Inflation hits poorest 20% twice as hard

Source: Straits Times, 25 Aug 2009

This group was affected most by food and housing prices in first six months

By Joyce Teo

SINGAPORE’s poorest 20 per cent were hit twice as hard by inflation than better off households during the first half of the year, new Government figures show.

Largely because of rising food and housing prices, the low-income group experienced inflation at 1.6 per cent in the six months to June, compared to 0.7 per cent for the middle 60 per cent and 0.9 per cent for the top 20 per cent of households.

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Investment products: Banks tighten rules

Source: Straits Times, 09 July 2009

Cooling off period; extra care with elderly investors; better training
By Fiona Chan

BANKS are becoming stricter on how they sell investment products after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) found lapses in the sale of structured products linked to failed investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Just hours after the MAS released its investigation findings yesterday afternoon, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) announced a raft of measures that the industry will put in place to protect the interests of consumers who buy investment products.

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Payouts just a fraction of total cash invested

Source: Straits Times, 08 July 2009

THE compensation offered by financial institutions to investors pales in comparison to the total amount that was initially invested in the toxic structured notes, according to latest figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Brokerage firm UOB Kay Hian offered the lowest proportion – just 1 per cent or $90,000 of the amount spent on the Lehman-linked notes it sold.

Hong Leong Finance paid out the highest proportion – 66.9 per cent or $57.6 million – to investors who complained that they were mis-sold.

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MAS to boost watch on banks

ST link

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will continue to step up its supervision of banks and financial markets to ensure they stay resilient in this and future financial crises, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

‘Although the global financial condition has stabilised, the situation is fragile and we need to remain vigilant,’ said Mr Goh, who is also MAS chairman, in an addendum to President S R Nathan’s address at the opening of Parliament.

While banks here have not been directly affected by the global financial meltdown, they are still susceptible to ‘risks of contagion’ from problems elsewhere and may also be hit by ‘second-round effects of the economic slowdown’.

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MAS to allow weaker S$

CURRENCY analysts expect the Singdollar to weaken somewhat in the months ahead after a central bank policy tweak. Yesterday’s move by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was less drastic than what some analysts had expected.

The central bank is lowering by a notch the band in which the Singdollar trades against a basket of undisclosed currencies. But its neutral stance and the band’s width are unchanged.

Analysts say the MAS seems to be mindful of the risk of deflation, or falling prices.

The MAS said ‘there is no reason for any undue weakening of the Singapore dollar’ as the economy has ‘sound fundamentals and a resilient financial system’.The Singdollar was trading at $1.50 to the greenback late yesterday.

Economy forecast to shrink by 6-9 per cent

ST link

Downward revision by Govt comes on the heels of a poor first quarter
By Alvin Foo

SINGAPORE’S full-year economic growth forecast was revised dramatically downwards by the Government yesterday – the third such change in less than four months.

The Government now expects Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink between 6 and 9 per cent this year, instead of the 2 to 5 per cent contraction thought previously.

The downgrade was due to a sharp deterioration in the first quarter and weak global outlook for the rest of the year, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

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PM Lee says Singapore to revise down 2009 GDP outlook

CNA link

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong believes Singapore’s growth forecast for this year will have to be revised downwards.

Although the current estimate is between minus 2 and minus 5 per cent, Mr Lee does not expect the contraction to hit double digits.

One bright spot – unemployment numbers are better than he feared.

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Banks get MAS guide on treating customers fairly

ST link

Random checks to be made to see if overall goal of fair dealing is being achieved
By Gabriel Chen

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has told financial institutions in the country that it wants them to shape up on treating customers fairly.

It has issued a 32-page document detailing what it wants banks to do. And if that is not clear enough, it has even sketched out scenarios to illustrate its stand on how customers should or should not be treated.

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