The Week In Numbers – Caught Off Guard

The Singapore dollar surged to $1.36 against the US dollar after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) caught speculators flat-footed.

The financial regulator stunned critics by stating that the local currency would continue to rise “modestly” and “gradually”. That flew in the face of some economists, who were predicting either a widening or lowering of the band that the Singapore dollar trades in.

The MAS also said the Singapore economy is on track to grow between 2% and 4% this year. It added that core inflation for the year could come in between 0.5% and 1.5%.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned again about “disruptive asset price shifts” in financial markets. It also cautioned that “geopolitical tensions, which could affect major economies, might intensify. That said, the IMF said it expects the global economy to grow by 3.5% this year. Next year the global economy could expand 3.8%.

It seems that Temasek Holdings is the single-biggest foreign investor in Chinese banks. Its total stake comes in at a whopping US$18b. It has a 6% stake in China Construction Bank (CCB). It is also invested in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

Transport company SMRT (SGX: S53) – yes, our subway operator – said it would team up with OMG to bid for Singapore’s fourth telecom licence. It will invest up to S$34.5m through an option to subscribe for shares in its partner. SMRT said it has the right to decide whether to exercise the option.

Exactly what SMRT will bring to the party is unclear. The deal is also not expected to make a material difference to the company’s financial performance this year, either.

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