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Hong Kong’s glut of unsold flats could put more pressure on prices

Hong Kong home builders could face greater pressure to slash ­prices as the number of completed but unsold new flats they held increased at the end of last year. Analysts said some home builders would offload stock by cutting prices by 5 per cent to 10 per cent from the current levels on completed unsold units, stepping up efforts to lower inventory as the government’s proposed vacancy tax looms. The city’s developers held 3,295 unsold homes which were completed in 2017 and 2018 as of December, about 10 per cent…

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Singapore 

Chinese New Year hongbao: How much should you put in those red packets in 2019?, Singapore News

Ang Bao or red packets are traditional gifts given among friends and family every Chinese New Year. Chinese tradition favours cash incentives as gifts rather than other material presents. These monetary gifts are packed into red envelopes, with red being the colour of good luck and prosperity. Ang Baos are usually given at family gatherings, and children are particularly excited about receiving them. There are certain do’s and don’ts related to the giving and receiving of Ang Bao so let’s take a look at the common practices. For starters, the…

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Bacteria for piglets and Chinese infants spur Li Ka-shing’s gut instinct to put his money behind this US biomedical firm

A company backed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing has reintroduced a missing beneficial gut bacteria to more than 10,000 American babies. Now it is eyeing China’s babies – and piglets. Evolve BioSystems, a California probiotics products developer, is in talks with Zhejiang University to conduct clinical trials on more than 4,000 pigs this year in the province to improve stock survival rates and cure gut diseases in piglets, said chief executive Timothy Brown. China’s quest for the cutting edge in surgical robotics It is also seeking to reintroduce the…

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Singapore 

Singapore-Malaysia tensions put Lion City’s lawyers to the test, Singapore News

Singapore’s government lawyers played a crucial role in negotiations and providing advice to officials as the Lion City’s ties with Malaysia were “put to the test” in 2018, the country’s attorney general said on Monday, a day ahead of talks between the two neighbours over their recently frayed ties. Lucien Wong, the government’s top lawyer, did not mention the Tuesday meeting between Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah, but his speech to the legal community outlined the extent to which many of the differences between…

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Vanished oil tycoon Ye Jianming’s office floors in Hong Kong put on sale again within a month of failed auction

A distressed asset formerly owned by the fallen oligarch Ye Jianming’s China Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) is on the market again after its first auction flopped in November. The three floors of office space at Convention Plaza in Wan Chai, for which CEFC paid a record HK$1.38 billion (US$180 million) in 2016, will be closed for tender on January 30 at noon, according to JLL, which was appointed as sole agent for the public tender by the receivers of the property. “It is to be sold on an ‘as-is’ basis,…

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Singapore 

90 firefighters put out blaze at Sungei Kadut furniture warehouse after 4 hours; no one injured, Singapore News

SINGAPORE – A fire broke out at a single-storey furniture warehouse in Sungei Kadut early on Monday (Dec 17). The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that it was alerted to the fire at about 3am. Upon arriving at 31 Sungei Kadut Street 2, it found the warehouse fully engulfed in flames. “SCDF resources were quickly deployed around the premises – measuring approximately 100m by 80m – to contain the fire and prevent its spread to surrounding buildings,” the SCDF said in a Facebook post. “Led by the 4th SCDF…

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Oneworld prepared for Qatar Airways to leave but it is not giving up on trying to convince them to stay put

Oneworld is braced for the exit of gulf carrier Qatar Airways, but the airline alliance has made a plea for the Gulf carrier to stay within the global airline grouping. Despite the fissures in the global pact, CEO of the alliance Rob Gurney said in an exclusive interview with the Post that the group was ploughing on with its biggest expansion of member airlines in several years. Qatar Airways remained a member of the airline club as of the conclusion of the biannual Oneworld board meeting in New York last…

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The Fed’s quest for a ‘neutral’ interest rate has put the markets on edge. It shouldn’t

“Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are?” The opening line from this children’s nursery rhyme has a surprising amount of relevance to today’s markets. The star in question is actually the “R-star” – meaning the level for interest rates that separates a loose monetary policy from a restrictive one. Conceptually it’s relatively straightforward, referring to the real short-term interest rate that would prevail in an economy at equilibrium, or the interest rate you would expect in “normal” conditions. This bit of jargon typically thrown around by policymakers…

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China 

Staying put: small China firms postpone plans to move to Vietnam after trade war truce

Chinese export manufacturers have seized on the weekend’s trade war truce to reconsider moving their operations to Vietnam, where the costs of relocation are high and rising. The 90-day stay on a rise in US tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese exports – from 10 per cent to 25 per cent – has reassured companies enough to put their moving plans on hold. A 10 per cent tariff was seen as difficult but manageable for most businesses, but a 25 per cent tariff would have been the death knell…

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US-China trade war could put a huge damper on Chinese demand for high-end American clocks

Mechanical clocks have become the latest victim of the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing. A Chinese distributor of high-end mechanical clocks made in the US said recently the sales outlook for the goods on the Chinese mainland appears challenging as the impact of a 10 per cent tariff begins to take effect. Meanwhile, the outlook for high-end European clocks appears brighter, as these products are set to enjoy a drop in Chinese import duties. “At the beginning of the year, I was very confident, but this year is…

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