The Week in Numbers: Apple Unveils 3 New iPhones
Apple Inc unveiled three new phones this week, the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. In anticipation of the latest product range, shares of Apple have soared to record high levels, making Apple the first trillion dollar company. The iPhone XS start from S$1,649, while the XS Max, which boasts a bigger screen at 6.5 inches compared to the 5.8-inch XS, starts at S$1,799. For those who are not willing to fork out so much money for a phone, the iPhone XR may be a better fit as it has the same features but comes with a cheaper 6.1-inch LCD screen that has less contrast and dynamic range. It is priced at S$1,299 for the 32GB version.
The Trump administration has invited Chinese officials to restart trade negotiations This comes as the United States prepare to implement a further tariff on US$200 billion (S$274 billion) worth of Chinese imports. Mid-level US and Chinese officials met late last month with no agreements. So far, the United States and China have imposed tariffs on US$50 billion worth of imported goods on each other. US business groups are trying to put political pressure on the Trump’s administration to seek alternative measures than tariffs, which will likely have a detrimental effect on companies and consumers.
Negative investor sentiment have led the benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific Index to fall for the tenth consecutive day on Wednesday, extending its recent decline to about 5%. Year-to-date, the index has lost US$700 billion in market capitalisation. Spillover impact from emerging market crisis from Turkey and Indonesia, trade uncertainty and the strength of the US dollar could all be factors for the poor performance in Asia.
The local market was not spared as the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) fell to an 18-month low on Tuesday to 3,109.91. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index sank to its lowest in more than a year, while the Shanghai Composite Index was at a 31-month low.
Meanwhile, retail sales in Singapore fell 2.6% year-on-year in July. This was the first decline in three months. A 15.2% dip in motor vehicle sales was the main culprit. Sales at food retailers dropped 5.4%, supermarket and hypermarket sales fell 3%, department stores sales declined 4.6% and sales of computer and telecommunications equipment fell 6%. In total, the estimated retail sales value for July was S$3.7 billion, with online sales making up 4.4%.
The cryptocurrency market has plummeted to a fresh 10-month low as Bitcoin’s biggest rival, Ether, slumped 8.9% last Friday. The total market cap of digital assets tracked by CoinMarketCap.com has shrunk to US$197 billion (S$272 billion), down by around US$640 billion from its peak in January.
Oxford Economics have identified the four countries with the riskiest housing markets. They are Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and Sweden. Adam Slate, lead economist at Oxford, said that all four have elevated valuations, long housing booms, high debt levels and a significant share of floating rate debt. The table below shows the rise in prices over five years, and housing debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).
Source: Author’s compilation of data from Bloomberg
Prices in the four countries have run up by at least 28% over the past five years and housing debt as a percentage of GDP is 70% or more in Sweden, Canada and Australia.