Singapore’s exports up 6% on-year in August

2013 port performance

Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) in Singapore rose 6 per cent on-year in August, due to an increase in non-electronic exports which outweighed the decline in electronic exports.

The rise in NODX comes after a 3.3 per cent contraction in the previous month and a 4.6 per cent contraction in June, according to statistics released on Wednesday (Sep 17) by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore.

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On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, NODX increased by 7.6 per cent in August, following the previous month’s 2.5 per cent expansion.

Electronic exports fell 6.9 per cent on-year in August, following the 7.9 per cent decline in the previous month. The decrease was largely due to parts of PCs (-17.3 per cent), integrated circuits (ICs) (-4.2 per cent) and disk drives (-22.5 per cent).

Non-electronic exports expanded by 12.1 per cent in August, in contrast to the 1.1 per cent decline in the previous month. The rise was led by petrochemicals (+39.9 per cent), pharmaceuticals (+26.9 per cent), and structures of ships and boats (+1,337.8 per cent).

On a year-on-year basis, NODX to all of the top 10 markets – except Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand – rose last month. The top three contributors to the rise were South Korea, Taiwan and China.

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Non-oil re-exports (NORX) declined by 5.6 per cent on-year in August, after the 1.7 per cent contraction in the previous month, due to a decrease in both electronic and non-electronic re-exports.

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Electronic re-exports fell by 7.8 per cent last month, following the 0.1 per cent decline in July. The contraction was due to ICs (-14.5 per cent), parts of PCs (-19.4 per cent) and telecommunications equipment (-1.2 per cent).

Non-electronic NORX decreased by 3.3 per cent, after the 3.3 per cent decline in the previous month. The contraction was due to jewellery (-71.6 per cent), civil engineering equipment parts (-46.2 per cent) and primary chemicals (-37.4 per cent).




Source : Channel News Asia | September 17, 2014

Thomas D’Innocenzi

September 17, 2014 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

China still top destination for business expansion by Asian firms


China remains the top destination for business expansion by Asian enterprises. Malaysia took second spot while Singapore and Vietnam are in joint third position as destinations for regional companies to expand. These are findings from the UOB Asian Enterprise Survey 2014 released on Monday (Sep 15).

The survey was conducted among 1,024 business leaders across six markets in Asia. It was to find out what Asian enterprises are doing to fuel their next stage of growth, what their business expansion strategies are, and which markets within Asia are most favoured.

The results show that when it comes to expansion in Asia, companies prefer markets that are home to a large middle-class consumer base or those that offer lower cost manufacturing.

Among the factors driving Asian enterprises to expand abroad is rising labour costs – which is forcing some companies to expand into countries with lower costs to sustain profitability.

Other factors that may influence Asian enterprises to expand regionally include acting on advice of personal and business contacts. These contacts could be those with a similar language or culture, or trade associations and financial advisers.

Meanwhile for Chinese enterprises, many prefer to expand in their domestic market as they are fully aware of the growth potential. The survey showed that more than 40 per cent of Chinese enterprises are looking to invest and expand in Southwestern and Central China.




Source : Channel News Asia | September 15, 2014

Thomas D’Innocenzi

September 16, 2014 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

TAT launches campaigns to woo Western visitors

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is planning major roadshows and travel fairs in Western countries in the last quarter of the year to lure visitors back to the Kingdom.

Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor for Europe, Africa, Middle East and America, said the TAT planned to organise the Seatrade Med Cruise Convention in Barcelona as part of its strategy to promote Thailand in the rapidly growing global cruise market.

TAT will also participate in the Cruise Convention in Singapore in November 2014, after TAT and the Singapore Tourism Board partnered up to invite senior cruise line executives and media from America and Europe for a familiarisation trip from November 17-19.

Other major events to be organised are: OTDYKH – Leisure 2014 in Moscow from September 16-19; Mexico International Luxury Travel Market from September 22-25; Amazing Thailand Road Show in The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France from September 29 to October 2; Feria Internacional de Turismo de Am?rica Latina, Buenos Aires from October 25-28; World Travel Market 2014, United Kingdom from November 3-5 and the International Luxury Travel Market 2014, Cannes, on December 4-5. 

According to Juthaporn, the Seatrade Convention would be the first of a series of travel trade events and roadshows to be organised by TAT in the last few months of 2014, the traditional high season for the Thai tourism industry. 

The event is set for this week, from tomorrow until Thursday. It is Europe’s most important cruise trade show. It is attended by more than 3,000 senior executives.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the total number of international tourist arrivals to Thailand in the January-August period was 15.7 million. Europe accounts for 4.13 million arrivals, with growth of 3.16 per cent over the same period of 2013.

“Europe is proving to be an important source market in these challenging times. The effort is being mounted to ensure the best possible visitor turnout in the last quarter of 2014. Penetrating the cruise market is an important component of this,” she said.

In addition to being a good source of luxury, high-end visitors, cruises are now attracting more young people, small corporate meetings and incentives. 

In Thailand, there are four major ports – Phuket, Samui, Laem Chabang and Bangkok – that can cater to all sizes of cruise ships and also for port of origin, turn-around port, and pre and post tours.

Source : The Nation | September 15, 2014
Thomas D’Innocenzi

September 15, 2014 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

Singapore and Russia look to enhance business cooperation

Russland, Moskau, Basiliuskathedrale

Singapore and Russia have agreed to explore further cooperation in several areas, such as airport management, industrial park and city planning, information and communications technology, education, and healthcare. They also agreed on collaboration in projects in places such as Moscow, St Petersburg and Vladivostok.

Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry announced this on Wednesday (Sep 10) after the Deputy Prime Ministers of both countries took stock of bilateral cooperation over the last five years.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov had co-chaired the Fifth Session of the High-Level Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) in Singapore.

A joint statement noted successful tie-ups such as consultancy services for the marketing and management of the “Moglino” Special Economic Zone in the Pskov region of Russia.

Both sides welcomed talks on a project to set up a technopark in Ramenskoye, as well as an agreement between Business Russia and International Enterprise Singapore to enhance business collaborations from both sides. They also agreed to help Olam International, a major Singapore investor in Russia, complete its planned production capacities there, by the end of this year.

The Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) will convene in Russia next year.




Source : Channel News Asia | September 10, 2014

Thomas D’Innocenzi

September 12, 2014 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

Taiwan, China reopen free trade talks amid protest


Taiwan and China resumed talks on Wednesday (Sep 10) at an undisclosed location on a goods free trade agreement, sparking a protest against secrecy by demonstrators suspicious of closer ties with Beijing.

Economic Affairs Minister Woody Duh told reporters before the talks opened in the afternoon that Taiwan would focus on flat panels, petrochemicals, machine tools and automobiles where its industries are competitive. But his ministry has declined to say where the three-day talks are being held, prompting suspicions from the political opposition and activists opposed to the pact.

“Why are the talks being held when the Legislative Yuan (parliament) is in recess? This is a procedure … intended to skip parliamentary supervision,” activist Chen Wei-ting told reporters as dozens of slogan-chanting demonstrators rallied at the ministry. “The economics ministry would not even reveal the venue of the talks,” Chen added.

The talks had been delayed about five months following a series of major protests led by Chen and other student leaders against parliament’s earlier approval of a services trade agreement with the mainland. That pact provoked an unprecedented occupation of Taiwan’s parliament and mass street protests in March and April.

President Ma Ying-jeou earlier this week repeated his warning against delays in the two pacts, saying Taiwanese industries could be at a disadvantage against their South Korean counterparts once Seoul and Beijing finalise a free trade agreement.

Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved markedly since 2008 after Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan’s Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party came to power, dedicated to strengthening trade and tourism links. He was re-elected in 2012.

In June 2010, the two sides signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, which was widely seen as the boldest step yet towards reconciliation following their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. The goods free trade agreement, like the services trade pact, is a follow-up to the 2010 deal.

But many locals are wary of the fast-warming ties, citing China’s refusal to renounce its use of force against Taiwan should it declare formal independence. Opponents have accused the government of trading Taiwan’s interests to Beijing in exchange for marginal economic benefits – allegations denied by the authorities.

China’s top official in charge of Taiwan affairs Zhang Zhijun in June paid a landmark four-day visit to the island but it was marred by angry protests which forced him to scrap some engagements.




Source : Channel News Asia | September 10, 2014

Thomas D’Innocenzi

September 11, 2014 at 9:54 am Leave a comment

E-commerce changing the landscape of logistics industry

tablet shopping iPad

E-commerce is changing the logistics landscape in Singapore, as new players enter the market to better cater to the changing profiles of both consumers and retailers.

Traditional business-to-business logistics involves the shipment of orders to a centralised distribution centre, before they are delivered to the storefront. But in recent years, the e-commerce ‘business-to-consumer’ model has emerged, and this requires a different set of systems and mindsets.

For instance, online shoppers want to track their purchases and know their likely delivery date. To cater to these eager consumers, logistics providers are adopting a high-speed and customer-centric approach. Logistics firm aCommerce, for example, sends customers SMS shipment notifications, provides real-time delivery status updates and gives its drivers smartphones for all their deliveries.

The company also has its own call centre team to handle rescheduling if a delivery fails to reach the customer the first time. Ms Sabina Chang, CEO of aCommerce (Singapore), said: “Consumers want visibility and transparency in their delivery, and that is what I think many logistics providers can’t provide today.”

From webhosting to warehousing, and picking and packing, new industry players said they can provide solutions from one end of the logistics supply chain to the other, and help smaller retailers that lack sufficient resources and volume to go online.

E-commerce companies like blogshops, for example, tend to have small inventories, but most logistics companies require a minimum volume commitment.

Said Mr Vaibhav Dabhade, co-founder and CEO of Anchanto: “We need more companies that allow e-commerce companies to store and fulfil maybe a few thousand products – that would really meet the needs of smaller retailers. For small or big businesses, we give great flexibility, in that we do not charge a minimum fee, but we charge based on what they consume.”

As new firms enter the market, industry watchers said the main challenge is to keep costs down while still being able to scale up. “Opening up a website, hosting a website, digital marketing – these can be scaled up quite quickly,” said Mr Sachin Mittal, vice-president of equity research at DBS Bank. “But how fast can you scale up people on the ground, how fast can you scale up right deliveries in right time? That is the perennial challenge for logistics.”

The e-commerce market in Singapore was estimated to be worth more than S$2 billion in 2013. It is expected to grow in line with its Asian peers, at an average annual rate of about 30 per cent over the next four years.


Source : Channel News Asia | September

September 10, 2014 at 9:54 am Leave a comment

China August trade surplus up 77.8% on-year at record US$49.8b


China’s trade surplus surged to a record US$49.8 billion in August, official data showed on Monday (Sep 8), as imports surprisingly fell for a second straight month while export growth slowed.

Imports fell 2.4 per cent year-on-year to US$158.6 billion, the General Administration of Customs announced, while exports increased 9.4 per cent to US$208.5 billion. Imports, which had declined 1.6 per cent in July, worsened further in August and failed to match the median forecast of a 2.7 per cent increase in a Wall Street Journal survey of 15 economists.

Export growth slowed from July’s gain of 14.5 per cent, but beat the median expectation of a gain of 9.2 per cent. The surplus, meanwhile, bested the previous all-time high of US$47.3 billion recorded last month. It also exceeded the median forecast of US$42 billion.

The results came on the heels of data showing softness in China’s economy during the current third quarter, leading economists to stress that authorities will likely take further steps to boost growth. Growth in manufacturing activity slowed in August, two closely watched surveys showed last week. In July, China’s bank lending plunged and growth in key indicators such as industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment slowed from the previous month.


Analysts say that China’s growth outlook is being weighed down by trouble in the country’s huge property sector – where new home prices in August posted their fourth consecutive month-on-month decline – and the waning effect of stimulus measures taken earlier this year to juice growth. “We expect the government to continue to roll out small, targeted easing measures to offset the ongoing property market correction,” Nomura economists said in a note reacting to the trade data.

China’s economy expanded a stronger-than-expected annualised 7.5 per cent in the April to June quarter, picking up from 7.4 per cent during January to April, which had been the worst since a similar expansion in July to September 2012.

The weak performance in the first quarter this year prompted authorities from April to begin introducing measures to boost economic growth through steps such as tax breaks for small enterprises, targeted infrastructure spending and lending incentives in rural areas and for small companies.

China’s property woes can be seen reflected in the past two months of weak imports, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics. “Slower import growth reflects cooling investment, particularly in the property sector, which has weighed on commodity demand,” he said in a note after the trade data release. “That said, the weakness in commodity imports has also been magnified by the sharp falls in commodity prices in recent months.”

Highlighting China’s importance as a global growth engine, the August trade data came as Japan announced earlier Monday that its economy, the world’s third largest, shrank a revised 7.1 per cent on an annualised basis in the April to June quarter – larger than earlier reported – after a sales tax increase dented consumer spending.

China in March set its annual growth target for 2014 at about 7.5 per cent, the same objective as last year. The economy grew 7.7 per cent in 2013, matching 2012’s result which was the worst since 1999.


Source : Channel News Asia | September 8, 2014

Thomas D’Innocenzi

September 9, 2014 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

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