Lehman Brothers Inc in viewing the credit turmoil as nearer an end.

He also said he is focusing on existing efforts to address the housing slump, playing down a proposal for the department to use government funds.

The Treasury chief said a government report yesterday showing the economy grew 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year had not altered his assessment.

The figures on US gross domestic product indicated that only an increase in stockpiles of unsold goods prevented a contraction in the last quarter.

'There inevitably will be some more bumps in the road before we get through this' credit turmoil, Mr Paulson said. He conceded that 'we're in a tough quarter right now'.

Mr Paulson also said the Bush administration's policies of encouraging voluntary loan renegotiations for struggling homeowners and tougher oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain his focus in addressing the country's housing recession.

Federal Deposit Insurance Committee chairman Sheila Bair said last week that Congress should authorise the Treasury to make home loans to help pay down as much as 20 per cent of the principal on mortgages.

Mr Paulson said he would 'look carefully' at the FDIC plan, while emphasising his confidence in the Hope Now Alliance of lenders spearheading a private effort to modify home loans.

'It's only fair to point out our priority is doing the things we're already doing administratively, doing the things we're already doing working with the private sector,' he said. 'That's where we are, that hasn't changed, despite my high regard for Sheila.'

Under the FDIC plan, borrowers would be responsible for paying back the loan and the restructured mortgage. Participation would be restricted to Americans in owner-occupied homes with mortgages obtained between January 2003 and June 2007 whose monthly payments exceed 40 per cent of household income.

In the interview, Mr Paulson said he has 'great confidence' in the Fed, declining to comment specifically on the rate decision. He did indicate that the central bank's initiative to lend directly to primary bond dealers had eased some concern in financial markets.

Asked whether the US economy will fall into recession, Mr Paulson said he didn't want to 'enter into a technical debate' about the official start and ends dates of a contraction.

The Federal Reserve may cut interest rates to one per cent as US housing foreclosures worsen, said Mark Mobius, who oversees US$47 billion in emerging-market equities at Templeton Asset Management Ltd.

Mr Mobius added that the US dollar's slide, down more than 7 per cent against the euro and yen this year, is likely to slow because it is 'completely bombed out'.

'I was looking at one per cent a few months back. I still adhere to that,' Mr Mobius, executive chairman at Templeton Asset Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday. 'I don't think the fear is over. You're going to continue to get more pressure on them to lower and lower.' - Bloomberg

Property Transactions With Contract Dates Between April 7th - 19th, 2008

Growth In China Property Prices More Sustainable

Source : The Business Times, May 1, 2008

Measures to cool the market are working, says CBRE

FOLLOWING a slew of measures to cool the property market in China, property prices are now more sustainable.

Saying that the measures - which include capital gains tax - have 'generally worked well', CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) president and CEO (Greater China) Chris Brooke added: 'There will always be some fine tuning in specific markets but generally the measures have created a more sustainable market.'

Mr Brooke: Chinese govt comfortable with an annual growth rate of 5 to 10 per cent for the property market

Mr Brooke also believes that prices have mostly been corrected. 'I don't think we will see prices going down although I don't think the rates of growth will be like that seen in 2006 and 2007,' he added.

'I believe the government's objective is to achieve sustainable growth and if you see what the government has been saying in public, I think they will be comfortable with an annual growth rate of 5 to 10 per cent because it is in line with inflation, GDP growth and it will create wealth for the individual. So prices will continue to rise with GDP growth and inflation.'

Mr Brooke also believes that with continued market volatility, especially in the equities market, investors are more likely to divert cash into real estate. 'There are not many investment products available in China,' he added.

The Chinese residential market is a large one.

According to the CBRE's Market View report of the property market in China for the first quarter, quoted prices in the luxury residential market in the North China city of Beijing did drop 3.4 per cent quarteron-quarter after the dramatic growth in 2007, while prices sustained steady increases in Tianjin, Dalian and Qingdao.

CBRE also noted that in East China, which includes Shanghai, there has not been a downward correction in luxury home prices, although the growth rate has slowed. Luxury apartment prices increased by 2.2 per cent in Shanghai.

In South China, luxury residential prices did slip in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen this quarter as further macroeconomic controls went into effect. In Guangzhou, luxury apartment prices fell 2.8 per cent.

In Chengdu, sales prices of luxury apartments remained stable.

In the first quarter of 2008, the office sector in major cities in North China, including Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian witnessed an upward trend in the prime office market, with the average rental increasing slightly.

In East China, which includes Shanghai and Nanjing, all the major urban markets (except Ningbo) achieved positive rental growth, while the growth rates of Hangzhou and Nanjing accelerated.

In South China, high-quality office space in Shenzhen continued to be taken up by MNC tenants.

As Storm Clouds Loom ...

Source : TODAY, Friday, May 2, 2008

Slowdown could stretch to 2009; Singaporeans should be prepared, says PM Lee

IT WAS, by all accounts, a stellar first quarter economic performance by Singapore — job creation was at a high while flash growth estimates of 7.2 per cent beat expectations.

However, rather than set the stage for another year of expansion, the Prime Minister yesterday delivered the Government's most bearish outlook thus far.

Despite the "good" first quarter expansion, Mr Lee Hsien Loong did not once hint at exceeding the full-year growth forecast of 4 to 6 per cent. Instead, he warned Singaporeans to "prepare ourselves" for a slowdown that "may last until next year".

Speaking at the May Day Rally yesterday, he reiterated the impact of a double whammy of economic uncertainty and rising costs of living on the Republic, points he had raised in his May Day message a day earlier.

"So far, Singapore has been all right. But looking forward, a lot will depend on the US and global economy," he said (see sidebar).

While the construction, marine engineering and port sectors "would be okay", he said, other sectors such as finance, tourism and information technology could be "seriously affected" by the impending recession in the United States.

"It will not be even but there will be impact," said the Prime Minister. "This is one major uncertainty affecting our economy."

Urging employers and workers to ensure that "any built-in wage increases are sustainable", Mr Lee said: "If the companies are still doing well, reward the workers with higher variable bonuses. Keep it flexible; just in case things turn wrong, you don't have to disappoint the workers and take back something which has already been given."

On its part, the Government has been "focused" on the welfare of low-wage workers, said Mr Lee, who revealed that the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) central committee were "very seized" by the plight of such workers in a recent closed door, "no-holds-barred" dialogue.

"For two hours, we spoke about nothing else except low-income workers," said Mr Lee, adding that there are "no shortcuts" — for example, legislating minimum wage or "shutting out" imported labour — to a common problem facing countries around the world.

While challenges lie ahead, Mr Lee was confident of Singapore's approach: Building tripartite relationships, educating and training Singaporeans, helping industries innovate and assisting needy Singaporeans through a social safety net. "Our approach is working, so we must persevere," he added.

On top of the Workfare Income Supplement scheme and the one-off Growth Dividends, the Government, and the NTUC, have been investing in continuing education and training, including efforts in job recreation, skills upgrading and getting contract workers on board the Central Provident Fund system.

As inflation sets in and prices of daily necessities surge, NTUC has also given out discount vouchers to low-income households, said Mr Lee, adding that the Government would continue to work on helping this group of Singaporeans "patiently".

Stressing that it was vital that the Government not only "do more but do it right", he added: "Don't go for wayang (for show) and grandstanding, issuing statements but not being accountable for results. Show the results."

Many unionists admitted to Today that workers were "very concerned" about how the Singapore economy would fare in the months ahead.

Still, Mr Jeffery Fung, 40, a member of the Singapore Airport Terminal Services Workers Union, said it was comforting to know that measures were in place to mitigate the impact of the impending economic slowdown.

Mr Mariappan, a 54-year-old technical

engineer with Jurong Shipyard, felt that unions ought to lobby harder for workers to get a pay rise, in order to cope with the rising cost of living. Still, the vice-chairman of the Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees' Union conceded: "It would be more difficult given the slowdown, but if the company is doing well, why not?"

Mr Lee, however, stressed that the challenge of helping low-wage earners must be seen in its proper context, as the "majority of Singaporeans are doing well".

Said the Prime Minister: "Household

incomes have increased across the board. The unemployment rate is very low ... and the employment rate is at a record high. We've never had so many Singaporeans working ever before, in spite of all the foreign workers here."

He added: "In fact, I would say this: We have the foreign workers here, and that's why our economy has grown, that's why the companies are here. That's why Singaporeans have jobs in such big numbers."

Dwelling on some Singaporeans' resistance towards the influx of foreign workers in the Mandarin portion of his speech, Mr Lee stressed that the country was facing a manpower shortage, and "not that we have too many workers". For instance, the two integrated resorts are expected to create an additional 20,000 jobs.

Citing measures such as the foreign worker levy and limits on the proportion of foreign workers companies can hire, Mr Lee said he hoped that Singaporeans would "look at the contributions of foreign workers objectively".

He added: "They are not here to steal our jobs but to help us enlarge the economic pie."

The Shape Of Things To Come

Source : TODAY, Friday, May 2, 2008

The United States economy dodged an outright contraction in the first three months of the year, but its 0.6-per-cent growth announced early yesterday was so weak that it helped convince the Federal Reserve, just hours later, to cut its key policy-making interest rate by another quarter point, to 2 per cent. This is the seventh cut in as many months to the interest that banks charge each other for short-term loans. Lowering the Fed funds rate is meant to spur growth by reducing the cost of everything from credit card borrowing to business loans.

In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the US economy is "probably bordering on recession". Speaking at the annual May Day Rally, he warned that the shape of the US downturn was important. Addressing unionists, he painted three scenarios for the US economy and offered his take on how the chips might fall for Singapore's export-reliant economy.

V-shaped A mild recession in the first half of the year, with growth "back on track" in the later months – this is what the US Federal Reserve is projecting. Such a short-lived downturn is the "best scenario for the US, and also for Singapore", said Mr Lee.

U-shaped With the "underlying problems" of the US housing market yet to be solved, property prices will plunge further, causing "more problems" for the banks. The spiralling effect would "shrink" the banks and affect consumer spending, further depressing housing prices and causing "more serious difficulties" to emerge. Said Mr Lee: "The actions taken have been bold but they haven't solved the fundamental problems. They have only postponed the problems ... to give more time to manage and massage it away." As a result, it could be into next year before the US economy sorts itself out and Singapore would be "loaded down significantly", he warned.

L-shaped The worst-case scenario, but also the least likely, said Mr Lee. Such an extended and severe downturn – similar to what Japan experienced in the 1990s – would drag down other major economies and cause Singapore "serious difficulties". Added Mr Lee: "Fortunately, most analysts don't think this is on the cards."

"Overall, I would expect a V-shaped downturn – if we are lucky – or a U-shaped downturn in the US. We had better plan (based) on that." – PM Lee Hsien Loong

S&P Affirms 'AAA' Rating On Singapore With Stable Outlook

Source : Reuters, Fri, May 02, 2008

STANDARD & POOR'S Ratings Services (S&P) said on Friday it affirmed its 'AAA/A-1+' sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Singapore. The outlook is stable.

The ratings reflect Singapore's enduring fiscal and external strengths and competitive economy, while taking into account the challenges it faces as a small and open economy.

Singapore's general government surplus is estimated at 8.8 per cent of GDP in fiscal 2007 (ended March 31, 2008) and averaged 8.0 per cent of GDP between 2003 and 2007.

'This level of surplus, one of the highest in the world, provides strong fiscal flexibility, which is needed for structural reforms, such as the ongoing efforts to diversify the economy to be less reliant on electronics exports and to enhance cost competitiveness,' said S&P's credit analyst Yee Farn Phua.

'The ratings on Singapore are also supported by its strong record of political stability and prudent macroeconomic management,' Mr Phua said.

'The government has consistently embraced a responsible, pragmatic, and forward-looking approach to policy making.'

Given its small and open economy, Singapore is more exposed to exogenous shocks than some of its peers, albeit its medium-term growth prospects remain favorable compared with other mature developed economies.

The sound and stable financial system, which has ample liquidity, good capitalisation levels, and effective regulation, helps mitigate the potential risks from exogenous shocks. -- REUTERS

CapitaLand Profit Hit By Absence Of Fair-Value Gain

Source : The Business Times, May 01, 2008

PROPERTY giant CapitaLand yesterday posted a 59.3 per cent year-on-year drop in first-quarter net profit to $247.5 million, from $608.1 million in Q1 2007 when the bottom line had been boosted by a $426.8 million fair value gain from the sale of 8 Shenton Way (formerly Temasek Tower).

The group said, however, that its assets under management (AUM) rose to $19.1 billion as at end-Q1 2008 from $14.6 billion a year ago. It now manages four listed real estate investment trusts and 13 private equity funds across Singapore, China, Japan, Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

CapitaLand also said in its Q1 results statement that it plans to originate new property funds in Asia, in particular China, following the increased institutional and private investors' interest for real estate investments.

The group is on track to grow AUM to $25 billion in three to five years. Its fund management arm, CapitaLand Financial, reported a 52.4 per cent year-on-year jump in Q1 earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) to $18.5 million.

Group revenue for the first quarter ended March 31, 2008, dipped 0.9 per cent to $631.3 million. Higher revenue from office and retail properties was offset by lower sales of development projects in Singapore. Singapore's share of CapitaLand's group revenue and Ebit slipped in Q1 this year against the year-ago period. The Republic made up 29.7 per cent of revenue in Q1 2008, down from 41.4 per cent in Q1 2007. Singapore's share of Ebit fell from 83.5 per cent in Q1 2007 to 55 per cent in Q1 2008.

At CapitaLand's annual general meeting on Tuesday, shareholders were told that 2008 full-year earnings are unlikely to match last year's $2.8 billion due to a lack of revaluation gains. However, the group should perform better at the operating level, chairman Richard Hu told shareholders.

In its results statement yesterday, CapitaLand said it expects sentiment in the Singapore residential sector to remain cautious until more stability emerges in global financial markets and economic conditions. 'However, earnings for our residential business in Singapore will be underpinned by brisk sales achieved in the last two years,' it added.

The group was silent on possible launches in Singapore this year, although it highlighted likely launches elsewhere, in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Kazakhstan.

Ebit from residential rose 11.7 per cent year-on-year to $151.5 million in Q1 2008, with the improvement contributed mainly by China, arising from marked-to-market gains on an investment.

Ebit from commercial strategic business unit fell 74.6 per cent to $138.6 million due mainly to the fair value gain for Temasek Tower in the same year-ago period. The retail SBU posted a 145.8 per cent jump in Q1 Ebit to $58.1 million largely on the back of unrealised forex gains arising from revaluation of US dollar-denominated loans as the Sing dollar strengthened against the US currency and the divestment gain of Xizhimen mall to CapitaRetail China Trust, but partly offset by higher operating expenses.

The Ascott Group's Ebit rose 35.3 per cent to $39.5 million, due largely to the portfolio gain from the divestment of the property at 6 Sarkies Road in Singapore and better revenue per available unit performance from Europe and Singapore operations.

CapitaLand also said that the group's net debt to equity ratio rose to 0.59 as at end-Q1 2008 from 0.5 as at end-Q1 2007. The group's gross debt stood at $12.4 billion as at end-Q1 2008 compared with $8 billion a year earlier.

Earnings per share fell from 21.8 cents in Q1 2007 to 8.8 cents in Q1 2008. Net asset value per share stood at $3.62 as at March 31, 2008, up slightly from $3.54 as at Dec 31, 2007.

On the stock market yesterday, CapitaLand closed 18 cents lower at $6.79.

March Bank Lending Growth Fastest On Record

Source : The Business Times, May 01, 2008

Bank lending accelerated in March to its fastest pace in more than 16 years, led by a sharp rise in loans to the building and construction sector, figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore show.

Total loans were $249.5 billion at end-March - up 23.9 per cent from a year earlier and the most rapid expansion since the start of 1992, the earliest year for which data can be calculated using records on the MAS website.

During March, loans growth also gathered momentum to 3.2 per cent, faster than February's pace of 2.1 per cent and January's 1.5 per cent.

In contrast, deposits grew just 13.7 per cent over the year to $330.8 billion at end-March.

The rapid loans growth relative to deposits reflects 'lots of liquidity' in the banking system - a good sign, according to CIMB economist Song Seng Wun.

Although loans to the broad property sector expanded the fastest, loans to most other sectors also grew, suggesting that financing of consumer spending and business activity remained strong in the first quarter.

The latest estimates from MAS also show that bank lending to the property sector continued to rise rapidly in March. Total property-related loans, comprising consumer home loans and business loans to the building and construction industry, reached $117.8 billion - up 27.3 per cent from a year earlier and the fastest pace of growth since July 1995.

Consumer home loans, which include mortgages as well as short-term 'bridging loans' provided by banks to buyers of new homes waiting for cash from the sale of property, grew 15.3 per cent from a year earlier to $74.2 billion at end-March, slightly slower than the 15.8 per cent pace in each of the first two months of the year.

Business loans to the building and construction sector soared 54.9 per cent to $43.6 billion, from $28.2 billion a year earlier.

Construction activity is expected to grow strongly for at least the rest of the year, given a strong pipeline of construction projects with completion dates that stretch to 2013, MAS said in its latest twice-yearly Macroeconomic Review on Tuesday.

It also cited construction as an industry sector it expects to be relatively insulated from a US economic downturn.

The total value of construction contracts awarded reached $24.5 billion last year, reflecting strong demand for residential and non-residential projects, it said.

'This suggests a possible surge in construction activity over the next two to three quarters, as work on projects progresses into the phase where the bulk of payment streams occurs. Future demand should also remain firm, with contracts for major projects such as the integrated resorts yet to be fully awarded.'

These projects are expected to fuel demand for bank finance. 'For instance, the ongoing construction of the integrated resorts and the Marina Bay Financial Centre will continue to provide impetus for building and construction loan activity,' MAS said.

'Meanwhile, consumer mortgage loans are expected to remain firm, supported by loans that will be extended when a number of private residential projects obtain their temporary occupation permits this year, some of which have been taken out under the deferred payment scheme.'

CIMB's Mr Song said he expects continued strong growth in bank lending at least until next year. 'If there is to be any reversal, it will come in the second half of 2009, if the current uncertainty continues and starts to affect consumer and business confidence,' he said.

PM Lee Cautions S'poreans To Prepare For Economic Slowdown

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 01 May 2008

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has cautioned Singaporeans to be prepared for a slowing economy in the next few quarters.

Speaking in Malay, Mandarin and English at the May Day Rally, Mr Lee told workers that Singapore's economy may have done well so far in 2008, but developments in the US economy may still have an impact on the country.

Mr Lee gave the stark reminder when he joined more than 1,500 workers at Labour Day celebrations.

Mr Lee said the US sub-prime crisis has spread through its banking system and beyond. While the immediate danger is over, there is still the ripple effect.

He painted three scenarios of how the US economy might affect Singapore.

The first scenario is a mild recession but with growth at the end of the year.

Second, if the US problems persist, it'll slow Singapore's growth as well, even going into 2009.

The third scenario is a severe US downturn which most analysts agree is unlikely to happen.

Mr Lee believes the first two scenarios are more likely.

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"For this year, we can still achieve a 4-6 percent growth which MTI (Ministry of Trade and Industry) has projected. But remember, the 4-6 percent (growth) is for the whole year. The first quarter was good, (but for the) second, third and fourth quarters, prepare for a slowdown (which) may last into next year. This is one major uncertainty affecting our economy," said the prime minister.

"Employers and workers have to bear this in mind when you negotiate your CAs (collective agreements) this year. You have to ensure that any built-in wage increases are sustainable and if the companies are still doing well, reward the workers with higher variable bonuses, and keep it flexible," he added.

Another concern is the rising cost of living.

Mr Lee said the government had just given out the first instalment of Growth Dividends to some 2.4 million Singaporeans. The second payment is due in October.

Overall, each household can expect some S$5,000 to cope with the rising costs.

On the issue of foreign labour, PM Lee said foreign workers are willing to work longer hours to keep the airport, factories and hotels open 24 hours a day throughout the year. That gives Singapore a more competitive edge, he said, adding that keeping foreign workers away is not the answer.

"It's because we have the foreign workers here, that's why our economy has grown, that's why the employers, ...companies are here, and that's why Singaporeans have jobs. You send away the foreign workers,... a few hundred thousand (of them), Singaporeans (won't) go into those jobs, the companies will close or leave. I think the Singaporeans unemployment will go up, and hardship will go up," said PM Lee.

For those who have difficulty finding jobs, Mr Lee said there are many schemes to help them get employed. For example, the Workfare Income Supplement gave out S$300 million this year, benefiting some 300,000 low-wage workers.

More jobs are also on the horizon, with some 10,000 available at the Marina Bay Integrated Resort. - CNA /ls

S'pore Doing Okay, But Much Hinges On How US Performs

Source : The Straits Times, May 2, 2008

THE economy has done all right so far, growing 7.2 per cent in the first three months.

But Singaporeans will have to stay prepared and be on guard for possible slowdowns for the rest of the year and maybe into next year - depending on how the United States' economy performs.

Giving his take on the impact here of an economic downturn in the US, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that it would depend on the shape of the slowdown.

'V' is the best shape, as it would indicate the US economy bouncing back in the second half of the year and growth getting back on track later in the year.

But it could easily become U-shaped because the underlying problems in the US housing market have not been solved.

'The actions that have been taken have been bold. But they haven't solved the fundamental problems,' Mr Lee said of Washington's responses.

'They've only postponed these problems into the future to give more time to manage them and massage them away.'

If that means taking more time to sort out the US economy, even into next year, Singapore too will be slowed down significantly.

But the most gloomy, he said, is an L-shaped downturn of the kind Japan experienced in the 1990s, from which it did not pull out for some 10 years.

'If that happens in America, then America is in trouble. So too Europe, so too Japan. And Singapore will be caught up in this and we will be in serious difficulties too,' he said.

'But, fortunately, most analysts don't think this is on the cards.'

Mr Lee expects a V-shaped downturn 'if we're lucky'.

He remains confident Singapore's economy can achieve the 4 per cent to 6 per cent growth that has been forecast, and noted the good performance of the first three months.

But the country needs to plan ahead and be prepared if the slowdown turns out to be U-shaped instead.

Assessing the impact on industries, he said sectors like construction, marine engineering and the port will continue to do well.

But others, such as tourism, financial services and perhaps information technology, could be more seriously hit.

'So this is one major uncertainty affecting our economy,' he said, adding that bosses and workers must bear this in mind when they negotiate wage changes this year.

They must ensure that any built-in wage increases are sustainable. Companies which still do well should reward workers with higher variable bonuses.

'Keep it flexible,' he advised. 'So just in case things turn wrong, you don't have to disappoint the workers and take back something which has already been given.'

Way to go: Direct help to needy, not price controls

R&D, education provide more and better jobs


'Many of our colleagues are foreign workers. We must be fair and respect their contributions. We should aim for Singaporeans and foreigners to be one community so that it is one harmonious Singapore.' - MR GARY HARIS, 33, union leader at Union of Security Employees


'It will be difficult without foreign workers. A lot of Singaporeans do not like to work in the shipyard. With foreign workers, our company can grow.' - MR ALIAS TALIB, 44, general treasurer of Keppel Fels Employees' Union. Six in 10 of its 3,500 members are from Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar and the Philippines.

Don't Tar All With Same Brush

Source : The Straits Times, May 2, 2008

I ENJOYED the Saturday Special package of features on the real estate sales industry (April 19).

But I was disappointed and dismayed by the statement by Dr Yu Shi Ming, head of the real estate department of the National University of Singapore (NUS), when he was quoted as saying: 'Every time people think of real estate agents, they think 'unscrupulous', 'untrained', 'unprofessional' and 'unethical'.

My mother was upset and embarrassed after reading Dr Yu's hurtful remark and asked if I, a real estate agent, was also unscrupulous, untrained, unprofessional and unethical.

I assured my mother I belong to the vast majority of real estate agents who abide by the core value of sales, including always trying to achieve the greatest savings for my customers and always ensuring that my customers will need to 'move house' only once when they relocate from one place to another.

Such deals are often complicated and require agents to have good people skills, good coordination skills, an eye for the nitty-gritty, patience and a cool head.

Most real estate agents, though poorly educated, will not say things without first thinking how the words we use will hurt the feelings of others, especially their parents.

I may not be as highly educated, but I have learnt the virtue of not making sweeping generalisations against others from my primary school teacher - who, like me, was not as well educated.

Doreen Chan (Ms)

Better Laws Needed To Regulate Estate Agents

Source : The Straits Times, May 2, 2008

I REFER to the Saturday Special report, 'Rodeo realtors' (April 19).

While the number of complaints is of much concern, it should be noted that they are committed by errant agents from a few companies.

As realtors deal with high value-added services, it is unfortunate that many of these complaints have invoked strong reactions.

For all intents and purposes, most practitioners realise they need to uphold the professional code of ethics and conduct to ensure long-term success in their profession.

These complaints are further compounded by the fact that, unlike in most developed countries, there are presently no well-defined laws regulating real estate practice in Singapore, an industry which is neither fully regulated nor totally deregulated.

I am of the opinion that self-regulation, in the context of the local consumer culture, operates optimally only within the framework of a well-crafted legislation for both real estate companies and agents.

Any private regulatory initiatives in a highly competitive industry are almost impossible unless there is adequate support and appropriate power to champion the best interests of consumers.

In appointing their agents, consumers should ensure they are committed to a stringent code of practice. They must go through comprehensive and vigorous training on a continuing basis.

In addition, agencies should be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and marketing resources. They should be in a position to submit an effective sole agency marketing plan, backed by a series of guarantees for performance, service and results.

Consumers can be assured, if they do their due diligence, there are many professional advisers in the market who can meet, and even exceed, these criteria.

Patrick Liew
HSR Property Group

Slowdown May Stretch Into Next Year: PM Lee

Source : The Business Times, May 2, 2008

For S'pore, much depends on the shape of the US downturn - whether it's V, U or L

To the eternal optimists who think that the Singapore economy will rebound from its lean patch in the months to come, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered a sobering projection: he expects the slowdown to continue into next year.

While the economy is on track to hit 4-6 per cent growth this year, Mr Lee sees its momentum slowing in the next few quarters as the United States economy limps along, dragged down by still-unfixed sub-prime mortgage problems.

And whether it's a V-shaped or U-shaped downturn in the US, it could extend the slowdown in Singapore's economy into 2009, Mr Lee told some 1,500 unionists yesterday at a National Trades Union Congress May Day Rally.

'The first quarter is good,' he said. 'Second, third, fourth quarters - prepare ourselves that it will slow down. And the slowdown may last into next year.'

It could be worse if the US falls into an L-shaped economic trajectory - the gloomiest scenario, when there is a severe and extended downturn in the US, like the decade-long recession Japan went into in the 1990s.

'If that happens, then America is in trouble,' Mr Lee said. 'So too Europe, so too Japan. And Singapore will be caught up in this and we will be in serious difficulties too.'

But he noted that most analysts don't think this is on the cards.

The best scenario for the US is a V-shaped downturn - a quick recession followed by a quick rebound - which is also the best scenario for Singapore, Mr Lee said. 'But it is hoping for the best'.

He said the US could easily slip into a U-shaped downturn because its underlying housing problems remain unsolved. The actions taken so far have only postponed the problems into the future.

'The property prices have to go down further,' Mr Lee said. 'When they go down, the banks will have more problems. When the banks have problems, they shrink. That will cause the economy to have more problems.'

In a U-shaped downturn, the bottoming will last longer and the US economy will take some time to sort itself out - perhaps until 2009, according to him.

'This could well happen and then Singapore too will be slowed down significantly,' Mr Lee warned.

'But whatever it is, we have to stay on our guard and stay prepared,' he said. 'Overall, I would expect V-shaped if we are lucky (or a) U-shaped downturn in the US - better plan on that.'

Whatever shape the US downturn takes, Mr Lee said the impact on the Singapore economy will be uneven. Construction, marine engineering, ports and shipyards will be 'all right', according to him.

'Construction will be okay because we have so many things building in Singapore,' Mr Lee said.

'Marine engineering will be okay because the shipyards are doing well. Ports will be okay because the port is highly competitive and bringing in a lot of business.'

But tourism, financial services and perhaps information technology will feel at least some pain.

All this suggests that Singapore's year-on-year economic growth in the coming quarters will fall below the surprisingly strong 7.2 per cent gain estimated for Q1.

'Essentially, Singapore has to be prepared for fairly rough weather ahead,' said Manu Bhaskaran of Centennial Group, a US-based economic consultancy.

He sees a prolonged period of 'meagre' economic growth in the US - and Europe and Japan are not going to take up the slack, because the leading indicators for these two large economies also point to a slowdown, according to him.

Mr Bhaskaran said Singapore has built up some resiliency in its services sector, which puts it in a better position than before to absorb the impact of a US recession. But even then, it remains an open economy and a downturn in the US, Europe and Japan at the same time will hit Singapore.

Prepare For External Turbulence

Source : The Straits Times, May 1, 2008


LAST year was a good year for Singapore and its workers. The economy grew robustly, many jobs were created and workers enjoyed good wage settlements. In unionised companies, bonuses were the highest since 1990. The mood was upbeat.

This year will be much more challenging. Our economy is still doing well, but dark storm clouds have gathered. The sub-prime mortgage loans crisis in the United States has become a much broader problem. A US recession has probably already started. The question is how long, and how severe, the downturn will be.

The US government has acted boldly to stabilise the economy. They hope growth will be back on track by the second half of this year. But there is a possibility that the financial problems will worsen, and push the US economy into deeper trouble. Then Europe and Japan would be more seriously affected, and the impact on Asia and Singapore much more severe. This is one big uncertainty that we must be prepared for.

Our first priority is to keep the economy competitive and growing. This means continually upgrading and diversifying the economy. We are strengthening our ties with the vibrant Asian economies and tapping new areas of growth. Industries like tourism, construction and marine engineering continue to do well, and will buffer us from the effects of a US recession. We still expect to grow by 4-6 per cent this year. But we must watch closely how the situation in the US unfolds, and be ready to respond if things take a turn for the worse. We have the resources and the ability to do so.

With continued growth this year, the labour market will remain tight. In both manufacturing and services, many vacancies are waiting to be filled. As major projects like the integrated resorts come on stream, many more jobs will be created, from front-line operations to supervisory and managerial positions.

In this environment, the vast majority of workers with useful skills and qualifications will have no difficulties getting a job. They should take advantage of the many opportunities for continuous education and training to refresh their skills and knowledge.

But older, low-wage workers remain vulnerable. They are less nimble in learning new skills and need more structured training. The Government is doing all it can to help them. We are working with the NTUC to help older workers upgrade their skills, become more employable and do better for themselves. Through the Workfare Income Supplement, we are rewarding those who make the effort by topping up their takehome pay and CPF savings.

Another major issue is the rising cost of living. Like other countries, Singapore is affected by higher global inflation. We cannot insulate ourselves completely from worldwide price increases. However, the policy of the Monetary Authority of Singapore to keep the Singapore dollar strong has moderated the impact of imported inflation.

Singaporeans are understandably concerned by the recent sharp increases in food prices, including essentials like rice. We need not worry about a food shortage, because we have adequate supplies and can buy what we need from many sources. At the same time, we can and will directly assist those who are adversely affected by the higher cost of living. This is why this year's Budget included the Growth Dividends, personal income tax rebates, Medisave top-ups and many other relief measures, targeted especially at lower- and middle-income Singaporeans. Together with measures such as the GST offset package, the Government will be giving out more than $3 billion to Singaporeans this year.

Low-wage workers have already received their Workfare Income Supplements. On April 30, all Singaporeans received their first payout of Growth Dividends. A second payout will come on Oct 1. Altogether, a low-income family living in a three-room HDB flat can expect benefits of around $5,000 this year, far larger than the increase in their cost of living due to higher inflation. Middle-income families will also enjoy benefits that will offset the increased cost of living.

I hope that workers and employers will take into account these important factors in their wage settlements this year. They should aim for sustainable wage adjustments, and put increases into variable bonuses as far as possible to make our wage structure more flexible. Realistic settlements will address the concerns of workers, and yet allow companies to respond quickly to sudden changes in the economic environment.

Singapore's great strength in tackling these challenges is the strong tripartite cooperation we have built up over the years. Because of the mutual trust among tripartite partners, we are able to take a rational approach.

We must do our best to consolidate and strengthen this partnership. The external turbulence will put our solidarity under stress. But we must not end up arguing among ourselves or, worse, quarrelling over how to divide what we have, or else we will all be worse off.


Singaporeans are understandably concerned by the recent sharp increases in food prices, including essentials like rice. We need not worry about a food shortage, because we have adequate supplies and can buy what we need from many sources.

PM Upbeat About S'pore Economy

Source : The Straits Times, May 1, 2008

He is confident Singapore will be able to weather uncertain global outlook

SINGAPORE is sailing into choppier waters amid uncertainty in the global economy, but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is confident of Singapore's economic prospects.

In his annual May Day message, Mr Lee sketched out the uncertain outlook due to the financial crisis in the United States.

But he maintained: 'However the US financial problems play out, I am confident of our ability to cope...our economic fundamentals are sound and we are in a strong position.'

Buoyant industries such as tourism, construction and marine engineering will buffer Singapore from the effects of a US recession, he said.

The economy is still on track to grow by 4 per cent to 6 per cent this year. The job market is also expected to be full of jobs chasing workers.

'In both manufacturing and services, many vacancies are waiting to be filled,' the Prime Minister said.

Latest job figures released yesterday buttress this point.

They show that a record 68,400 jobs were added to the economy in the first three months of the year, exceeding the 62,500 jobs created in the previous quarter and 49,400 in the same quarter last year.

Still, despite the job boom, the unemployment rate climbed from 1.7 per cent in December to 2 per cent in March.

HSBC Bank economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde attributed this phenomenon to an expanding pool of job seekers, possibly a result of more foreigners seeking jobs here.

In his speech, Mr Lee also urged workers and employers to aim for 'sustainable' wage changes this year, in anticipation of a year ahead that will be 'much more challenging' than 2007 had been.

'Realistic settlements will address the concerns of workers, and yet allow companies to respond quickly to sudden changes in the economic environment,' he said.

For now, the economy is still doing well although 'dark storm clouds have gathered'.

Pointing to the sub-prime mortgage loan crisis in the United States, Mr Lee said: 'We must watch closely how the situation in the US unfolds, and be ready to respond if things take a turn for the worse.'

Addressing the hot issue of rising inflation, Mr Lee said Singapore cannot shield itself completely from this worldwide phenomenon.

But the strong Singapore dollar has helped to maintain the purchasing power of workers' salaries, he noted.

The Prime Minister also assured the people about the food situation here.

Singapore has enough supplies of food, notably rice, and 'we can buy what we need from many sources', he said.

Also, help will be given to those struggling to cope with the higher cost of living.

Relief measures from the Government total $3 billion, ranging in form from tax rebates and Medisave top-ups to the GST offset package and Growth Dividends given to every Singaporean from the last Budget surplus.

The first payout of the Growth Dividends was yesterday, with a second due on Oct 1.

Noting that Singapore's strength is the strong cooperation among unions, employers and the Government, Mr Lee said this enabled them to take a 'rational approach' and act in Singapore's collective best interest.

PM Lee added: 'The external turbulence will put our solidarity under stress.

'But we must not end up arguing among ourselves, or, worse, quarrelling over how to divide what we have, or else we will all be worse off.'

Temp Office Site In Newton Draws Four Bids

Source : The Straits Times, May 2, 2008

A TENDER for a second temporary office site on Scotts Road and Anthony Road has attracted less interest than the first site adjacent to it.

Temporary sites are being offered for development as offices as part of efforts to ease an office space crunch.

Sun Venture (S) Investments, a development and property asset management company owned by interior design firm DB&B, put in a bid of nearly $33 million.

This price translates to $226 per sq ft (psf) of gross floor area, which is about 7 per cent lower than UOB Kay Hian's recent bid of $242.50 psf for the first transitional plot at the same location.

Nevertheless, these bids remain above the top bid of $219 psf for an earlier transitional site in the area - Scotts Spazio, which is just across Scotts Road - that was released in August last year.

The second plot on Scotts Road and Anthony Road has a size of 97,284 sq ft and, like the first, comes with a 15-year lease. The other bidders were Scotts Development ($219 psf), Centurion Scotts ($171 psf) and Hersing Corporation ($157 psf).

All four also participated in last week's tender for the other transitional plot, which attracted eight bids. Sun Venture was the second highest bidder in that tender, with a bid of $208 psf.

Last week's tender would have weeded out those who could not pay, said Cushman & Wakefield's managing director, Mr Donald Han.

The Government has now offered four transitional office sites, which would yield about 650,000 sq ft of space, said Mr Nicholas Mak, Knight Frank's director of research and consultancy.

Office rents have shot up significantly on tight supply in the past two years, though growth has slowed.

Separately, the Government has made available a commercial site in one-north for application. Developers who are keen have to commit to a minimum bid before the site can be put up for sale.

If triggered, the fairly large plot - it allows for a total gross floor area of 1.29 million sq ft - could attract bids of between $300 psf and $400 psf, said Mr Han.

Transitional Office Site Gets Top Bid Of $226 PSF PPR

Source : The Business Times, May 1, 2008

Offer is 7% below last week's top bid for nearby plot

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has closed the tender for a transitional office site at Scotts Road/ Anthony Road - receiving a top bid of $32.99 million.

This works out to be $226 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) for the 97,284.1 sq ft site which has maximum permissible gross floor area of 145,926.2 sq ft.

Four bids were received with the highest bid coming from Sun Venture Investments, a subsidiary of interior design and build firm DB&B Developments Pte Ltd. Its bid was 3 per cent higher than the next highest bid of $32 million from Scotts Development Pte Ltd.

DB&B chief executive Billy Siew Kim Leng said that if it is awarded the site, it intends to lease the building fully. Already, Mr Siew said that it is talking to two potential tenants who may lease the entire building.

While Mr Siew did not say who these might be, a check with the DB&B website reveals that its current clients include ABN Amro Bank and Korea Development Bank.

If awarded, this will be the first development project for DB&B. Still, Mr Siew said this is the normal progression in terms of 'vertical integration' for its business.

He also said he was bullish on the office sector and is setting its sights on a monthly rental of $9.50 psf.

Cushman and Wakefield managing director Donald Han agreed that the site could eventually attract big companies. 'I think corporations would be favourable to an address like this.'

He also said that as long as the locations were good, there would still be developers interested in such sites. 'The entry level is low so it would be good for new developers,' he added.

The potential over-supply of new office space after 2010 is not likely to affect demand for this site either. Savills Singapore director (marketing and business development) Ku Swee Yong said: 'The future supply is likely to be more spaced out than originally expected due to construction delays.'

Even so, Mr Ku estimates that rentals for transitional office space in the Scotts Road area is more likely to be around $7 psf a month.

While the DB&B's bid is about 7 per cent lower than the top bid for the neighbouring transitional office site last week, Knight Frank director (research and consultancy) Nicholas Mak believes it is very likely that the government will award this site to DB&B, 'taking into consideration that this average price of $226 psf ppr is slightly higher than the price paid for the first transition office site at Scotts Road last August'.

He added: 'In an effort to ease the office space crunch, up to now, the government has awarded four transition office sites, which could yield about 650,000 sq ft of office space.'

Developers Vie For Top 'Green' Honours

Source : The Business Times, May 1, 2008

Keppel Land wins its first platinum for Ocean Financial Centre, slated for completion in 2011

THE battle for the Green Mark platinum award is heating up.

Last year, City Developments fired the first salvo, claiming two of the seven platinums, the highest rating given out by the Building and Construction Authority for environmental friendliness.

First salvo: The platinum bagged by Keppel Land for its massive Ocean Financial Centre office block is the first given for an office tower. The 43-storey building will be constructed on the site of the present Ocean Building and Ocean Towers

But this year, rival developer Keppel Land has bagged its first platinum for Ocean Financial Centre, a massive 43-storey office block to be built on the site of the present Ocean Building and Ocean Towers. This is also the first given for an office tower, said Tan Swee Yiow, chief executive officer of Singapore Commercial at Keppel Land.

City Developments had won two platinums last year and three more this year - two condominium projects, Cliveden and Solitaire, and the Tampines Grande office building.

But because of its more complex energy needs, getting the Ocean Financial Centre certified platinum was more difficult than for a similar residential tower or commercial building, Mr Tan said in an interview.

'If you want to talk about energy savings, probably the easiest way is to build a lot of concrete walls up. But the challenge is how to make an iconic architectural statement and at the same time achieve energy savings,' he said.

The green features that helped Keppel Land clinch the platinum award could add '5 to 10 per cent' to development cost, said Mr Tan, declining to be more specific because tenders have yet to be called. While the features will not come cheap, Mr Tan said that 'at this moment we can't say that we can charge a premium for its greener features'.

'To us it's a necessity. This is a historical site, so it's very visible and the extra cost is justifiable. Our client mix will also appreciate the features,' he added.

The Ocean Financial Centre is slated for completion in 2011 and will offer 850,000 sq ft of prime office space. It will be a redevelopment of Ocean Building and Ocean Towers, now on the same site.

Ocean Building has already been torn down; some of the debris will be recycled for use in the new building. Ocean Towers will be demolished later to make way for a five-storey car park and grand plaza integrated into the entire Ocean Financial Centre complex.

Mr Tan said that among its extensive energy-saving features was a 400-sq-m roof-mounted solar panel array. Along with efficient lighting panels and air conditioning, this would save nine megawatt hours a year, enough to power a 50,000-sq-m office space.

The complex will also have a roof-top garden and rainwater-harvesting features which could save 42 million litres of water a year, Mr Tan said, enough to fill 21 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

As well, a small chute running down the middle of the tower can be used for waste paper disposal, he said, adding this was an 'in-house' innovation probably not replicated elsewhere as yet, adding there would be sprinklers and safeguards so that a carelessly discarded cigarette butt would not cause an inferno.

The company is aiming to achieve at least Green Mark gold or gold plus ratings for all future projects, he said.

JTC Offers 1.9ha One-North Site For Sale

Source : The Business Times, May 1, 2008

A COMMERCIAL site slated for mostly office use near the existing Buona Vista MRT Station has been made available for application under the reserve list.

The 1.9-hectare site can yield close to 1.3 million square feet of gross floor area, of which 21,528 sq ft are for ground-floor retail use.

The 99-year site is in the biomedical hub of one-north and is being offered for sale under the Government Land Sale Programme for first-half 2008 by JTC Corporation.

The plot could be worth about $500 million assuming it fetches $400 per square foot of potential gross floor area.

JTC Corp said the plot will be developed into a high-rise commercial building that will provide office space for the business support companies of the research institutes at one-north. The plot is next to a new MRT station that will open under the Circle Line in 2010.

Cushman & Wakefield managing director Donald Han said the development, which will have about one million sq ft net lettable area, will benefit from spillover office demand from the surrounding biomedical facilities, as well as commercial office tenants and government departments relocating out of the Central Business District.

'This is a sizeable investment, so bidders will be the big boys potentially looking at developing a project on a built-to-suit basis for anchor tenants. The end-product will be very suitable for sale to a Reit. It's pretty untested ground, but the plot could fetch about $350-$420 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr). The breakeven cost will be about $1,000 to $1,100 psf of net lettable area,' Mr Han added.

Colliers International managing director Dennis Yeo estimates the site to be worth a slightly higher $400-$500 psf ppr, reflecting a breakeven cost of around $1,200 psf of net lettable area. 'Assuming an average rent of about $7 psf, the net yield will be about 5 to 6 per cent,' he added.

史格士路Scotts Road B地段出价比第一幅低7%

《联合早报》May 1, 2008

正如市场人士预料,昨天招标截止的第二幅史格士路(Scotts Road)短期办公楼(transitional office)地段,只吸引了四方人马进场争夺,而且出手比一个星期前的第一幅地段低了7%。

尽管如此,房地产市场人士相信政府应该会将史格士路B地段颁售给出手最高的Sun Venture。莱坊(KnightFrank)研究部主管麦俊荣指出,这幅地段的最高投标价格仍然高于去年8月卖出的第一幅史格士路短期办公楼地段。

上星期四招标截止的史格士路A地段,一共吸引了八方人马进场争夺。当时,出手最高的大华继显(UOB Kay Hian)贸易,以3400万元,即容积率每平方英尺242.5元,来投标这幅只有15年地契的地段,价格刷新过去九个月来所有短期办公楼地段的投标价格。

昨天招标截止的史格士路B地段,战情明显较为淡静。Sun Venture的投标价为3299万元,即容积率每平方英尺226元。


其余3家出手的公司,也在上星期的A地段投标活动中露过脸。本地著名家具商人——Vanguard Interior执行董事王国泰,昨天再次通过ScottsDevelopment以3200万元来投标这幅地段。

大华继显的两名红牌交易员David Loh和Han Seng Juan,也再次通过Centurion Scotts投标这幅地段,出价同样维持在2489万元。持有ERA房地产特许经营权的和兴企业(Hersing Corporation),则以2289万元投标这幅地段。


《联合早报》Apr 30, 2008


集团昨天发表今年第一季的数据,现成厂房的净出租面积(net allocation)达到3万8400平方公尺,和去年第一季的6700平方公尺比较,增加了5倍。

净出租面积指的是总出租面积(gross allocation)扣除终止使用的地段(termination)。在今年第一季,现成厂房的总出租面积达到8万9500平方公尺,同比大幅上涨了72%,但同去年第四季比较,则下滑了26%。


现成厂房细分为多层厂房(flatted factory)、科技企业营运楼面(TP Space)、商业园、标准厂房(standard factory)和堆叠式厂房(stack-up factory)。