BOJ's Iwata says conducting simulation on exit strategy from stimulus
[TOKYO] Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Kikuo Iwata said on Tuesday the central bank was conducting a study of how it could end its massive monetary stimulus in the future, but acknowledged it was still far from achieving its inflation target.
Singapore property investors unfazed by Brexit
PC Lee - SINGAPORE (April 25): The United Kingdom continues to remain as one of the top destinations for Singaporeans looking to invest in property overseas, according to a survey commissioned by IP Global.
The results showed that Singaporean investors are unfazed by short-term implications of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit.
The UK was the preferred investment destination for 17% of Singaporeans, a 1% rise from last year. The continued interest in UK property is being driven by two key factors, says IP Global, the full-service property investment company.
Firstly, investors continue to take a long-term view of the UK economy, which many feel is underpinned by strong fundamentals. This belief has been backed by the latest official figures showing the economy experienced quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.7%, defying expectations of a contraction in the wake of uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Secondly, the Singapore dollar has strengthened against the British pound, appreciating by 9% over the past year. The increase in strength has made UK properties more affordable for Singaporean investors.
The latest step by Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50 and the decision to call a snap election has also strengthened investors resolve with the value of the British pound rising against the Singapore dollar. May’s announcement of June’s general election saw a 3% spike in the pound’s value against the dollar.
“We see that Singaporeans are looking beyond any immediate volatility and focusing on what underpins the highly reliable market: an entrenched supply gap and ever-growing demand. We have seen continued interest in London but also in other key UK cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, where the annual house price has been growing at a year-on-year rate of 8.8% and 6.8% respectively,” says Paul Preston, IP Global’s Head of Sales.
The overall dip in currency, despite the slight rise in recent days, makes the UK property market a more attractive investment destination with long term gains. With over 60% of Singaporeans planning on investing in assets over the next 12 months, an increase in investment in UK property is expected.
“The concerns surrounding Brexit have been factored in by the market as demonstrated by the positive economic data. The UK economy is underpinned by strong fundamentals; therefore it is not surprising that Singaporean property investors remain unfazed by Brexit. Singaporeans have a reputation as shrewd investors and our findings have shown that, while stocks and share are the preferred investment asset, there has been an increase over the past year in Singaporeans looking at property abroad,” Paul adds.
Singaporean investors are not the only ones looking at the UK as a top investment destination. The trend emerged across multiple markets as the UK was in the top three investment destinations for investors in Hong Kong, as well as in the United Arab Emirates.
Singapore was one of the five countries where the survey was conducted, as part of IP Global’s research to identify investment trends in real-estate across key markets.
For Singaporeans, Australia continued to be the No. 1 destination, seeing an increase of 3% from last year, with Canada being the third favoured investment destination.
Hong Kong, China, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates were the other four countries. The results across the five markets highlighted the following trends:
• Australia is the most popular property investment location for respondents in Singapore, Hong Kong and China.
• Japan is in the top four choices for investors in both Singapore and Hong Kong.
• Canada is the top property investment destination for respondents in UAE and the UK.
Waymo testing self-driving car ride service in Arizona
Today - SAN FRANCISCO - Alphabet Inc's Waymo autonomous vehicle group will begin testing a self-driving car program for hundreds of families in Phoenix, Arizona and is buying 500 Chrysler minivans to do so, the companies said on Tuesday.
Frasers Centrepoint Trust's net property income down 3.3% to $32.6m
Staff Reporter -
Due to the planned vacancies at Northpoint.
The renovation of Frasers Centrepoint Trust's Northpoint has led to a decline in its gross revenue and net property income for the past quarter.
According to OCBC Investment Research, FCT's headline went down by 2.9% to $45.7m, whilst its NPI dipped by 3.3% to $32.6m.
The renovation of Northpoint has led to planned vacancies, bringing the mall's vacancy at 60.7% as of the end of the quarter.
Luxury juggernaut LVMH folds Dior into its stable of brands
[PARIS] French billionaire Bernard Arnault moved to consolidate control over Christian Dior for about 12.1 billion euros (S$18.1 billion), folding much of the fashion house's operations into the LVMH luxury empire in one of his biggest transactions.
Cisco and Fidelity invest in SeedPlus debut fund
Trinity Chua - SINGAPORE (April 25): SeedPlus, the seed stage venture fund, said it today closed its SeedPlus Fund I, which attracted more than its investment target of $25 million.
This comes after SeedPlus’ debut fund received investments from Cisco Systems and Fidelity International via Cisco Investments and Eight Roads Ventures respectively.
“Cisco is involved in many global projects around the world, and we can now work closely with them to find and fund companies that can be very strategic to the solutions Cisco is providing,” says Michael Smith Jr., a partner at SeedPlus.
“Eight Roads has massive experience funding growth-stage companies, and it will be exciting to engage with them to help our portfolio companies in Southeast Asia tackle large pan-Asia markets,” he adds. Eight Road was an early backer of Alibaba Group.
The partnership is likely to give more access to Cisco and Fidelity into the Asian markets. “With this investment, we look forward to working closely with the SeedPlus team and backing exciting ventures with the potential to scale across Southeast Asia and the broader Asia market” said Raj Dugar, Managing Partner, Asia at Eight Roads.
Launched by Jungle Ventures, SeedPlus already has some prominent backers, including Accel Partners and Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates. The World Bank’s IFC also recently injected a US$2 million ($2.8 million) investment in the seed-stage venture fund.
Supported by Google and PwC, SeedPlus will invest in startups involved in software-as-a-service, financial technology, artificial intelligence and other emerging technology areas. It will invest up to $1 million in each startup in Asia.
The fund has made investments in Indian B2B e-commerce platform Moglix and Singapore’s virtual assistant start-up, Mimetic.ai, as well as Homage, a platform that connects caregivers with senior citizens.
Smith, who is the former CTO of Singtel’s streaming platform HOOQ, operates the funds with Gabriel Lundberg and Tiang Lim Foo. Lundberg is a former manager at Spotify and Tiang led the market development team of Evernote in Asia Pacific.
Meantime, the firm also announced that Chirayu Wadke has joined as a partner leading IoT investments. Prior to this, Chirayu led strategic business development for a number of product areas at Google in Mountain View.
Seoul: Stocks surge to 6-year high on large foreign demand
[SEOUL] South Korean shares soared to a near six-year closing high on Tuesday, as foreign investors boosted their purchases of local equities on optimism over firm corporate earnings.
Oil edges up after six straight sessions of losses
Today - SINGAPORE - Oil prices recovered some ground on Tuesday, halting six consecutive sessions of slide, but markets remain under pressure as traders lose confidence that pledged output cuts by major producers will rein in oversupply in a world awash with fuel.
Mitsubishi and Nissan full merger is not an option: chairman
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Credit Suisse investors prepare to grill chairman Rohner over pay
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DBS/POSB introduces video teller machines at 9 locations
Chai Hung Yin -
DBS/POSB Bank has launched its video teller machines (VTMs) at nine locations in Singapore, in a first of its kind here, it said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
South Korea tourist numbers plummet in China boycott
[SEOUL] South Korea's tourist industry has been hammered by China's boycott over the deployment of US missile defence system, with visitor numbers from the Asian giant plummeting 40 per cent in March, statistics showed.
LVMH, Arnault to simplify Christian Dior business structure
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Tokyo: Shares up, building on gains
[TOKYO] Tokyo shares tracked a global rally Tuesday following centrist Emmanuel Macron's first-round French election win, though traders remain on edge as North Korea marks a key military anniversary.
Beleaguered Ezra won't pay interest on its $150m notes
Staff Reporter -
It was supposed to be due on April 24.
Offshore marine group Ezra holdings which filed for US bankruptcy protection last month announced that it will not be paying the interest due on April 24 on its $150m 4.875% fixed rate notes due 2018.
The group said this is due to the US bankruptcy code.
Here are 4 factors that can support CPI growth of 1.2% this year
Staff Reporter -
Higher energy prices could be one.
Singapore CPI remained unchanged in March, up 0.7% due to external inflationary pressures amid a turnaround in global energy and commodity prices.
According to RHB, CPI is expected to end the year with a 1.2% growth compared to a -0.5% for the past two years.
RHB said this will be supported by four factors. For starters, the improving economic activities in tandem with ongoing expansion in export demand would likely give CPI a boost.
ABB, IBM team up on industrial artificial intelligence
[ZURICH] ABB has sealed a collaboration agreement with International Business Machines Corp, the Swiss engineering company said on Tuesday, the latest step in its efforts to ramp up its presence in digital technology and the internet of things.
Hong Kong regulator queries banks over US$200m Huishan Dairy loan: sources
[HONG KONG] Hong Kong's banking watchdog is questioning lenders over a US$200 million loan raised by China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co Ltd, sources involved in the matter told Reuters, as regulators try to unpick the group's tangled finances.
Toshiba to start taking bids in June for its Swiss unit Landis+Gyr: Kyodo
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Singapore’s GIC acquires Sydney student housing blocks in $302m deal
Shiwen Yap - GIC has bought the assets from Sekisui House and Frasers Property Australia.
The post Singapore’s GIC acquires Sydney student housing blocks in $302m deal appeared first on DealStreetAsia.
Seedly: 3 Crazy Facts About Singapore Student Debt Now
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China's hidden debt stirs investor angst as defaults rise
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SeedPlus closes $25 mil debut fund; Cisco and Fidelity to join as partners
PC Lee - SINGAPORE (April 25): SeedPlus, the seed stage venture fund, has closed SeedPlus Fund I after raising more than its $25 million investment target.
This comes after Cisco Investments, the investment arm of Cisco Systems, and Eight Roads Ventures, the investment arm of Fidelity International, today announced their investments in SeedPlus.
SeedPlus was launched by Jungle Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital firm, which counts SGInnovate, Accel Partners (India) and Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates, among its investors. IFC, a unit under the World Bank, also recently announced its participation with a US$2 million ($2.8 million) investment.
“The closing of the fund reinforces our confidence that investors see Asia as a dynamic region where entrepreneurship is flourishing and funding for startups will take them to the next level of growth,” says Pravan Malhotra, Head, Asia internet investments at IFC.
Supported by Google and PwC Singapore, SeedPlus is focused on investing in and helping build Asia’s most disruptive start-ups across software-as-a-service (SaaS), financial technology, artificial intelligence, cyber security and other emerging technology areas. SeedPlus invests up to $1 million in each startup in Asia.
Some recent examples include Moglix, an Indian B2B e-commerce platform specialising in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) industry, Mimetic.ai, a Singaporean technology startup responsible for creating Evie, an artificial intelligence (AI) scheduling assistant, and Homage, a Singapore-based startup that connects in-home caregivers with elderly people seeking assistance.
The fund is run by three operating partners — Michael Smith Jr, who was CTO at streaming service HOOQ, former Spotify product manager Gabriel Lundberg and Tiang Lim Foo, who led Evernote’s market development in Asia Pacific.
The firm also announced the joining of Chirayu Wadke as a partner leading IoT investments. Prior to this, Chirayu led strategic business development for a number of product areas at Google in Mountain View.
East Coast refiners eye Texas oil as North Dakota alternative
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Not an inside job: How two analysts became SEC whistleblowers
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Orthofix International NV...
Sina chief steers China's Twitter deeper into internet finance
[BEIJING] Sina Corp, the company behind what's commonly known as China's Twitter, is preparing to compete with the country's web giants in online lending as the mobile market starts to slow.
DBS to benefit the most from interest rate upcycle
Staff Reporter -
It has an advantage in S$-dominated loans.
Banking giant DBS could be the biggest beneficiary of interest rate upcycle given its advantage on Singapore dollar-denominated loans.
According to UOB KayHian, Singapore dollar-denominated loans account for 40.5% of total loans due to its Singapore dollar-CASA ratio at 89.5% (savings accounts: 71.5%, current accounts: 18%).
Toshiba to start taking bids in June for its Swiss unit Landis+Gyr
[TOKYO] Japan's Toshiba Corp will start taking bids for Landis+Gyr, its Swiss smart meter unit, as early as June, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.
Interpol-led operation uncovers more than 9,000 malware-hit servers in Asean
PC Lee - SINGAPORE (April 25): An Interpol-led operation targeting cybercrime across the Asean region has identified nearly 9,000 malware-infected Command and Control servers and hundreds of compromised websites, including government portals.
The threats posed by the 8,800 C2 servers found to be active across eight countries included various malware families including those targeting financial institutions, spreading ransomware, launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and distributing spam. Investigations into the C2 servers are ongoing.
Analysis also identified nearly 270 websites infected with a malware code which exploited a vulnerability in the website design application. Among them were several government websites which may have contained personal data of their citizens.
A number of phishing website operators were also identified, including one with links to Nigeria, with further investigations into other suspects still ongoing. One criminal based in Indonesia selling phishing kits via the Darknet had posted YouTube videos showing customers how to use the illicit software.
The operation, conducted out of the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore, brought together investigators from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to share information on specific cybercrime situations in each country. Additional cyber intelligence was also provided by China.
Experts from seven private sector companies - Trend Micro, Kaspersky Lab, Cyber Defense Institute, Booz Allen Hamilton, British Telecom, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks - also took part in pre-operational meetings in order to develop actionable information packages.
IGCI Executive Director Noboru Nakatani said the operation was a perfect example of how the public and private sectors can work efficiently together in combating cybercrime.
“With direct access to the information, expertise and capabilities of the private sector and specialists from the Cyber Fusion Centre, participants were able to fully appreciate the scale and scope of cybercrime actors across the region and in their countries,” said Nakatani.
“Sharing intelligence was the basis of the success of this operation, and such cooperation is vital for long term effectiveness in managing cooperation networks for both future operations and day to day activity in combating cybercrime,” added Nakatani.
The operation also highlighted the need for law enforcement to proactively investigate vulnerabilities exploited by cybercriminals, rather than waiting for reports from victims.
“The Singapore Police Force will continue to work closely with our Asean counterparts and the Interpol community to eradicate criminal activities in the cyberspace. We will spare no effort to track down cybercriminals who think that they can operate under the impunity of cross jurisdictions,” said Assistant Commissioner Cheng Khee Boon, Commander of SPF’s Cybercrime Command.
Identifying the different legislative requirements and regulations around the region was also an important aspect of the operation, providing participants with a greater knowledge and understanding of the avenues and restrictions in conducting enquiries.
For Wells Fargo directors, narrow wins may not be enough
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Looming risks subdue Asia stock investors after stellar quarter
Today - SINGAPORE - Investors' enthusiasm for Asian stocks is waning as a raft of political and economic risks takes the shine off the best first-quarter returns in 26 years. Graphic: http://reut.rs/2oFkb6A
That period of strong gains could put Asian...
Asia: Markets, euro build on gains as eyes move to Trump
[HONG KONG] Asian markets extended gains on Tuesday while the euro held up following Emmanuel Macron's first round presidential election win in France, with investors now looking forward to Donald Trump's promised tax reforms.
Low gearing leaves room for Mapletree Industrial Trust growth
Jude Chan - SINGAPORE (April 25): DBS Group Research is keeping its “buy” recommendation on Mapletree Industrial Trust (MINT) with an unchanged target price of $1.94.
This is on the back of “a steady DPU growth profile of 3-4% per annum, higher than its industrial peers,” says DBS lead analyst Derek Tan in a report on Tuesday.
The manager of MINT on Monday reported a 2.2% increase in FY17 distribution per unit to 11.39 cents.
This was mainly attributed to higher rental rates achieved across all property segments with initial contribution from Phase One of the build-to-suit (BTS) development for Hewlett-Packard Singapore.
(See: Mapletree Industrial Trust’s FY16/17 DPU rises 2.2% to 11.39 cents)
“The REIT offers high earnings visibility and we have confidence that the manager has the flexibility to execute on more developments to exploit its conservative balance sheet,” says Tan. “This implies potential upside to earnings.”
Mapletree Industrial Trust has a strong balance sheet with gearing at 29.2% – one of the lowest among Singapore industrial REITs.
“With the manager selective in their deployment and allocation of use of capital, we remain confident that deals, when announced, will be value accretive to unitholders,” says Tan.
While the analyst notes that MINT’s share price has done well in recent times, he believes the stock still offers an attractive total return of close to 15%.
“MINT’s resilience is a value trait in this market and has yet to be reflected in its current share price,” says Tan.
As at 11.34am, units of Mapletree Industrial Trust are trading 2 cents higher at $1.82.
Bleeding-edge test handler gives AEM order book boost
PC Lee - SINGAPORE (April 25): Maybank Kim Eng says AEM’s four-year joint R&D effort with a key US-listed client is paying off.
AEM is the manufacturer of equipment and precision components for the semiconductor, solar, smart card and other industries.
(See also: 3 things you probably didn’t know about AEM Holdings)
(See also: AEM gets CIMB coverage on restructuring and cutting-edge product)
The group has begun volume production for its patented High Density Modular Test (HDMT) handler in 2H16. This resulted from its partnership with the client which is one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers with more than US$170 billion ($237 billion) market cap.
As the sole supplier of the test handler, AEM’s order book surged about four-fold in six months to $152 million as at April 15. Against this backdrop, management has guided 9M17 ended Sept revenue and operating profit of $142 million and $17.5 million, and a dividend payout of not less than 25%.
Conventional handlers like AEM are set up for one test environment and are costly and time-consuming to reconfigure for other tests.
To improve efficiency, industry leader Intel is adopting the HDMT platform, which can achieve 2x cost reduction due to its ability to simultaneously support different test stages for multiple heterogenous test environments.
IT research firm Gartner projects that the number of connected devices will quadruple to 20.8 billion units by 2020, spurred by the proliferation of 5G network and IoT applications.
“The rising needs for mission critical chips from automotive, healthcare, logistics, telecom and other industries, as well as safety issues would also place greater emphasis on testing to ensure chip reliability,” says Maybank analyst Teh Kwong Yew in an unrated report for retail investors published today.
As its key client accounts for roughly 80% of group sales, AEM’s fortunes are closely tied to the client’s business performance as well as capital investment plans, says Teh.
However, the analyst warns that rapid technological advancement could also render its HDMT handler obsolete and threaten sales, given the group’s equipment segment, comprising test handlers and related consumables, contributed 92% of FY16 revenue.
AEM shares are up 31 cents at $1.88.
Keppel's Q1 earnings growth greatly underpinned by divestments
Staff Reporter -
But this cannot go on forever, analysts say.
Keppel Corporation's 24% increase in net profit to $260m was driven primarily by divestment gains, a report by UOB Kayhian said.
For instance, its property earnings were partly prevented from sinking further with the $29m gains recorded from the divestment of its 80% stake in a Surabaya company.
Meanwhile, the divestment of stake in GE Keppel Energy Services which is estimated at $4.5m contributed to the 129% growth in infrastructure net profit.
DBS: 3 SG Stocks To Consider When The US Strikes Syria
Raymond Leung - With the US military strike against Syria under protest of the Russians, how should investors position themselves to protect or gain from the rising geographic risks? In this article, several REITs and stocks are highlighted to help you in such situation.