Real estate prices in Singapore will take time to ‘level out’: CapitaLand Investment
Real estate prices in Singapore continue to rise as more foreign investors set up offices in the city, said Andrew Lim, group chief financial officer at CapitaLand Investments.
“Many global investors see Singapore as a preferred investment destination. And that’s one reason why we’ve had so many family offices get set up here. A lot of institutional capital is looking for a home in Singapore,” Lim told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.
Property prices will take some time to “level out,” but the Singapore government has taken steps to rein in the problem, Lim said.
“We don’t want to see it overheat, which is why you’re seeing some of these policy responses coming in to tame an engine that is showing signs of overheating,” he added.
— Charmaine Jacob
Singapore inflation climbs to 6.5% in January
Singapore’s consumer price index has risen to 6.6% in January on an annualized basis, led by increases in transport, food and clothing. Compared to December 2022, overall inflation rose 0.2%.
January’s core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private transport, rose 5.5% year-on-year in July —up from 5.1 % in the previous month.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore said this was driven by higher inflation for services, food and retail & other goods, along with the increase in the GST rate.
MAS also expects that for 2023 as a whole, overall inflation is projected to come in between 5.5% – 6.5%, while core inflation is projected to average 3.5–4.5%.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.64% down on Thursday.
— Lim Hui Jie
Apple taps China’s Luxshare to develop augmented reality device: Nikkei
Apple for the first time tapped Chinese supplier Luxshare to help develop the firm’s augmented reality devices, Nikkei reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
Luxshare has taken over the AR development team in Shanghai that was previously owned by Taiwanese electronics manufacturing company Pegatron, the report said.
Calling Luxshare’s participation a “milestone for Chinese tech suppliers,” Nikkei noted that in previous decades, Apple has relied on Taiwanese suppliers like Foxconn to help it develop the first generations of new product lines.
— Lim Hui Jie
Australian ‘buy now, pay later’ firm Zip maintains positive outlook despite tough conditions
Australia-based BNPL player Zip Co maintains a rosy outlook as the sector faces liquidity pressures and rising interest rates, with rival Openpay shutting down.
“We were able to pass on some of the increase in interest costs across merchants and partners,” said Larry Diamond, co-founder and global CEO of Zip Co, on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” Thursday.
Diamond’s comments come after the firm reported ballooning net losses while revenue was up by 19% due to “improved credit losses and margins” for the first half of the period ending December 2022.
Zip expects to continue its focus on its core business – Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., said Diamond. Last year, the firm exited several markets and pulled out from a buyout deal of U.S. rival Sezzle Inc.
When asked if Zip is open to being acquired, Diamond said: “We remain very focused on the business and the opportunity before us. We believe we have a long way to go in Australia. Similarly, in the U.S., [BNPL penetration is] only at 2% of payment volume.”
Shares of Zip fell 6.19% in Thursday’s afternoon trading.
– Sheila Chiang
HKEX sees nearly 20% drop in profits in full-year earnings
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing saw a nearly 20% drop in profits for the year of 2022, according to its full-year earnings report.
The bourse operator’s profit attributable to shareholders was HK$10.08 billion, a drop of nearly 20% from a year ago, HKEX said. The total revenue for the year was HK$18.46 billion, also a drop of roughly 12% from 2021.
Chief executive Nicolas Aguzin said in a statement that the bourse faced “a challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical backdrop.”
HKEX also saw “signs of encouraging momentum in the IPO market and a particularly strong performance in the Derivatives Market” in the latter half of the year, he added.
Shares of HKEX rose 1.28% in Hong Kong’s morning session.
UOB shares fall 4.5% despite posting record full year profits
Shares of Singapore’s United Overseas Bank plunged 4.5% on Thursday despite posting a record net profit of 4.57 billion Singapore dollars ($3.44 billion) for the whole of 2022.
That’s up 12% compared to last year’s figure of S$4.08 billion.
UOB said attributed the good results to strong margin expansion across different countries and customer segments, even as interest rates continued to rise.
Net interest income came in at S$8.34 billion, higher by 31%. Loan growth of 3%, as well as net interest margin that was 30 basis points higher contributed to that, the bank said.
Geoff Howie, market strategist at the Singapore Exchange, predicted that net interest income will continue to grow and be a main income driver for all three major Singapore banks, namely, DBS, UOB and OCBC.
DBS previously reported full year results on Feb. 13, while OCBC Bank will report its full year earnings on Friday.
Shares of OCBC slid 2.17% on Thursday, while DBS saw a smaller drop of 0.81%.
China asks state-owned companies to phase out using big four auditors: Bloomberg
Chinese authorities have asked some state-owned enterprises to phase out using the big four U.S. accounting firms, citing data security concerns, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
When the contracts were due for renewal, the state-owned enterprises were instead to hire Chinese or Hong Kong accountants, Bloomberg reported, adding that the suggestion was not new but recently re-emphasized.
Separately, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that state-owned China Mobile is audited by KPMG, while another state-owned giant CNOOC is audited by Ernst & Young.
However, such auditor changes are not likely as not all state-owned enterprises deal with “state secrets,” HKEJ said.
China’s Ministry of Finance, KPMG, PwC, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comments.
— Jihye Lee, Evelyn Cheng, Iris Wang
BlackRock ups its bet on Chinese stocks
BlackRock Investment Institute upgraded its view Wednesday on Chinese stocks to overweight.
The move was part of an overall preference for emerging market stocks over those in developed markets.
“We see short-term opportunities from China’s restart,” the firm said, referring to the country’s reopening after nearly three years of Covid controls.
However, the firm noted longer-term drags on growth. “Investors are still requiring more compensation for the geopolitical risk of holding Chinese assets – which has risen, in our view – and also considering risks from regulatory and government intervention.”
The firm is underweight U.S., Europe, U.K. and Japanese stocks.
— Evelyn Cheng
Australia’s capital expenditure hits 7-year high in fourth quarter
Australian business investment hit a seven-year high in the fourth quarter of 2022, led by spending in the food and accommodation sector.
Capital spending came in at $35 billion Australian dollars ($23.9 billion), the highest since March 2016.
Private capital spending climbed a 2.2% in the fourth quarter, beating forecasts of a 1.3% rise, according to the Australian bureau of statistics on Thursday.
It also estimated that firms plan to invest around A$159 billion for the current year to June.
— Lim Hui Jie
Bank of Korea expects to see smaller growth in 2023
The Bank of Korea expects the South Korean economy to expand by 1.6% – less than previously estimated in November, when it forecasted to see 1.7% growth in 2023.
“After the second half [of 2023], while we expect improvement in domestic growth from China’s economy recovery as well as the IT sector, there remains high uncertainties,” it said in its latest monetary policy statement.
The central bank also expects the economy to be impacted by a global economic slowdown due to hiked rates across the world.
– Jihye Lee
Qantas CEO confident airline will return to 100% pre-Covid capacity in 2024
Qantas is confident that it will see a full return to pre-Covid capacity in 2024, said CEO Alan Joyce.
“We’re confident that we’ll get back… 100% of our pre-Covid international capacity,” Joyce told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia,” for the financial year 2024.
“[There is] really strong demand in leisure, in business…. in corporate,” he noted, adding the pent up demand will continue for some time.
Qantas is also re-establishing its operations in Hong Kong, said Joyce. But limited ground handling capacities means the carrier cannot expand as fast as it would like, the CEO added.
—Lee Ying Shan
Qantas shares drop over 5% despite posting record profit
Qantas shares slipped 5.4% on Thursday despite reporting record profit for the period between June to December 2022.
The carrier posted $1 billion Australian dollars ($682 million) in profits for the period, a reversal from the A$456 million loss in the same period the year before.
CEO Alan Joyce described this as a “huge turnaround” compared to 12 months ago.
In a earnings release, Qantas said the drivers of the result were consistently strong travel demand, higher yields and cost improvements from its A$1 billion recovery program.
The airline also managed to pare its debt to A$2.4 billion, down from A$3.9 billion six months ago, and announced a A$500 million share buyback due to begin from March 2023.
— Lim Hui Jie
Bank of Korea holds base rate at 3.5%, in line with expectations
South Korea’s central bank has kept its lending rate at 3.5%, in line with economists expectations.
This makes it one of the first central banks in the region to pause its rates hike cycle compared to its global peers, with the exception of Japan and China.
The South Korean won strengthened 0.16% to trade at 1,304.76 against the U.S. dollar after the announcement.
—Lim Hui Jie
Fed minutes show members are still committed to fight against inflation
The minutes showed inflation remained “well above” the Fed’s 2% target, adding that the labor market is still “very tight, contributing to continuing upward pressures on wages and prices.”
Fed officials also noted that “inflation data received over the past three months showed a welcome reduction in the monthly pace of price increases but stressed that substantially more evidence of progress across a broader range of prices would be required to be confident that inflation was on a sustained downward path,” the minutes said.
— Jeff Cox
CNBC Pro: Analyst says it’s the ‘last phase’ of the bear market — and names 3 stocks to buy right now
Markets rallied at the start of the year. But on Tuesday, the main Wall Street indexes closed to cap their worst day of 2023.
James Demmert, chief investment officer at Main Street Research, says this is the “last phase” of the bear market and predicts when it will end.
He names three stocks to buy right now.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.
— Weizhen Tan
Property developer Capitaland reports drop in net profits
Asian property developer Capitaland Investment reported a profit after tax of $861 million Singapore dollars ($642.2 million) for the full year of 2022.
This is 36.2% lower than the S$1.35 billion recorded in the same period in 2021. Net profit came in at S$1.07 billion, 31.4% lower than the year before.
In a release, Capitaland said this was mainly due to lower divestments gains in China and lower fair value gains from revaluation of investment properties.
Revenue came in at S$2.87 billion, 25.4% higher on an annualized basis on higher contributions from it’s fee income-related businesses and real estate investment business.
—Lim Hui Jie
CNBC Pro: There is a ‘rare’ opportunity to invest in a global VC stock set for 130% upside, analysts say
Global shares of a venture capitalist company are expected to soar by 130% over the next 12 months, according to an investment bank.
The investment bank is not alone in its bullish view. Even the most conservative analysts have a price target pointing toward a 90% upside.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.
— Ganesh Rao
Fed’s Bullard says there’s a ‘good shot’ of inflation in 2023
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Wednesday he was confident that the central bank can reach its inflation goals this year.
“It has become popular to say, ‘Let’s slow down and feel our way to where we need to be.’ We still haven’t gotten to the point where the committee put the so-called terminal rate,” he said during a live “Squawk Box” interview. “Get to that level and then feel your way around and see what you need to do. You’ll know when you’re there when the next move could be up or down.”
— Jeff Cox
Headwinds should persist even with worst of inflation in the “rear view,” says Morgan Stanley’s Loewengart
Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting seem to confirm that while inflation is easing, it’s too early to expect a pivot just yet, said Mike Loewengart, head of model portfolio construction at Morgan Stanley Global Investment Office.
“The worst of inflation may be in the rear view, but it remains well-above the Fed’s target,” he wrote. “Bottom line is that many market headwinds aren’t going away and investors should expect volatility to stay as they parse over the impact rates being higher for longer will have.”
— Samantha Subin