Abhisit optimistic, says his party is gaining momentum
(BANGKOK) Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said his ruling Democrat party, trailing in polls, is ‘gathering momentum’ ahead of a July 3 election.
Aussie mining sector 83% foreign-owned: study
(SYDNEY) Australia’s mining industry – the main driver of its booming economy – is 83 per cent foreign-owned and huge profits go overseas, according to a study released yesterday by the Greens party.
Asians more averse to borrowing: poll
(HONG KONG) Asians are becoming increasingly averse to borrowing and now prefer local banks since the global financial crisis battered confidence in international lenders, a study showed yesterday.
Air India pilots allege safety risks
(NEW DELHI) Air India, India’s unprofitable national carrier, is using ‘coercion and fear’ to compel pilots to fly long hours and while ill, an Indian pilots’ union claims.
Air France liable if destination not reached
(LUXEMBOURG) Air France SA should be liable to pay compensation to passengers booked on any flight that fails to bring them to their destination, an adviser to the European Union’s highest court said in a case that could affect airlines across the region.
FAA seeks US$1m penalty from Boeing
(NEW YORK) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is pursuing a penalty of more than US$1 million against Boeing Co because it says that the airplane maker did not follow its own instructions for installing oxygen systems on the B777.
Making a Blaast in the mobile phone market
FINNISH startup, Blaast, wants to be exactly that in the mobile world. It plans to shake up the concept of smartphones and rich apps, bringing the ‘iPhone experience’ to the humble feature phone.
Skill levels hampering network security
IN a bid to keep cyber networks safe, Singapore has implemented the best practices in testing but inconsistency in the skill levels of the people delivering the service remains a worry, according to an industry watcher.
Google unveils social networking service
(WASHINGTON) Google, the king of Internet search, but a bust on the social front, launched its rival to Facebook on Tuesday, a social networking service called Google+.
Casual social gamers to drive developer industry’s growth
(SINGAPORE) More virtual livestock looks set to be traded and petulant fowl hurled at targets as social gaming takes hold in the booming mobile-phone market, industry experts say.
Mindef to let users guide new features for portal
WITH over half a million e-service transactions made with the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) each month, one could say local soldiers are certainly plugged into technology.
Accel, Khosla back RockMelt
(SAN FRANCISCO) RockMelt, a Web browser that integrates Facebook and other social media, reeled in two more Silicon Valley heavy hitters in a new US$30 million round of financing.
China inflation ‘likely chronic’
(BEIJING) China’s inflation, already at an almost three-year high, is ‘most likely chronic’ and will remain a problem over the next decade, Li Daokui, an academic adviser to the People’s Bank of China said.
BYD profit slumps 84.4% in Q1
(BEIJING) Chinese carmaker BYD faces a weak outlook after it reported an 84.4 per cent drop in quarterly earnings on a steep slowdown in the world’s biggest car market. The company’s second-quarter outlook remains dim as BYD’s battery, handset component and assembly businesses are also showing signs of weakness, analysts say. The figures were reported using Chinese accounting standards.
Japan Land bows out today without exit offer
IT built the largest data centre in Singapore, and possibly the region, and was coveted enough to be the target of a high-profile takeover bid by tycoon Oei Hong Leong.
Portek’s dalliance with mystery suitor heats up
PORTEK International, the target of an acquisition bid by International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI), might be making some headway with another party that is interested in it, BT understands.
SGX did not give enough time: GenMag
GENERAL Magnetics yesterday pointed its finger at the Singapore Exchange (SGX) for the predicament that its minority shareholders now face, alleging that the exchange did not give the multimedia products firm sufficient time to make a reasonable exit offer before delisting the company.
Fillip for local banks from rule changes
CHANGES in banking rules worldwide are likely to give local banks in each country an advantage over foreign banks, OCBC Bank chief executive David Conner said yesterday.
DBS to tap S’pore- China currency swap facility
DBS Bank has applied to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to tap the bilateral currency swap agreement established between the central banks of Singapore and China.
SIA will lease 15 more A330-300s
(SINGAPORE) Singapore Airlines (SIA) is leasing 15 additional A330-300 aircraft from the world’s largest plane-maker Airbus, with plans to deploy the new planes on routes within Asia as well as to Australia and the Middle East.
Viking cuts stake in United Envirotech
VIKING Offshore and Marine is no longer a substantial shareholder of United Envirotech Ltd (UEL) after it sold 32 million shares in the wastewater treatment company for $9.66 million, lowering its stake to 4.48 per cent from 11.19 per cent.
Keppel’s Brazil unit bags 2 contracts
KEPPEL Offshore & Marine’s new shipyard in Brazil – Keppel Singmarine Brasil (KSM Brasil) – has won two newbuild contracts worth about $140 million from fleet operators in Brazil.
Petition seeks share buyout from Full Apex at fair value
FULL Apex Holdings is facing pressure from some unnamed shareholders to buy up their shares at an independent valuation price.
SMX eyes Q4 launch of iron ore, coal futures
(SINGAPORE) The Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX) could launch new futures contracts in iron ore and coal in the fourth quarter of the year, the new head of the exchange said yesterday.
BH Global Marine Ltd said that its subsidiary, PT BH Marine & Offshore Engineering (PTE), has signed a $15 million electrical and fabrication contract with a major Indonesia oil company.
Change in perception can be costly too
SOME may see it as just a matter of accounting treatment but a potential change in accounting standards relating to the classification of leases
Japan reports highest monthly rise in factory output in 58 yrs
JAPAN’S industrial output rose by a larger-than-expected 5.7 per cent in May compared with April, registering its highest monthly gain since 1953.
S Korea aims to avoid household debt crisis
(SEOUL) South Korea said it would require banks to raise risk weightings in their capital ratios for heavy borrowers as part of measures announced yesterday to prevent heavy household debts from causing a fresh financial crisis.
Canada adds funerals to inflation basket
(OTTAWA) The cost of funerals, smartphones and retail club memberships will be reflected in Canada’s main inflation index for the first time as Statistics Canada adjusts the measure to reflect changing consumer habits.
A ballpark view to entice downtown living
(FORT WAYNE, Indiana) One of the quirks that endears Wrigley Field in Chicago to baseball fans is the rooftop view from houses on Waveland Avenue beyond left field. Now, developers in this city are hoping to bottle a little of that magic as part of an ambitious downtown renovation plan.
UAE developers see market boost from new visa regulations
(DUBAI) A decision to extend visa tenures for real estate investors will ‘significantly’ boost investor confidence in the United Arab Emirates’ struggling property sector, the head of the country’s largest developer said.
Australian commercial property sales soar in Q2: CBRE
(SYDNEY) Australian commercial property sales in the second quarter soared by more than four times the value of transactions in the previous three months, when natural disasters dampened activity, real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said.
England’s Brighton Pier is up for sale
(LONDON) Brighton Pier, a landmark in the English resort that’s attracted visitors including Greta Garbo and Winston Churchill since opening in 1899, was put on the market for an undisclosed price by the leisure and amusement- arcade operator that owns it.
Shui On plans 8b yuan Shanghai development
(SHANGHAI) Shui On Land Ltd will spend about eight billion yuan (S$1.5 billion) to develop an office and restaurant precinct under its Xintiandi brand near Shanghai’s smaller airport and high-speed rail station.
Swire stock jumps on property sale talks
(HONG KONG) Swire Pacific Ltd, a Hong Kong office and shopping mall landlord, posted its biggest gain in almost six months after saying it is in talks to sell a ‘significant’ property.
Tuas View Square industrial site sold for $7.3m by tender
THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) tender for a 45-year leasehold industrial site in Tuas View Square closed yesterday with SCB Terraform Pte Ltd placing the highest bid of $7.33 million or $174 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).
Advertising guidelines for property sales
THE Council for Estate Agents (CEA) issued two practice guidelines yesterday – one in the form of an instruction manual that explains and guides the use of prescribed estate agency agreements for residential transactions, and the other on ethical advertising within the real estate agency industry.
Ascendas launches Spacetobe, its first mobile app
BUSINESS space provider Ascendas launched yesterday its first mobile application, Spacetobe, which will allow comprehensive access to more than 90 properties across Asia from mobile devices.
Speculation heats up over RBI governor post
(NEW DELHI) With Reserve Bank of India governor Duvvuri Subbarao’s three-year term due to end in September, speculation is heating up over who will replace him if, as many in the market and government predict, his term is not extended.
Singh dismisses ‘lame duck’ criticisms
(NEW DELHI) India’s cornered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday brushed aside widespread criticism that he was a ‘lame duck’ leader presiding over a government mired in graft and policy paralysis, but offered little in the way of policy steps that he would take up.
Bumi listing brings Indonesia’s Bakries to London
(LONDON) Shares in Bumi plc, the mining venture founded by Nat Rothschild, listed under their new name on Tuesday, giving Indonesia’s Bakrie family a foothold in London and rekindling debate on the governance of premium-listed firms.
Low freight rates are ‘unsustainable’: Maersk
THE low freight rates that the container shipping industry has been seeing of late are ‘unsustainable’, Eivind Kolding, Maersk Line’s CEO, told BT yesterday during his visit to Singapore.
Brazil’s govt, firms to invest US$18b in ports
(RIO DE JANEIRO) Brazil’s government and companies will invest US$18 billion in ports by 2013 to boost cargo-handling capacity as demand surges for the country’s iron ore, agriculture and oil shipments, Secretary of Ports Mario Lima said.
S Korea unveils cost-cutting mobile harbour
(BUSAN, South Korea) South Korean researchers yesterday showcased an invention which they claim could transform the shipping industry – a harbour which goes out to a ship.
Banks, Jardine group lead gains
THE Straits Times Index (STI) rose 28.95 points to 3,079.74 yesterday in response to a firm opening in Europe and hopes that Wall Street would be able to extend its recent rebound.
Lim calls for liberalisation of trade in services
TRADE and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang has called on countries to tap the vast potential of the services sector as a key source of growth in the coming years.
British tax authorities lawsuit goes ahead
THE Revenue and Customs Service in Britain scored a major legal victory in Singapore that could bring it closer to recovering about S$84 million from two Singaporean businessmen mired in an alleged tax scam.
Firms urged to raise quality, standards of products & services
IMPROVING quality and standards could be a key business strategy to increase productivity and confidence in Singapore’s products and services.
Family of late Afro-Asia founder in court over will
THE family of Tan Kiam Toen, the late founder of Afro-Asia Shipping Co, are locked in a bitter dispute over assets that he and his wife willed to charities in Singapore, Hong Kong and China instead of to their children.
Income inequality a key priority for new IPS head
STUDYING the problem of income inequality would be a key priority for the new director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Janadas Devan.
Only 53% of Asian family firms have CSR policy: survey
WHILE family businesses in Asia are engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, not enough is being done to integrate it into their business strategies.
Asia ‘may well replace US as top medtech innovator’
ASIA may well replace the United States as the centre of innovation for medical technology, said Thomas Fogarty, the father of minimally invasive surgery.
Editor’s note (PDF)
BY now there is little dispute that growth of the economies of Asia and the emerging markets will outstrip ? and is already outstripping ? that of mature markets such as the US and Europe.
Still heading north (PDF)
COMMODITIES have made double-digit gains over the first quarter, boosted by a supportive macro environment.
A jump then a tumble (PDF)
IN our recent monthly publication to clients, we talked about four “mad” ideas for 2030 and their investment implications.
It pays to go green (PDF)
SOCIALLY responsible investment (SRI) has come of age.
Back in favour (PDF)
JUST as alternative investments were inching into the mainstream, the financial crisis came along and prompted a rethink among the institutional investors who had till then been raising their allocations in anything from hedge funds to water, solar energy and wine.
Going global (PDF)
GLOBAL macro managers benefit from having the least restrictive and most flexible mandate among major alternative investment strategies.
The case for capital controls (PDF)
MAJOR financial crises since the 1990s have been marked by tremendous flows of capital across financial jurisdictions.
Aiming for the winners (PDF)
Five analysts give their views on the most promising investment themes for the short to medium term and how investors can position themselves to maximise returns
Overweight gold (PDF)
GOLD has always invoked a range of emotions in consumers and investors alike.
Sow and reap (PDF)
RECENTLY, the World Bank said that the world is “one shock away from a full-blown crisis”.
Tactical moves (PDF)
FOR both retail and institutional forex investors, the liberalisation of the offshore yuan market, specifically in Hong Kong, has undoubtedly been one of the more recent and significant developments to watch.
Broadening appeal (PDF)
IN September 2008, I had the pleasure of contributing an article to The Business Times on the subject of how the wealthy use life insurance and trusts to protect and enhance their estate and legacy for future generations.
Hot beauties, great returns (PDF)
THE international art market is worth over a staggering US$3 trillion and has an annual turnover of US$50 billion.
Constructing solutions (PDF)
IF “engage” and “connect” were the two noteworthy tags in the recent General Election, they are also two serviceable verbs for the current state of philanthropy practice in Singapore.
Why Australia? (PDF)
SINGAPORE was the fastest growing economy in the world last year, riding on a very strong momentum of economic growth over the past five years.
London holds its own (PDF)
LONDON continues to attract the attention of Asian high net worth individuals (HNWIs) despite the fact that Asian residential real estate has outperformed over the past five years.
Pick and choose (PDF)
LOW interest rates are not the only thing working in home buyers’ favour these days.
Profit margins for DBSS developers ‘look high’
(SINGAPORE) Developers can make gross profit margins of up to 76 per cent from the public housing projects they develop under HDB’s design, build and sell scheme (DBSS), data compiled by BT shows.
Greek lawmakers approve austerity plan
(ATHENS) Greece’s Parliament has approved deeply unpopular austerity measures despite worsening violence yesterday, in a vote vital towards securing international funds and preventing the eurozone’s first sovereign default.
Tharman eager to work with Lagarde at IMF
(SINGAPORE) Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is eager to work with new International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde to address immediate threats to financial stability and contain potential repercussions to the global economy.
A letter to the Greeks: say no to no
Bank shares rise, shrugging off MAS rules
(SINGAPORE) Shares of the three local banks rose on the stock market yesterday, unaffected by news of tougher capital adequacy rules to come in Singapore.
Singapore firms ink slew of MOUs, pacts in Guangzhou
(SINGAPORE) Several memoranda of understanding (MOU) and agreements involving Singapore companies were inked yesterday in Guangzhou where the third Singapore-Guangdong Collaboration Council (SGCC) meeting was convened.
Business sentiment over Iskandar gets a big boost
IF there is one immediate tangible arising from Khazanah Nasional and Temasek Holdings’ joint statement of intent on Iskandar Malaysia, it is in the confidence department.
AirAsia boss shows sky is the limit if one wants to be on top
(SINGAPORE) Tony Fernandes may not yet be Asia’s version of Richard Branson, but the founder and boss of AirAsia sure knows how to put up a show.
Few ultra-rich Asians protecting wealth in a structured way: UBS
(SINGAPORE) They may be very rich but time is one thing that even the wealthiest Asians cannot buy, and it seems to be why securing the future for the grandchildren is not a priority, a survey has found.
DEVELOPERS can make gross profit margins of up to 76 per cent from the public housing projects they develop under the HDB’s design, build and sell scheme, data compiled by BT shows.
Gender quotas won’t help business
ON Monday, Prime Minister Najib Razak said the Malaysian Cabinet had decided that the private sector should allocate at least 30 per cent of all decision-making positions to women.
Will monetary system reform be Lagarde’s agenda?
FRENCH Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been confirmed as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn who quit last month in ‘unusual’ circumstances.
Can food prices be stabilised?
UNDER French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s leadership, the G-20 has made addressing food price volatility a top priority this year, with member states’ agriculture ministers meeting recently in Paris to come up with solutions.
The economics of sustainability
EVEN if the worst is already over, the Fukushima nuclear incident, one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history, will have enormous and long-lasting impact.
Making Greek play less tragic
INVESTORS fixated on the possibility that a Greek default would deliver a shock akin to the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008 may want to consider another analogy.
Online learning: Global opportunity for change
THE Web and mobile connectivity have been undisputable agents of change across a range of industries, bringing our global economy closer together and providing opportunity for business to thrive where it would previously be impossible.
ST ENGINEERING’s (STE) electronics arm – ST Electronics (STEL) – has secured contracts worth around $58 million for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and Info-Security (IS) projects as orders continue to flow in.
Euro rises as Greece passes first vote
(NEW YORK) The euro rose against the US dollar yesterday after Greece’s Parliament approved austerity measures needed to avoid a default, though concern over whether the government can implement them could limit gains.
Los Alamos nuclear lab under siege from wildfire
(LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico) A wildfire near the desert birthplace of the atomic bomb advanced on the Los Alamos laboratory and thousands of outdoor drums of plutonium-contaminated waste as authorities stepped up efforts to protect the site and monitor the air for radiation.
Sentence too harsh, says Madoff
(NEW YORK) Bernard Madoff, sentenced to 150 years in jail for the biggest financial scam in US history, on Tuesday said the judge in his case had made him a ‘human pinata’ and passed an overly harsh sentence.
Russia cuts off electricity to crisis-hit Belarus
(MOSCOW) Russia cut electricity supplies to Belarus yesterday over US$43 million in unpaid debts, upping pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko who is grappling with one of the worst economic crises of his 17-year rule.
BOA to settle bad mortgages for US$8.5b
(NEW YORK) Bank of America Corp, the biggest US bank, agreed to pay US$8.5 billion to resolve claims over soured mortgages after bondholders including BlackRock Inc demanded refunds.
Lack of specialists hits mining in Canada
(MONTREAL) A shortage of mining specialists in Canada is hobbling the industry at a time when emerging giants India and China are pushing demand for ores and precious metals to record highs, experts say.
Ferragamo shines in Milan debut
(MILAN) Shares of Italian luxury shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo rose in their first day of trading yesterday, defying expectations for a muted debut.
Billionaires team up to back Carrefour
(RIO DE JANEIRO) An alliance between two Brazilian billionaires and their nation’s government may help Carrefour SA fend off competition from Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA in the world’s second-biggest emerging market.
Compromise unblocks American trade deals
(WASHINGTON) The White House and top lawmakers have finally reached a deal to allow long-stalled trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to move ahead in Congress, officials said on Tuesday.
Tough lady for a tough job
CHRISTINE Lagarde’s appointment as the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) comes as little surprise even though she is the first woman to ever head the body.
Pending home resales up 8.2% in May
(WASHINGTON) More Americans than forecast signed contracts last month to buy previously owned homes, signalling the residential property market may be rebounding from a slump earlier in the year.
Morgan Stanley burnt on US inflation wager
(NEW YORK) Morgan Stanley, the firm targeting a 2 per cent market-share gain in fixed-income trading this year, was burned by a wager on US inflation expectations in the second quarter, three people informed of the dealings said.
Deutsche Boerse, NYSE seek EU nod for merger
(BRUSSELS) Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext yesterday requested the European Union’s approval of their merger, kicking off what is expected to be a lengthy probe of the potential threats to competition from the combination of the two stock exchanges.
(SINGAPORE) People appear dwarfed by the structure of ‘Supertrees’ seen against the skyline near Marina Bay Sands.