Breakingviews

With strong new backer, Olam gets what Noble needs

August 28, 2015

Mitsubishi is backing a Singapore-listed trader bashed by short-sellers, paying $1.1 bln at a big premium. Noble needs such a vote of confidence. But the Japanese group is actually endorsing Olam – a firm supported by Temasek that has been spared the worst of the commodity rout.

Singapore’s anti-ageing cure will take time

August 10, 2015

A shrinking labour force and voters’ desire to limit foreign workers could mean slow growth and not enough tax revenue for welfare. The city-state is trying to beat its demographic destiny by boosting productivity. The payoffs will only come when global demand perks up.

Singapore at 50 ought to loosen up

August 7, 2015

Pragmatic policy and hard work helped the city-state attain a level of prosperity unimaginable five decades ago. Future success depends on dialling back state capitalism and paternalism, and spawning more entrepreneurs. Few will bet against Singapore continuing to defy the odds.

Singapore could use a fresh approach to water

August 3, 2015

The city-state built its economic success partly on carefully managing scarce H2O and reducing reliance on foreign sources. Now Singapore wants to be self-sufficient. But with the population set to double, the quest for water independence risks becoming a distracting pipe dream.

Numbers add up to HSBC leaving London

July 31, 2015

The global bank is reviewing its head office location based on 11 criteria such as economic importance, transparency and tax. A ranking based on data compiled by Breakingviews shows Singapore, Hong Kong and even Toronto are more attractive than HSBC’s current home base.

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.