The Week In Numbers – Green Shoots?

What is it going to be this year?  According to the head of the Chinese central bank’s research bureau, China’s economic growth could slow to around 6.9% this year.

So if someone as important as Lu Lei is prepared to put his head above the parapet, then we can safely assume China’s economy could grow at around that rate in 2015. Not that it really matters a jot, though.

What really counts is the country’s unemployment numbers, which has been conveniently stuck at 4.1% since 2010. It is indeed quite a feat to keep unemployment so steady for so long.

What also matters is whether Chinese household income is set to grow. If it does, then the rebalancing of China’s economy could be showing some green shoots of success. That could bode well to businesses exposed to Chinese consumers, such as BreadTalk (SGX: 5DA).

Sticking with household income, the median household income in Singapore rose at a much faster rate in 2014 than a year earlier. The median household income Sin Singapore stood at S$8,290 compared to S$7,870 the previous year.

It seems that the boost in monthly household income could even be sustained in 2015, thanks to benign inflation. That could bode well for Singapore’s many shopping malls, whose owners include CapitaMall Trust (SGX: C38U), Mapletree Commercial Trust (SGX: N2IU) and SPH REIT (SGX: SK6U).

But while the news has been good for households in Singapore, many businesses are feeling less cheerful.

Around 50% of Singapore’s businesses expect prospects to worsen over the next six months. This is up from 38%, when the survey was conducted in the last quarter. But on the bright side – while half of Singapore’s businesses people might be feeling gloomy, the other half are not.

Onto matters further afield, Greece is slowly running out of money. The country is reportedly close to exhausting the €65b granted to it through an Emergency Lending Assistance (ELA) by the European Central Bank (ECB). Greece has requested a six-month loan extension rather than asking for a bailout. But Germany has said no.

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