Daily Morning Note – 14 September 2021

Dear valued client,

Asian stocks look set for a steady open after the U.S. snapped a five-day drop ahead of inflation data that could impact expectations of the likely timeline for a reduction in Federal Reserve stimulus. U.S.-traded Chinese technology shares declined for a fourth day on Beijing’s regulatory crackdown. The S&P 500 rose as energy companies paced gains after crude oil extended a rally to a six-week high. And commodities prices have surged to a 10-year high.

China’s economy likely slowed further in August, with data on consumption, industrial output and investment due Wednesday set to reveal the damage caused by a delta outbreak. The extent of the slowdown will be closely watched for signs that it’s serious enough to prompt authorities to change their current stance of slowly withdrawing liquidity from markets and keeping stimulus limited. Meanwhile, China urged the U.S. to take steps to repair their frayed relations, as the Biden administration considers a new investigation into Chinese industrial subsidies. And China Evergrande, which is quickly becoming the country’s biggest financial worry, is facing mounting protests by homebuyers, retail investors and even its own empl


BREAKING NEWS

SG News

Private commercial landlords in Singapore will be required to provide two weeks of rental waiver to qualifying tenants under the new Rental Waiver Framework tabled in Parliament on Monday. As part of the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment No 4) Bill, the Rental Waiver Framework is being implemented to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and specified non-profit organisations (NPOs) affected by the tightened safe-management measures during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) or P2HA. In July, when the second P2HA period was announced, the Singapore Retailers Association had urged a mandatory rental rebate of at least 50 per cent for as long as the tightened restrictions are in place. Under the framework, eligible tenants will receive a total of about 1.5 months of rental support, of which a month comes from the government’s Rental Support Scheme (RSS) payout announced earlier this year. The first RSS payout had been disbursed starting Aug 6.

Singapore new private home sales down 24% to 1,211 units in August. New private home sales slipped in August after hitting a six-month high the previous month. Based on caveats lodged, analysts estimated that developers in Singapore sold 1,211 new private homes in August, down 23.8 per cent from July’s 1,589 units. Despite the lower numbers, Ismail Gafoor, chief executive officer of PropNex, said last month’s sales were “relatively healthy”. “It demonstrated the market’s resiliency in spite of the lack of new launches, the Hungry Ghost Festival as well as the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions from 22 July to 18 August,” he said. Typically, the “hungry ghosts” month is a quiet period for the property market. Comparing year on year, the estimates are 3.7 per cent lower than the 1,258 new private homes sold in August 2020.

Patrick Grove, an Internet entrepreneur, is weighing listing a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in Singapore, according to people familiar with the matter, joining the race to be the first to sponsor blank-cheque vehicles under the new rules unveiled by the city-state last week. The chairman of Catcha Group, an Internet-focused investment company in South-east Asia, has had discussions with Singapore Exchange about a potential listing, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks are private. The Australian businessman already took his blank-cheque firm named Catcha Investment Corp public in the US earlier this year, raising US$300 million.

The manager of Prime US Reit is in discussions with tenant WeWork on the resolution of the latter’s lease obligations at Tower 1 at Emeryville, a Class A office property in California. The statement comes after the local San Francisco press reported that WeWork will be closing its co-working operation at the building. WeWork occupies 56,977 square feet (sq ft) of space within the real estate investment trust’s 3.89 million sq ft portfolio, the manager said in a bourse filing on Monday. The co-working operator also contributes about 2.5 per cent of Prime US Reit’s cash rental income as at June 30. If the counterparty honours its obligations, such protections will cover the tenant’s monthly lease obligations through as much as end-2022.

Frasers Property’s executive condominium (EC) Parc Greenwich moved about 65 per cent or 322 of its 496 units over its launch weekend on Sept 11 and 12. Prices started from S$895,000 for the two-bedroom units, S$1.05 million for the three-bedroom units, S$1.2 million for the three-bedroom-plus-study units, S$1.38 million for the four-bedroom units and S$1.7 million for the five-bedroom units. The apartments were sold at an average price of about S$1,200 per square foot, developers Frasers Property and CSC Land said in a joint release on Monday. All the two-bedroom and five-bedroom apartments were said to be fully snapped up, while the three-bedroom apartments sold 220 of its 370 units and the four-bedroom apartments sold 74 of the 98 units.


US News

Apple is holding its annual iPhone event on Tuesday, the company’s seventh virtual launch in a row due to the pandemic. The company is expected to introduce new iPhones and updates to its AirPods and Apple Watch, according to analysts. Apple’s hype-filled fall launches are a signature of the company. They garner worldwide media attention, millions of viewers on YouTube and Apple’s website, and set the stage for a holiday season marketing blitz when Apple’s sales are highest. All of Apple’s product segments have been on a tear this year as people work from home. Last quarter, iPhone revenue was up 50% year over year, while Mac and iPad revenues were up 16% and 12%, respectively, over the period. Its “other products” business, which includes devices like watches and AirPods, was up 40% year over year. Apple can keep the momentum going with a fresh slate of new products ahead of the holidays. Last year due to Covid, Apple revealed its new watches in September and then followed with an October iPhone 12 event. The iPhone 12 introduced an all-new design and 5G.

Toast is gearing up for an IPO next week that could value the restaurant-tech company at more than $16 billion — that’s about double its valuation from a secondary share sale last November. The company has taken a very uneven path to the New York Stock Exchange. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Toast was thriving by selling technology to restaurants that helped them combine their payment systems with things like inventory management and multi-location controls for eateries with more than one site. Investors valued the company at $5 billion in February 2020. Two months later, Toast slashed about 50% of its workforce and froze hiring as coronavirus cases surged and businesses shut down. CEO Chris Comparato wrote in a blog post at the time that in March, “as a result of necessary social distancing and government-mandated closures, restaurant sales declined by 80 percent in most cities.”

Oracle shares fell as much as 3% in extended trading on Monday after the enterprise software maker reported fiscal first-quarter revenue that came in under analysts’ expectations. Revenue increased by 4% year over year in the quarter, which ended on Aug. 31, according to a statement. In the previous quarter Oracle’s revenue had gone up 8%. With respect to guidance, analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting fiscal second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.08 per share and $10.25 billion in revenue, which works out to almost 5% revenue growth. Oracle’s largest business segment, cloud services and license support, generated $7.37 billion in revenue, which is up 6% and below the StreetAccount consensus estimate of $7.41 billion.

Oil prices rose to a six-week high on Monday as US output remains slow to return two weeks after Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast and worries another storm could affect output in Texas this week. Those price gains came even though the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) trimmed its world oil demand forecast for the last quarter of 2021 due to the Delta coronavirus variant. Brent futures rose 59 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to settle at US$73.51 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 73 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to settle at US$70.45.

Walmart denied agreeing to partner with Litecoin, refuting an earlier “inauthentic” statement that sent the cryptocurrency soaring as much as 33%. According to the release on GlobeNewswire, Walmart would start letting its customers pay with Litecoin, a relatively obscure instrument that isn’t among the top 10 cryptocurrencies. Company founder Charlie Lee described the report and tweet as an “unfortunate situation.” In other crypto news, Coinbase is looking to raise $1.5 billion from a bond sale and Cathie Wood’s Ark is letting one of its funds invest in Canadian Bitcoin ETFs.


Source: SGX Masnet, The Business Times, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, CNBC, PSR

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