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The Week In Numbers: OPEC Disappoints

The much-anticipated meeting of oil producing countries turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. Some had hoped that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would cut oil production to boost crude prices. But as it turned out, the oil cartel chose to keep production levels unchanged.

The decision to maintain production at 30m a day, which sent oil prices sliding to a four-year low of $66 a barrel, might be a blow for many oil companies. But it could be a blessing for oil guzzlers such as Singapore Airlines (SGX: C6L).

Some key Asian countries might also be delighted with the fall in the oil prices. China, which imports most of the oil it needs, and Japan, which imports nearly all its oil requirements, could benefit.  Meanwhile, the fall in oil prices could be a welcome boost for the Indian economy, which needs to import less than it exports.

The fall in oil-related items was cited as one of the reason for the moderation in Singapore’s annual inflation rate. In October, prices rose at an annualised rate of 1.7% compared to 1.9% a month earlier. Apart from the drop in the price of oil, the slowdown in the rate of price increases was also attributed to the fall in the cost of car ownership and the sharp decline in the cost of accommodation.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s economy grew 2.8% in the third quarter. That was thanks to an expansion in manufacturing and services. Amongst the best performing sectors were biomedicals and chemicals. Elsewhere, growth in the services sector jumped to 3.4% from 2.6% in the previous quarter.

Sticking with services, the number of passengers passing through Changi Airport increased 1.9% to 4.49m in October. The rise was due to a strong increase in visitors from South Asia. The number of passengers arriving from Thailand rose. The increase of 1% marked 11 months of decline. Visitors from China also increased – it grew 5%. The improvement in passenger traffic at Changi could bode well for SATS (SGX: S58), which is the main provider of airport and catering services at Changi Airport.

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