It can be useful to have a quick summary of what happened in the economy and markets in the week before. Here are some of the important developments and data that emerged last week.
Analysts believe that 2018 will be the turnaround year for the Singapore property market. After 3 years of falling prices, analysts now forecast growth of between 3% and 15% for 2018. According to Alan Cheong, Savills Singapore’s senior director, the historical length of a property bull market is around 17.6 quarters. This means that if 2018 is positive, we could potentially see price growth in properties continue for three to four more years.
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The Singapore property market appreciated 1% in 2017, compared to a drop of 11.6% over 15 quarters after 2013 when property-cooling measures were put in place. Rental rates of private homes have also declined by 12.5% since 2013 before stabilizing in the third quarter of last year.
The world stock market hit a record high last Wednesday (3 January). In the United States, its three main indexes managed record closes, fueled by a 1.5% rise in energy stocks.
Meanwhile, Asian shares reached a 10-year high last Thursday (4 January) due in part to oil prices climbing to a two-and-half-year high, and strong economic growth in the United States and Germany. MSCI’s index of Asia Pacific shares (excluding Japan) rose 0.1% to a level near its 2007 peak, while Australian shares also hit a 10-year high.
In the Eurozone, factories grew at their fastest pace in 20 years in December 2017. The manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index was 60.6. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The factory output index, a measure of a broader set of data, rose to 62.2, its highest in 17 years.
The two largest economies in the Eurozone, Germany and France, contributed a big part to the acceleration in manufacturing growth as both posted their highest manufacturing PMI in 17 years. The UK, on the other hand, under-performed the Eurozone by the most in nine years.
Back home, Singapore’s economy grew 3.1% in the fourth quarter of 2017 on a year-on-year basis. Overall, the economy expanded 3.5% for the entire year. Manufacturing, which accounts for 20% of the economy, continued to perform well by increasing 6.2% in the fourth quarter. The services sector, which makes up around 66% of the economy, expanded 3% in the same quarter. The government estimates that the economy will continue to expand in 2018, albeit at a slower pace of between 1.5% and 3.5%.
Finally, Bloomberg reported that more Asians are joining the elite Bloomberg’s Billionaires list. This list tracks the wealth of the 500 wealthiest individuals in the world. According to the report, 17 Americans were removed from the list in 2017, while seven Chinese, five Indians and four Australians and four Thais were added. However, the United States still has by far the largest number of people on the index with 160. Germany is in second with 39, and China is in third with 38.
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