Breakingviews

Singapore’s war on deflation hobbled by bubble

April 14, 2015

The city-state’s decision to hold back on monetary easing appears squeamish for a small economy battling low prices. But there are good reasons for caution. Singapore property has been pumped up by a multiyear credit boom. If air escapes too quickly, the damage could be greater.

Why silencing short-sellers is futile

April 8, 2015

Asian companies and regulators are coming down hard on authors of negative research reports. Though it’s possible to track down even anonymous assailants, it’s tougher to prove the attacks were wrong or reckless. Executives have little choice but to face up to their critics.

Lee Kuan Yew: Founding father made Singapore rich but not happy

March 23, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew, who has died aged 91, turned a malarial dump into a super-wealthy small economy. His authoritarian style and single-minded pursuit of economic growth are now outmoded. Singapore’s next challenge is to strike a balance between being a global city and a caring nation.

Singapore Exchange’s next CEO faces ho-hum job

February 25, 2015

Departing chief Magnus Bocker’s successor will inherit a business suffering from existential angst. Trading volumes are static and big listings scarce. The outlook is brighter for derivatives, but given the absence of M&A targets it will be hard for debt-free SGX to grow.

Piketty meets pragmatism in Singapore tax hike

February 24, 2015

The top rate for high earners will rise to 22 percent by 2017. The symbolic end to three decades of lower levies is a nod to economist Thomas Piketty’s inequality polemic. It’s also a shrewd bet that Singapore’s wealthy value clean air and social stability as well as money.

Currency market still scarred by Swiss trauma

January 28, 2015

Brutal swings seen just after the Swiss central bank suddenly abandoned its franc cap have faded. But price signals and perplexing moves suggest the extraordinary gyrations left their mark. Singapore’s surprise easing and continued Swiss official musings will add to the jitters.

Asia’s top-down corporate reforms vary in promise

August 25, 2014

Newish leaders across the region are pushing to change the way companies work. Although the mechanisms and targets vary between countries, increasing efficiency appears to be a common theme. But investors eyeing improved returns will find not all reforms are equal.

Asia’s solid exterior hides internal weakness

July 17, 2014

While more competitive currencies and improving trade balances are making the region externally resilient, sputtering GDP growth is enfeebling it from within, especially since the slowdown is occurring amidst a large debt overhang. Monetary stimulus is an option – but a risky one.

Temasek’s StanChart bond looks too clever by half

October 19, 2011

Temasek appears to have hit on an ingenious way of raising money cheaply. The Singaporean fund has sold S$650 million ($512 million) of bonds, exchangeable into Standard Chartered stock.

Temasek tinkering could put StanChart in play

April 17, 2012

The Singaporean fund’s latest asset reshuffle has revived talk about its $10 bln stake in the emerging market lender. Banks from the U.S. to Japan would like to get their hands on StanChart. But with the exception of China’s biggest lenders, most would struggle to pull it off.