The Week In Five Numbers: REITs Are In The Clear

Singapore’s retail and office Real Estate Investment Trusts have been given a clean bill of health by credit-rating agency Fitch. It said low leverage levels, robust interest cover and manageable debt and lease contract maturities put them in good stead. It said interest was covered 4.7 times by profits last year.

But Fitch warned that REITs exposed to the retail scene in Hong Kong could face pressure. These include Fortune REIT (SGX: F25U) and Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust (SGX: RW0U).

Meanwhile, credit rating agency Moody’s has taken the red pen to Singapore’s banking sector. It has downgraded the sector’s rating from stable to negative. It means that ratings for the banks could be lower over the next 12 to 18 months. But Moody’s said Singapore banks maintain very strong buffers in terms of capital and loan-loss provisions.

The boss of United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11) will have to make do with a million dollars less this year. Wee Ee Cheong’s pay packet was cut from S$10.2 million in 2014 to just S$9.2 million last year. But it’s not all bad news for the head honcho of Singapore’s third-largest bank. He gets benefits-in-kind such as transport. It’s a tough life being a banker.

When interest rates head south, bond prices head north. The Singapore Swap Offer Rate is now 0.9%, which is down from the January high of 1.76%. What’s more, the markets do not expect the US Federal Reserve to hike rates in April. Consequently, the Singapore Fixed Income Index rose to a new high of 125.15 this week.

And finally, a man in North Carolina was arrested for being 14 years late in retuning a VHS tape. He rented the comedy movie “Freddy Got Fingered” in 2002 but apparently never got round to returning it. He is due to appear in court next month for failure to return hired property, which is a misdemeanour.

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