Posts Tagged ‘southeast asia’
Bloomberg reports on the economic hit Singapore is taking from an economic downtown in its shipyards.
Customers have dwindled by the week at Indian Masala Hut, a curry stall in Singapore’s shipyard heartland. Manager K. Muralidoss blames the slump in oil rig-building that led to the elimination of thousands of jobs, many held by workers from India and Bangladesh.
“The lunchtime crowd has more than halved,” Muralidoss says, surveying the almost-empty Benoi Road food court, where only four of 12 hawker stalls were open one afternoon last week. As recently as September, he was busy filling orders from companies trying to sate hungry laborers working overtime. “That has come down quite a bit because there are fewer projects being worked on.”
More than $400 billion of proposed energy projects worldwide have been delayed since mid-2014 and pushed into 2017 and beyond, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. In Singapore, the global center for oil-rig construction for decades, the slowdown contributed to the economy contracting the most in four years in the third quarter.
BP Plc abandoned oil exploration off the Great Australian Bight, it said last week, five years after beginning a search for resources in one of the world’s last frontier regions. BP had previously estimated the drilling program would cost more than A$1 billion ($769 million).
Bloomberg’s Pooja Thakur Mahrotri and Frederik Balfour report on how the two Chinese-majority city-states in East Asia are dealing, differently, with real estate prices.
On the surface, the property markets in Singapore and Hong Kong have much in common. The two Asian financial hubs have both moved to rein in runaway home prices in recent years as they sought to make housing more affordable.
Yet, consider how home values in the cities have diverged. Singapore has been successful in damping buyer demand with curbs (prices slumped by the most in seven years last month), while restrictions have had little impact on Hong Kong’s gravity-defying market, which is rebounding after a short-lived dip.
Hong Kong’s resurgent property market poses a headache for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who’s been touting his success cooling property prices ahead of a March vote to determine the city’s leadership for the next five years. Leung has introduced a raft of measures to cool the housing market since 2012 and his record may weigh on China’s decision to keep backing him.
Leung, who hasn’t said whether he’ll seek a second term, has struggled with low popularity through his tenure, including mass democracy protests in 2014 fueled in part by the city’s yawning wealth gap. He received an approval rating of less than 39 percent last month, compared with a high of almost 57 percent before taking office, according to the University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme.