The Motley Fool

The Week in Numbers: Trade Talks

The United States and China gave signs on Thursday that they will resume trade talks, ahead of a new round of US tariffs on Chinese goods. US President Trump said, “There is a talk scheduled for today at different levels.” He also added that he believes China “wants to make a deal”.

Washington is scheduled to begin collecting 15% tariffs on more than US$125 billion worth of Chinese imports. It also plans to increase the existing 25% tariff on US$250 billion worth of goods to 30%.

Separately, UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has received permission from Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday to suspend Parliament from mid-September to mid-October. The move comes in a bid to restrict the time for MPs to debate over the Brexit divorce deal. With the Parliament suspended for many days, MPs will have little time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Singapore’s service sector saw revenue grow 2.8% in the quarter ended 30 June compared to a year ago. This is down slightly from 3.6% in the first quarter of 2019 and 4.1% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018. All services industries recorded higher revenues, with the transport and storage industry leading the way with a 5.6% increase. Revenue in the health and social services industry grew by 4.2%.

The Chinese yuan slumped to an 11-year low on Monday at around 7.1425 to the US dollar. The Chinese government limits the yuan’s movement against the dollar to a 2% range each day. The People’s Bank of China has set the rate weaker in recent weeks and set it on 7.057 to the dollar on Monday.

Funds under the Singapore Central Provident Fund Investment Scheme (CPFIS) saw a 1.9% gain on average in the second quarter ended 30 June. Average returns from unit trusts rose 1.86%, while investment-linked products gained 1.92%Comparatively, the MSCI All-Country Asia ex-Japan Index, an Asian equities barometer, fell 0.67% over the same period, while the MSCI World TR USD, a global equities index, returned 4.08%

For the 12 months ended June, CPFIS posted an average positive return of 2.21%, slightly lower than the minimum CPF ordinary account’s interest rate of 2.5%.

Hong Kong investors put in US$1.4 billion (S$1.94 billion) into Singapore commercial real estate over the first six months of the year. Singapore investments accounted for more than 25% of the US$5.2 billion in total outbound property investment from Hong Kong over that period. That made Singapore the top destination for Hong Kong property investors. The United States and the United Kingdom were the second and third most popular destinations.

Haidilao founder, Zhang Yong, has topped 2019’s Forbes Singapore Rich List, with a net worth of US$13.8 billion (S$19.17 billion). The newly crowned, Zhang, replaces property magnates, Robert and Philip Ng of Far East Organisation, who have a combined net worth of S$12.1 billion. The brothers had previously topped the list each year for the past decade. 

Haidilao shares have more than doubled from HK$17.80 to HK$36.95 so far this year. The rapidly expanding hot pot company now has a market cap of HK$197 billion and trades at around 100 times its earnings.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Jeremy Chia doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned.