ST June 16, 2009But today, the Straits Times also reports that Singaporeans are spending big in the Great Singapore Sale, even bigger than they did one year ago at this time:
Retail sales plunge in April
Biggest drop in 10 years due to lower sales of big-ticket items like cars
By Gabriel Chen
RETAIL sales in April plunged the most in a decade as the economic crisis crunched consumer spending on items such as motor vehicles and computers.
There were some bright spots in the new numbers - jewellery, watches and other small-ticket items held up - but the overall picture was one of gathering gloom in the retail sector as unemployment rose and confidence sank.
The retail sales index slumped 11.7 per cent from a year ago, its worst showing since a 12.7 per cent fall in January 1999.
June 16, 2009Meanwhile the real estate experts keep insisting that the property market cannot be doing well. In fact, they have been saying this for at least the past nine or ten months. See this article from Saturday's Straits Times:
GREAT SINGAPORE SALE
Recession, what recession?
Singaporeans are spending big in this year's GSS.
By Reico Wong
SINGAPOREANS are spending big bucks at this year's Great Singapore Sale.
According to credit card figures released by MasterCard on Tuesday, the first GSS weekend saw Singapore cardholders chalking up bills of US$26.3 million (S$38.3 million) - an increase of seven per cent from the same period last year.
Locals were also swiping their credit cards more furiously, with the number of transactions they made in the first weekend rising 15 per cent from last year to 283,703 this year.
ST June 13, 2009But two days later, we see that contrary to what Ms Koh had said, the call for new homes is not very patchy at all. In fact, the sales figures in May 2009 were almost as high as the all-time high in Singapore's history (August 2007):
Property market warning
Analysts point to over-supply and weak rental demand
By Joyce Teo
THE optimism in Singapore's property market is unsustainable, given an impending over-supply of new flats, weak rental demand and the fact that the country remains in a recession.
That is the pessimistic view of two research houses, which concluded that the price recovery is highly fragile.
Citigroup said the market is not at the start of a cyclical upswing and that the spike in home prices cannot last. 'We caution against over-optimism, because fundamentally the market is not ready for a sustained price recovery,' analyst Wendy Koh wrote in a report on Thursday.
In the same report, she downgraded Allgreen to 'sell', putting the developer in the same 'sell' basket as City Developments, CapitaLand and Keppel Land. Citi also downgraded Wing Tai to 'hold'.
While there has been strong resale demand, the call for new homes is patchy and rental demand remains weak, Ms Koh said.
We learn that the job market was very poor in the first three months of the year:
ST June 15, 2009
Merry May for home sales
By Joyce Teo
SALES of new private homes rocketed to an 'outstanding level' last month thanks to price cuts and the share market rally boosting buyer confidence.
Recession-defying numbers out on Monday showed there were 1,668 units sold in May, just a tad below the all-time high of 1,731 set in the boomtime month of August 2007.
Sales were also well ahead of the already-strong developer sales of 1,214 units in April and 1,220 in March.
This has encouraged 'many speculators' who were sitting on the fence to take action and strike while the iron is hot, taking advantage of the low prices in the market across all levels, he said.
Other experts cited pent-up demand and buyers' fear of missing the boat as other factors behind the high sales.
Developers lifted a gear last month as well, launching 1,161 new homes, up from 1,085 in April, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority data.
ST June 16, 2009But you would never have guessed this, if you had visited the PC Show at Suntec City last weekend:
Q1 job market dismal
Net loss of 6,200 jobs; workers are taking longer to find new jobs
By Aaron Low
THE latest quarterly labour market data paint as dismal a picture since Sars hit Singapore six years ago.
In the first three months of this year, there was a net loss of 6,200 jobs - far worse than the 1,000 estimated at end-April by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Earnings also fell, unemployment rose and people took a longer time to get another job, said MOM yesterday when it released the finalised job market figures for the January to March period.
ST June 15, 2009So dear readers, what's your take?
PC Show crowds surge
By Chua Hian Hou
THE four-day PC Show pulled in a record 1.13 million visitors, as Singapore's consumer confidence surged in the wake of news of 'green shoots', that the global economic crisis might have bottomed out and could be on the mend.
Last year, before the economy began its plunge, 1.1 million people visited the event, Singapore's longest-running consumer technology event.
Consumer spending at the show could even surpass last year's take of $51.7 million. As at 6pm last night, three hours before the close of the show, exhibitors had reported receipts of more than $48 million.
PC Show organiser Lines Exposition and Management Services project manager Gillian Loh said that she was confident 'we can top last year's figure'.