Category: SG Stocks And Shares

Thank you! Copy My Trades is now CLOSED

What a pleasant surprise after i posted the previous post 24 hours ago.I have received quite a number of responses and accepted 15 of them for a start. Ranging from $500 to S$10k.And for that I have some points I would like to clarify again:This will b…

Copy my trades and WIN together!

After trading for coming to a year, I am looking to grow and expand. With proven results, I cannot say I am the best but this is a humble and stable beginning.5% profits every month over a period of 11months.It is ok if you cannot trade profitably. Cop…

Retail Market Monitor: Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Equities in Asia were higher in early Tuesday trade following the global relief rally after the first round of France’s presidential election stoked a relief rally, though regional investors are keeping a close eye on the Korean Peninsula.

Personally i have missed out on DBS, which went to a low of 18.66+, and now 19.170.

I have comfort delgro at 2.55+ previously, probably will sell some now to lock in some profits. Chart wise looks possible to reach 2.90 over time.

Singpost seems to be in consolidation, and Singtel and SGX looks to be on the lower side of the trading range.

Stocks to watch:
*Hutchison Port Trust: 1Q17 net profit plunged 70% to HK$166.9m, accounting for just 13% of full year forecast in the absence of a HK$430m government rebate. Excluding the one-off rent and rates refund, earnings would have dropped 15.7%. Revenue fell 6.3% to HK$2.58b on weaker container throughput at Yantian terminals (-1.4%) as well as lower revenue per TEU from its HK and Shenzhen ports due to concessions offered to certain liners and depreciation of the yuan. Bottom line was also hurt by a jump in finance costs (+15%) from higher interest rates. NAV/unit dipped 3.2% q/q to HK$4.59.

*Mapletree Industrial Trust: 4QFY17 DPU of 2.88¢ (+2.5%) brought full year DPU to 11.39¢ (+2.2%), slightly ahead of estimates. Quarter gross revenue and NPI climbed 4.5% and 6.4% to $87.8m and $66m, respectively, on higher rentals, new contribution from Phase 1 of the HP BTS property and lower maintenance expenses and marketing commission. Occupancy rose 1ppt q/q to 93.1%, while aggregate leverage held steady at 29.2% (-0.25ppt q/q). NAV/unit at $1.41. MKE last had a Buy with TP of $2.00.

*Frasers Centrepoint Trust: 2QFY17 DPU held steady at 3.04¢, in line with estimates, but both revenue and NPI fell to $45.7m (-2.9%) and $32.6m (-3.3%) from the loss of revenue from Northpoint due to ongoing AEI works. Occupancy fell to 87.2% (-4.1% q/q) with WALE of 1.7 years, while aggregate leverage fell 0.3ppt to 29.4%. NAV/unit at $1.93.

*ParkwayLife REIT: 1Q16 DPU of 3.28¢ (+9.6%) was in line and included a 0.22¢ capital distribution on divestment gains. Gross revenue inched up 0.2% to $26.9m, while NPI stayed flat at $25.1m, as contribution from one nursing home acquired on Mar ’16, higher rent from the Singapore properties and JPY appreciation was offset by the absence of contribution from four divested Japan properties in Dec ’16. Aggregate leverage rose to 37.6% (+1.3ppts q/q). NAV/unit at $1.72.

*Cambridge Industrial Trust: 1Q17 DPU of 1.004¢ (-9.7%) was dragged by the absence of capital distribution and cash payment of management fees but remained on track with estimates. Gross revenue of $27.7m (-2.2%) and NPI of $19.7m (-8.4%) slipped amid the transition from single-tenanted to multi-tenanted properties and higher conversion costs. Occupancy inched 0.7ppts q/q higher to 95.4%, while aggregate leverage ticked up 0.3ppts to 37.8%. NAV/unit at $0.634.

*AEM: 1Q17 net profit of $4.1m (1Q16: $0.2m) overshot the street’s sole estimate as revenue soared more than three-fold to $42.1m from increased sales of the latest generation HDMT test handlers and related consumables. Gross margin contracted 12.7ppt to 28.2% on a shift in sales mix, but is anticipated to improve when higher-margin consumables pick up. Management guided 9M17 revenue and pretax profit of $142m and $17.5m, respectively. Based on FY16 tax rate of 22%, AEM is trading at an implied 9M17 annualised P/E of 5.6x..

*Soilbuild Construction: 1Q17 net profit dived 90.7% to $0.4m, as revenue of $66.6m (-35%) was weighed by lower recognition from ongoing projects, while recently-secured projects are still at preparation stages. Gross profit margin slumped to 4% (-3.1ppts) from a higher mix of lower-margin HDB projects and increased construction costs. Order book grew to $493.6m (4Q16: $385.7m). NAV/share at $0.147.

*Cheung Woh: Swung to a 4QFY17 net loss of $1.8m (4QFY16: $2.6m profit), as revenue tumbled to $21.1m (-16.3%) on slower sales of HDD components. Gross margin collapsed to 0.6% (4QFY16: 19.4%) as operating costs remained sticky, while bottom line was further dragged by an absence of a $1m tax credit. Final DPS slashed to 0.1¢ (4QFY16: 0.75¢), bringing full-year payout to 0.4¢ (FY16: 1.25¢). NAV/share at $0.3597.

*Citic Envirotech: 90:10 JV with Xinji county government for a Rmb204m project to operate an existing 66,000 m3/day wastewater treatment plant in Xinji City, China. The project will include the construction of a separate 34,000 m3/day BOT wastewater treatment plant, with works scheduled between Jul ’17 and Mar ’18, which will have a 30-year minimum offtake service agreement with the local government. Separately, group was also awarded a Rmb230m BOT project for a 90,000 m3/day water recycling plant in Changyi City, China, which will come with a 30-year concession period. Construction for phase 1 (30,000 m3/day) will start immediately and expected to be completed by Oct ’17.

*First Resources: 1Q17 FFB harvest surged 43.7% to 706,264 tonnes, with yield rising 0.9ppts to 4.0 tonnes/ha. CPO production jumped 33.9% to 161,194 tonnes, despite lower extraction rate of 22.4% (-0.6ppts). MKE last had a Hold on the counter with TP of $1.97.

*UMS: 51% owned water and chemical engineering solutions provider, Kalf Engineering, secured five electro-chlorination systems projects in Singapore, Chile and Middle East, which are expected for completion in 2H17. It also clinched an acid cleaning system project in Qatar and a drinking-water treatment plant project in China, both slated to complete by 2H18. Total value of the seven projects is $13m.

*Sapphire: Secured new infrastructure construction and consultancy contracts worth Rmb432m ($88m) bringing its order book to ~Rmb2.5b ($510m), with activity stretching up to 2021.

*NeraTel: Received contracts worth $7.2m for the supply, delivery, installation and maintenance of security application equipment for a Filipino telco.

*Profit warnings:
– Serrano
– Secura Group

Singapore Telecommunications

Singapore TelecommunicationsMore Competition Down UnderAustralian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has completed its latest spectrum auction for the 700MHz frequency spectrum. The auction started on 4 Apr 17 and lasted for a week with competit…

Eur Yen

The two most actively traded currency pairs — EUR/USD and USD/JPY broke above important resistance levels on Thursday. USD/JPY had been holding above 108 and flirting with resistance at 109.20 for the past 6 trading days but this level was finally breached when U.S. rates shot higher at the start of the NY trading session. The rally defies fundamentals as Thursday’s U.S. economic reports were softer than expected with jobless claimsrising and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia regiongrowing at its slowest pace this year. Shrugging off softer U.S. data has been a constant theme for USD/JPY traders this month with the market ignoring weakness in consumer spendinginflation and manufacturing. Although the greenback has fallen against other major currencies like the euro and British pound, its resilience versus the yen is consistent with the move in Treasury rates, which increased on Thursday. With that in mind, after racing to a high of 109.45, USD/JPY failed to extend its gains and instead ended the NY session not far from 109.20. On a technical basis, this means that the breakout could still be a fake-out but there are signs of a bottom on longer-term charts. Fundamentally, the only argument for dollar strength is that the disappointment in U.S. data changes nothing about the outlook for U.S. monetary policy. The Federal Reserve is still expected to raise interest ratesagain this year with the hike likely to occur in September instead June. Yen weakness on the other hand is supported by Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda’s comment that the current pace of bond purchases will continue for some time. He’s promising a longer period of easy monetary policy, which stands in stark contrast to the Fed’s tightening plans. Looking ahead, momentum is still on the side of the bulls, which means that USD/JPY could make a run for 110.
Meanwhile, based on the euro’s price action, forex traders are clearly not worried about next week’s French elections. It has been a great week for the euro, which appreciated nearly 200 pips versus the U.S. dollar since Monday. Although German producer price growth stagnated in March, inflation and trade data released earlier this week were better than expected. The April PMI reports are scheduled for release on Friday and given the general improvements in Germany’s manufacturing sector, we look forward to healthy data that should support the latest rally in the euro. Yet the situation in the Eurozone economy won’t be the only thing on investors’ minds on Friday. The first round of voting in the French Presidential election is on Sunday and if there is a desire for profit taking, it would need to happen on Friday. Investors don’t seem worried because Macron is leading Le Pen in the polls but as we’ve learned in the past year, there’s always the risk of an upset on Election Day.

Qns: Why is trading so hard?

Trading is hard because it is the ultimate case of a competitive market.  If there was an easy way to trade and be profitable, everyone would start doing that, and prices would move accordingly so that’s no longer the case.In the case of a “buy lo…

Stocks to Watch

 *SPH REIT: Flat 2QFY17 DPU of 1.4¢ met expectations on larger unit base as distributable income grew 2.4% to $37.3m. Revenue inched 1.7% higher to $54m on increased rental income at The Paragon and The Clementi Mall, while NPI jumped at a faster clip to $11.3m (+9.7%) on proactive management of utility contracts and absence of one-off provision for prior years’ property tax. Both malls enjoyed rental uplift and full occupancy. Aggregate leverage remained steady at 25.7%. NAV/share at $0.94.

*Keppel Corp: Inked a term sheet agreement for the proposed sale of its Rotterdam-based Keppel Verolme shipyard to Dutch builder Damen Shipyards for an undisclosed amount following a strategic review This is in line with the group’s efforts to optimise operations and rationalise its global network of yards. MKE last had a Sell with TP of $4.57.

*SGX: Launched SGX Developed Asia ex Japan Quality Index, its first smart beta index that features a factor-selection method with a bottom-up approach to selecting its constituents. Separately, SGX appointed six and two new members to its Disciplinary and Appeal Committees, respectively, to replace retiring members.

*Super Group: Offeror Jacob Douwe Egberts does not intend to revise the offer price of $1.30 for the instant cereal manufacturer. Closing date of the offer is on 25 Apr.

*Midas: 32.5% owned associate Nanjing Puzhen Rail Transport secured a Rmb543m metro train car supply contract from Shanghai Rail Transit Line Two Development. Delivery is scheduled in 2018.

*Rotary Engineering: Secured two EPC projects worth US$120m in Dubai and Thailand, to build tank storage for the oil refineries of Emirates National Oil Company and Thai Oil Public Company.

*Civmec: 50% owned JV Amec Foster Wheeler Civmec has clinched a contract for the Gruyere Gold Project in Yamarna greenstone belt, Australia. Works include the design and installation of a process plant, admin office, workshop, warehouse, water pipelines and power lines, and are scheduled between Jul ’17 and Dec ’18. The group’s 50% share of the contract will lift order book to $526m (Dec ’16: $425m).

*Roxy-Pacific: Entered into heads of agreement with third parties for the proposed sale of a freehold property at 59 Goulburn Street in Sydney, Australia, for A$158m.

*Spackman: Issued positive profit alert for 1Q17, following losses incurred in 1Q16 and FY16. This is due to recognition of revenue from the film “Master”, for which its costs were booked last year, production revenue from upcoming thriller “Golden Slumber” and lower opex following disposal of loss-making Opus Pictures in Aug ’16. 1Q17 results will be released on 15 May.

*Citic Envirotech: Secured credit facilities of up to Rmb20b for five years from China Merchants Bank, to fund projects in the water and environmental sector.

*GCCP Resources: Auditor Ernest & Young has drawn attention to uncertainty related to the group’s ability to continue as a going concern, in light of FY16 loss of RM10.3m and negative operating cash flow of RM1m. In addition, it has loans worth RM10.2m that will be due for repayment this year.

*Hoe Leong: Auditor KPMG has drawn attention to uncertainty related to its ability to continue as a going concern following its FY16 loss of $46.9m, as well as the net current liability position of $47.9m which has resulted in additional loans due in 2017. The group now needs to repay $80.7m in 2017, or 6.8x its current market cap.


– IMF more upbeat about global economy this year than in 2016
http://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/imf-more-upbeat-about-global-economy-this-year-than-in-2016?xtor=CS3-18

– Oil shares gain as Tesla overtakes GM in market value http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/international/oil-shares-gain-as-tesla-overtakes-gm-in-market-value/3668326.html

– $685m bid triggers sale of Queenstown residential site http://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/685m-bid-triggers-sale-of-queenstown-residential-site?xtor=CS3-18

– Debt restructuring still a big hurdle for offshore marine firms http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/debt-restructuring-still-a-big-hurdle-for-offshore-marine-firms?xtor=CS3-18


Alliance Mineral last close $0.35, 52wk high/low $0.425/$0.057 – Alliance Mineral Assets inks lithium rights JV deal with Lithco
http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/alliance-mineral-assets-inks-lithium-rights-jv-deal-with-lithco

Midas Holdings last close $0.23, 52wk high/low $0.29/$0.205 – Midas Holdings JV secures 543m-yuan metro train car contract in China http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/midas-holdings-jv-secures-543m-yuan-metro-train-car-contract-in-china

Rotary Engineering last close $0.425, 52wk high/low $0.445/$0.35 – Rotary Engineering wins projects worth over US$120m in UAE, Thailand http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/rotary-engineering-wins-projects-worth-over-us120m-in-uae-thailand

Roxy-Pacific last close $0.52, 52wk high/low $0.56/$0.385 – Roxy-Pacific finds buyers for Sydney office building for A$158m http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/roxy-pacific-finds-buyers-for-sydney-office-building-for-a158m

Sembcorp last close $3.14, 52wk high/low $3.38/$2.44 – Sembcorp wins India wind power project http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/sembcorp-wins-india-wind-power-project?xtor=CS3-18

Spackman last close $0.176, 52wk high/low $0.199/$0.076 – Company issues positive profit guidance for Q1 FY2017 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/spackman-issues-positive-profit-guidance-for-q1-fy2017

SPH REIT last close $0.975, 52wk high/low $1.005/$0.905 – SPH Reit Q2 net property income rises 5.2% http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/sph-reit-q2-net-property-income-rises-52?xtor=CS3-25

Tuan Sing last close $0.34, 52wk high/low $0.35/$0.275 – Company buys Sime Darby Centre for $365m http://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/tuan-sing-buys-sime-darby-centre-for-365m?xtor=CS3-18

UnUsUaL last close $0.435, IPO Price $0.20, 1-Day high/low $0.455/$0.40 – Company strikes sweet note in debut Catalist trading http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/unusual-strikes-sweet-note-in-debut-catalist-trading?xtor=CS3-18

Stocks to watch

Uncertainty over Trump’s policy agenda and US-China trade talks later this week:

It may not be apparent when President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet beneath the towering palms and crystal chandeliers at Mar-a-Lago this coming week, but the nations they lead are on a collision course for war.
An irresistibly rising China is challenging the United States’ accustomed dominance. Consider that the U.S. share of global economic output fell from 22 percent in 1980 to 16 percent today, while China’s grew from 2 percent to 18 percent over the same period. Historians know that when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power, alarms should sound: extreme danger ahead. As Thucydides explained about the war that destroyed the two great city states of ancient Greece, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Likewise, a century ago, it was the rise of Germany and the fear it created in Britain that allowed an archduke’s assassination to ignite a conflagration so devastating that it required an entirely new category: world war.
This pattern, which I call the “Thucydides Trap,” recurs often. A major nation’s rise has disrupted the position of a dominant state 16 times over the past 500 years. In 12 of those 16 cases, the outcome was war. In the four cases that avoided violent conflict, that was possible only because of huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part of challenger and challenged. Think of Britain and the United States under Theodore Roosevelt, or the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

http://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/world/comment-how-trump-and-china%E2%80%99s-xi-could-stumble-into-war/ar-BBzd4v1

Stocks to watch:
*Property: Flash URA data showed that private housing prices dipped 0.5% in 1Q17, for the 14th consecutive quarter of decline, with landed homes falling 2.8%, while non-landed properties stayed flat. Private home prices have fallen 11.7% since peaking in 3Q13. MKE is Neutral on the property sector, with UOL (Buy, TP $7.68) as its key pick.

*GLP: Divested two portfolio companies with distribution facilities to its GLP US Income Partners III fund for USD34m, as well as three other companies holding a completed asset that is part of the fund’s target portfolio. This pared down its stakes in the portfolio companies (held through the fund) from 100% to 49.9%.

*CapitaLand: Serviced residence unit Ascott inks two serviced residences franchise agreements with Vitacon in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The two Citadines serviced residences will add a cumulative 214 rooms, with one scheduled to open in 4Q17, and the other in 2020. Vitacon intends to establish a portfolio of at least 5,000 Citadines-branded units in Sao Paulo.

*Healthway Medical: Private equity firm Gateway Partners, which is subscribing to $70m convertible B notes that can be swapped into 45.7% of HMC enlarged share capital, has declared that it has no intention of buying out the healthcare group. This statement would prohibit Gateway from making any general offer or acquire any shares that will result in it holding >30% of the company in the next six months. Meanwhile, Lippo-linked Gentle Care’s offer for the company at 4.2¢/share has received 23% acceptances.

*Chasen: Secured relocation contracts worth RM2.2m and US$0.2m in Malaysia and Vietnam respectively. The contracts are expected to be completed within the year.

*AnnAik: Acquiring 85% of LinXing Water Supply Co for Rmb9.4m. The target company supplies new water to residents of Lincheng, Zhejiang. The acquisition is complementary to the group’s industrial and municipal wastewater treatment business.

*Sincap: Appointed legal advisors to refute a letter of demand from Fu Hao claiming Rmb6.8m. Separately, it received a qualified opinion from independent auditor Baker Tilly for its FY16 financial statements due to unconfirmed outstanding claims from Shandong Luneng Taishan Mining for a mine refilling project.

*Secura: Wee Ee Chao, through KIP Industrial, is no longer a substantial shareholder following its sale of 1m shares at $0.17093 apiece, paring his stake to 4.76% from 5.01%

*Delong: Selling its pig iron production capacity of 1.1m mt and steel production capacity of 1.21m mt for Rmb400m ($81.1m) to Tsing Tuo. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay severances as well as other expenses incurred for cessation of operations.

*Asian Micro: Acquiring a plot of land spanning 11,039 sf in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia for RM1.9m (~$0.6m).

*Kingsmen Creative: Its MOU with Regal International, The Destination Lab and ONG&ONG has lapsed and it will not proceed with the project to own, develop and operate two hospitality properties in East Malaysia.

*Auric Pacific: Received 97.02% valid acceptances for the privatisation offer at $1.65/share by Stephen Riady and CEO Andy Adhiwana. The company will be delisted after the close of the offer on 7 Apr.

*Ezra: Holding informal meeting with noteholders on 17 Apr to update on its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.

*Frasers Centrepoint Trust: Issued $90m 2.365% notes due 2020 under $1b multi-currency medium term note programme.

*Azeus Systems: Expects to report a loss for FY3/17 due to its products investments.

SUTL: Sailing to Greater Heights

Click on the link for details. https://research.uobkayhian.com/content_download.jsp?id=38683&h=ce59ae595b0603be063a5169c69d2243 Click on the link for details. https://research.uobkayhian.com/content_download.jsp?id=…

Stocks to watch

Stocks to watch:
*Economy: Economists do not expect the MAS will not tighten the exchange rate policy in Apr or even this year despite the recent stronger growth data as the Singapore economy is still on a weak footing and private investment has yet to pick up.* Property. After regulators closed a tax loophole that allowed developers to offload properties in bulk to institutional investors or wealthy Singaporeans, developers now face the unpalatable choice of discounting luxury homes to dispose inventory, or pay stiff QC charges for missing stipulated sales deadlines. MKE prefers UOL (Buy, TP: $7.68) for sector exposure.

* Sembcorp Marine/ Keppel Corp. US District Court for Columbia has dismissed the claims filed by EIG Management against Petrobras, pertaining to EIG’s investments in Sete Brasil. SMM and Keppel Corp were among rigbuilders that were named as defendants in the suit. MKE has Sell ratings on SMM (TP: $1.00) and Keppel Corp (TP: $4.57).

*SGX: Colloborating with Tullett Prebon to launch a LNG spot index to offer a trusted reference price for LNG delivered to key ports in Dubai, Kuwait, and India. Separately, it has also inked agreements with equity crowdfunding platform Crowdo and PwC’s entrepreneurship consulting unit Venture Hub to help start-ups improve capital access.

*Yangzijiang: Won 13 shipbuilding contracts amounting US$318m in 1Q17. This comprises five 82,000 dwt bulk carriers, five 62,000 dwt woodchip carriers, two 1,800-TEU containerships and one 6,500 dwt conro vessel, with deliveries from 2018-2020.*Frasers Centrepoint: Entered a 19.9/80.1 JV agreement with TCC Assets to acquire and develop a leasehold site in central Bangkok into an integrated mixed-use development. The project, with total gfa of 1.83m sqm, will have a retail component, office towers, residences, hotels and serviced apartments.

*Raffles Medical: Acquired a 28,000 sqm land with building under construction in Liangjiang, Chongqing for the development of a 700-bed international tertiary general hospital. Construction is expected to be completed in 2Q18. The consideration payable for the land and construction costs incurred up to end Jan ’17 amounts Rmb188m..

*China Everbright Water: Won the Ji’nan Zhangqiu Urban-Rural Integration Water Supply project in Shandong, which commands a total investment of Rmb3.1b. CEW will hold an 80% equity stake in project, which has a 30 year concession period.

*Q&M: Expects to raise $9.1m net proceeds from the proposed-listing of its China dental equipment and supplies business Aoxin Q&M. Preliminary documents indicate that Aoxin intends to place out 57m new shares at $0.20/share.

*TEE Int’l: CEO Phua Chian Kin is offering to privatise the engineering firm via scheme of arrangement. Shareholders may elect a cash consideration of $0.215/share (12.6% premium over last traded price) or one new share in the Phua’s wholly-owned vehicle, Oscar Investment. The offer prices the group at 1.08x P/B.

*Ezion: Following recent acquisition of remaining stakes in several JVs with Swissco, the group is divesting its 50% stake in Teras Cargo Logistics, Strategic Offshore, and Strategic Excellence to Malaysian strategic partner Sea Explorer for US$70m. The transaction is expected to be completed by 2Q17.

*Low Keng Huat: 4Q16 net profit plunged 80% to $6.3m, bringing full year earnings to $55.7m (flat). Quarter revenue halved to $10.2m, largely weighed by the absence of construction revenue as the group is no longer tendering for third party construction contracts. The group also saw nil development sales in the quarter. Bottom line further dragged by $1.5m of other operating expenses, largely attributable to additional provisioning for impairment losses on the Balestier Tower project. NAV/share at $0.90.

*Olam: 75%-owned Nutrifoods Ghana has opened its newly expanded US$8.25m biscuit production facility in Ghana, doubling its capacity. Separately, the group is issuing ¥5.7b 0.47% fixed rate notes due 2022 under its US$5b euro medium term note programme. Proceeds will be used for working capital, capex, potential acquisition opportunities and other general corporate purposes.

*Saizen REIT: Terminated the proposed acquisition of 20 Australian freehold industrial properties from Sime Darby Property Singapore, which would have resulted in an RTO.

*FJ Benjamin: Divested loss-making NooTrees, a subsidiary that sells sustainable consumer products, to Lam Soon Singapore for $2.2m, and realising a gain of $1.79m.

MAS to stick with current policy stance despite recent stronger data: economists

FORGET the solid pace of Singapore’s economic growth in recent months.

That’s not enough to make Singapore’s central bank think about tweaking its exchange rate policy any time soon, or even this year at all, said economists.

In fact, instead of a near-term monetary tightening, one of them even expects the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to ease the policy band even further – a move often seen as a response to weakening growth.

Said NatWest Markets’ Vaninder Singh, who foresaw the last three MAS monetary policy decisions: “We are retaining our call for one per cent re-centring lower for the mid-point of the SG$NEER (nominal effective exchange rate) band in April 2017.”
Song Seng Wun, economist at CIMB, said: “From where we are, I would say there’s only a 30 per cent chance of tightening this year.”

Economists’ hesitation in calling for a tightening this year despite recent stronger growth numbers underscores a lack of confidence in Singapore’s future growth prospects.

If their predictions come to fruition, the current period of weak growth is effectively extended for another year.

MAS uses the exchange rate as its main monetary tool to maintain price stability so that there can be sustained economic growth in Singapore.

It does so by adjusting the currency’s pace of appreciation within the S$NEER band. It can target either the band’s slope, width or level.

To tighten the band, MAS would have to make the slope steeper or raise its level. This makes the Singapore dollar stronger. Imports become cheaper, and for Singapore’s trade-reliant economy, it tempers inflation.

A weaker currency will make exports cheaper, thus promoting growth.

MAS normally communicates its exchange-rate policy decisions twice a year – once in April and another in October.

But it kicked-off the current easing cycle with a surprise move in January 2015. It said that inflationary pressures were receding and global oil prices remained subdued.

MAS eased again in October 2015 and in April 2016, when the slope of the S$NEER band was put to zero.

MAS last said in October 2016 that this neutral policy stance was needed for an “extended period” of time.

The economic situation turned quickly thereafter, however. Fourth-quarter growth for 2016 came in stronger than expected – so much so that the full-year growth came in at 2 per cent, far beyond the government’s forecast of one to 1.5 per cent range.

This manufacturing and export-led growth may continue into early 2017. Citi’s Kit Wei Zheng expects Q1 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) to be 1.5 per cent higher than implicit forecasts in October last year.

This is enough to decrease some of the probability of a further easing move by MAS, said economists.

But even so, many economists are also not convinced that MAS will tighten in April. Maintaining the current stance is most likely, they said.

As for future moves this year, they do not see any signs of improvement to warrant a tightening.

For one thing, the jobs market is still quite weak, said Nomura’s Brian Tan. Unemployment seems to be rising, and jobs creation seems to be slowing. This will weaken consumer sentiment and thus dampen inflation – a major consideration in MAS policy.

Private investment – needed for capital expenditure and capacity expansion – in Singapore also does not seem to be picking up. Economists noted that the government even had to pledge to bring forward S$700 million worth of infrastructure projects to prop up the construction sector.

The strong demand for Singapore’s exports may not last too. Standard Chartered’s Jonathan Koh does not see a broad-based pick-up in global demand for Singapore’s electronics, which led the end-2016 growth spurt.

This is in part due to expected weak demand from China, Europe and the United States, and also due to geopolitical factors. The long negotiation process for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union was just triggered; US President Donald Trump is said to be wanting to re-examine all 14 US free trade agreements, dealing global trade another blow.

“Heading into the middle of Q2, or by the second half, we’re a bit more cautious about exports for Singapore,” said Mr Koh.

This uncertainty over the prospects for trade has made NatWest Market’s Mr Singh bearish enough to call for a monetary easing this year – putting him at odds with the general view of his counterparts.

Mr Singh expected this year’s growth to come in at one per cent. Though he found it “impossible” to predict what US President Trump might do with regards to trade, he also noted in a March 31 report that “even a slight change in trade performance will produce an outsized move in overall GDP (for Singapore), given exports’ 200 per cent share in output”.

“A re-centring – the next available easing move – is a response to seminal moments when we either have an outright recession, or a severe downgrade to the economic outlook,” he said. “Singapore’s growth outlook fulfils these conditions.”