Singapore Exchange Q4 Net Profit Falls 12%; Sees Trading Volume Recovery
Singapore. Singapore Exchange said on Thursday its net profit fell 12 percent in the fiscal fourth quarter as a result of its struggling securities business, but said it expects share trading volumes to recover.
In a statement after trading hours on Thursday, SGX reported
a net profit for the quarter ended June of S$77.4 million ($62.1 million), down from S$87.6 million in the same period a year earlier. The result was just ahead of the S$75.7 million average forecast of six analysts polled by Reuters.
?We expect our securities business to recover from a tough FY2014 as volatility normalizes from the lows we had experienced in the past year,? the exchange said in its statement.
SGX, Asia?s third-largest listed bourse by market value, saw a 23 percent fall in the average daily value of shares traded on its market in the latest fiscal year compared to the previous one.
Shares in the bourse are down 2.5 percent so far this year.
Londoners Cashing In Flee to Suburbs as Rally Wanes
[caption id="attachment_310874" align="aligncenter" width="780"] A man walks past the signage of a new property development advertising apartments in central London on July 2, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Luke MacGregor)[/caption]
For equity-derivatives broker Andrew Adamson, it was a trade too good to pass up.
In October, he was offered 1,000 pounds ($1,700) per square foot for his London townhouse. Other homes in the area were going for about 30 percent less. Adamson accepted it immediately.
London?s housing market, having outperformed the rest of Britain with price gains of more than 50 percent in five years, is cooling as owners like Adamson cash out. They?re leaving the city for less costly suburban and country homes because they expect mortgage rates to rise and new lending rules to damp prices. London estate agents had the largest increase in instructions to sell homes in Britain in June and the biggest drop in people seeking to buy them, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
?Now is the time people are cashing in,? said Adamson, 46, who used the 2 million pounds he raised from the sale to buy a country manor in Hampshire, southern England, for 400,000 pounds less. ?I caught it before everybody else started talking about it. As soon as everybody starts talking about it you?ve missed the best deal.?
There?s never been a stronger financial incentive for Londoners to leave the city. The average price gap between homes within the M25 motorway that encircles London and the rest of England was about 265,000 pounds as of June, the widest on record, according to data compiled by broker Hamptons International.
A growing number of people are exploiting that price difference. Londoners purchased 75 percent more properties outside the capital than a year earlier, bringing the total for the 12 months through May to 44,000 properties with a combined value of 15 billion pounds, Hamptons estimates. Both numbers are the highest since 2007.
?There?s an opportunity to take advantage of a nice bull run? in London prices since 2009, said Adam Challis, head of residential research at Jones Lang LaSalle in London. ?The next real strength in terms of pricing is clearly in suburban locations and into the commuter belt, where there?s still quite a lot of heat in the market.?
London house prices stagnated in July compared with the prior month, the first time there?s been no growth since December 2012, according to a survey of real estate surveyors published by Hometrack on July 25. The group expects home values in the city to fall during the months ahead, the results showed.
?If you want to crystallize your gains, this is no bad point,? said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney last month announced a loan-to-income cap and an affordability test in an effort to rein in runaway prices. Starting in October, no more than 15 percent of mortgages granted by British lenders should amount to 4.5 times the borrowers? income. Additionally, homebuyers will have to prove they can afford to repay their loans if interest rates increase.
The BOE should be ready to further tighten these curbs and may need to consider raising rates if the moves fail to control housing market risks, the International Monetary Fund said on July 28.
The size of household debts supports the case for ?gradual and limited? rate increases after the housing market turned out weaker than the central bank forecast, BOE deputy governor Ben Broadbent said in an interview on Wednesday.
Thirty-four percent of economists say the BOE will raise the benchmark rate from a record low 0.5 percent by December, up from 12 percent in early June, a Bloomberg survey of 50 economists shows.
The BOE measures have ?made people think, ?Wait a minute, prices have gone up heftily already, perhaps we don?t need to chase them upward further,?? Rubinsohn said.
Asking prices for London properties declined for a second month in July as more homes were offered for sale, according to Rightmove. The decline was led by three districts: Islington, Wandsworth and Kingston. Prices in each fell by an average of almost 4 percent in the month.
?It?s as if someone had flicked a light switch,? Johnny Morris, head of research at Hamptons, said. ?There are a number of new worries, including higher borrowing costs and mortgage regulations.?
For Adamson, moving from central London to the Hampshire village of Catherington was also a lifestyle choice. His commute by rail to London?s Waterloo station takes about an hour. And within 15 minutes of his new home, he can kite-surf in the English Channel.
?It?s about the quality of life,? said Adamson. ?I can even see the Isle of Wight.?
Adamson?s 650 square-meter house (7,000 square-foot) has a lake, an orchard ? and a history. The house was built in 1296 and, in 1651, Charles II took shelter there during his escape to France, according to broker Chesterton Humberts.
An increase in demand for luxury country homes in England has caused prices to rise for six straight quarters, according to data compiled by Knight Frank. The market is expected to outperform the capital in the months ahead, said James Grillo, a director at Chesterton Humberts? Chelsea office.
?It has now become an economic imperative to sell in the capital and move to the country,? Grillo said.
The luxury market in central London was the first to show signs that the city?s residential housing may be cooling. The total value of homes selling for more than 10 million pounds declined by 1.5 percent during the second quarter, Savills said earlier this month. Those valued from 5 million to 10 million pounds dropped 1.8 percent.
The slowdown in price gains and the prospect of realizing profit tied up in London homes could tempt wealthy foreigners to head elsewhere, economists say. Those who bought homes in the priciest districts of town in dollars, rubles, rupees or riyals during 2009 would double their money if they sold on Thursday, Hamptons? Morris said.
?With the prospect of increasing interest rates, and resultant strengthening of the pounds, the temptation for overseas investors to cash in is getting bigger,? Morris said.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is adding a capital-gains tax next year on homes sold by people living abroad after raising a transaction tax to 7 percent from 5 percent for properties priced at more than 2 million pounds in 2012.
?The countryside market is going to go up,? Adamson said. ?We bought this for 1.6 million, we?ve done nothing major to it, and we just had it valued at 2.15 million.?
Singapore Risks Business Credibility With Foreign Labor Restrictions
[caption id="attachment_246417" align="aligncenter" width="780"] South Asian workers play a cricket game on the field next to Little India district in Singapore on December 15, 2013. (AFP Photo)[/caption]
Singapore. Singapore risks tarnishing its business-friendly reputation by implementing new labor laws that require companies to prioritize hiring locals over foreigners for middle income jobs, analysts say.
From Friday, large and medium-sized companies looking to hire workers with a monthly salary below S$12,000 ($9,700) must advertise the positions on a government-run online job database that only Singapore citizens and permanent residents can apply through.
The job must stay open to locals for two weeks before the company is allowed to seek foreign candidates.
Many multinational corporations, from Google and Microsoft to Procter & Gamble and BP, use Singapore as their regional headquarters, attracted by the city state?s political and economic stability, low taxes and ability to attract talent from across Asia and the world.
Foreigners make up around 38 percent of Singapore?s 3.4 million strong workforce and the new rules are the latest in a series of government measures aimed at easing locals? worries about the growing presence of foreigners on the tiny island.
Concerns about jobs were one of the most prominent issues raised by voters at the 2011 general election, which was the most contested since Singapore?s independence. The ruling People?s Action Party share of the vote also slipped to around 60 percent from 67 percent in the previous election.
Economists said the foreign labour restrictions could tarnish the city-state?s reputation as an open and free economy.
?There is a risk that Singapore might slide down the scale in terms of how open it is,? said Chua Hak Bin, head of emerging Asia economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Singapore.
Ten of 12 recruitment agencies polled by Reuters said filling vacancies has become tougher in the past year, a trend set to continue.
?Singapore?s very strict policy when it comes to hiring foreigners will further exacerbate the skills shortage in Singapore,? said Chris Mead, regional director at recruitment agency Hays.
Several recruiters say they expect a rise in companies moving certain departments offshore, with IT and manufacturing the most likely sectors to be affected.
Credit Suisse has already moved some back-office jobs from Singapore to India and Poland, while Deutsche Bank said in early 2013 that it was considering moving more than 8,000 staff from offices in New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore to lower-cost locations.
The aviation industry is also struggling with labour shortages and higher hiring costs. ?Manpower costs you today in Singapore,? said Barathan Pasupathi, CEO of budget airline Jetstar Asia.
Youth Leaders Sharpen Skills for Fight against Tobacco
It's within our reach to create the first tobacco-free generation.
But we can't do it without the involvement of youth.
Last week, we welcomed more than 30 youth activists from across the country to Washington, DC, for our 11th Youth Advocacy Symposium — a series of skill-building workshops on leadership, advocacy and communications.
Despite Outrage, Philip Morris International Expands Global ?Be Marlboro? Cam...
Despite international media criticism and widespread calls from public health groups and government officials to end its "Be Marlboro" marketing campaign, Philip Morris International is doubling down and expanding its youth-oriented campaign around the globe.
A March 2014 report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups exposed how the campaign uses themes and images sure to appeal to youth. With the slogan "Don’t be a Maybe. Be Marlboro," the ads feature images of attractive young people falling in love, playing music, partying, and taking risks.
WHO: Smoking Increases Risk of Dementia
The U.S. Surgeon General and other public health authorities around the world have found that smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body and harms health at every stage of life. Yet we are continually learning new ways in which smoking harms health.
In the latest example, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer’s Disease International are reporting, based on a review of scientific studies, that smokers have a 45 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to non-smokers. “It is estimated that 14% of [Alzheimer’s disease] cases worldwide are potentially attributable to smoking,” the organizations write in a short report summarizing the scientific evidence.
400 killed in traffic accidents during this Idul Fitri, say police
National Police have announced that 400 people have died in traffic accidents
nationwide during this year?s Idul Fitri holiday from July 22 to 30.
Dolly supporters report police to Komnas HAM
residents supporting Surabaya?s Dolly area, which is deemed Southeast
Asia's largest red-light district, have reported the local police to the
National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) over alleged repressive actions
taken against residents during a clash after Dolly?s closure on July 27.
Ministry yet to shut down ISIS video
The Communications and Information Ministry has yet to block
a video on YouTube depicting Indonesian nationals encouraging others to join the
militant group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) because
there has been no formal complaint from the public.