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Singapore’s foreign exchange reserves stood at US$258.17 billion (S$320.44 billion) in March, down slightly from US$259.14 billion in February, the Dow Jones news agency reported, citing data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
In Singapore dollar terms, the foreign exchange reserves were at S$320.21 billion in March, compared with S$320.73 billion in February, the central bank said.
MAS does not give reasons for the increase or decrease in its reserves.
The local aviation sector has been raised to “overweight” from “neutral” on expectations of high traffic growth and rising profits, according to Maybank Investment Bank Research.
The research house said the sector had underperformed the FBM KLCI in 2012 due to depressed earnings, escalating fuel prices and regulatory uncertainty, adding that the sector had de-rated with an average decline of 27.6% in 2012.
But year-to-date for 2013, its top pick, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) gained 15% while the airlines were both up modestly by 6% in share prices.
MAHB shares rose five sen, or 0.83% yesterday to RM6.05, its highest in 16 months. The airport operator has gained 16.12% year-to-date with a 12-month consensus target price of RM6.47.
It is currently channelling its efforts to open KLIA2 on June 28 and closely monitoring the progress of the work being done by the contractors.
MAHB is employing 1,102 new personnel for KLIA2 of whom 746 are in aviation security, 86 in airport fire and rescue services, 98 in engineering and maintenance and 172 in operations services.
“We are now “overweight” on the sector as traffic growth will accelerate and profits will rise, in our view. Furthermore, valuations are undemanding and exhibit value. Volatile fuel price is the primary risk factor.
“Our top picks in order of preference are MAHB, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia Bhd,” Maybank Research analyst Mohshin Aziz wrote in the report.
Limited gains are in store for Indonesia’s stock market as the benchmark index heads toward the 5,000-point level, analysts say, so investors putting money into shares right now might be looking at corporate dividend yields for additional returns.
Alvin Pattisahusiwa, director of investment at Manulife Aset Manajemen Indonesia, suggested there were limited gains ahead, telling Bloomberg News last week that the Jakarta Composite Index’s advance would be capped at as much as 17 percent.
The gauge has already risen 14 percent this year, fueled by a low interest-rate environment, capital inflows and growing corporate profits. It ended up 0.1 percent at 4,926.07 on Friday, after closing at record high earlier in the week.
“Dividend payment, from what has been announced from a few companies, may be bigger than last year’s payout in term of the nominal value,” said Reza Priyambada, head of research at Trust Securities in Jakarta.
“Investors may have entered the market earlier this year with an orientation of a year-long investment, but with the index achieving the target price so quickly, these investors may cut short their ownership to a shorter orientation,” he said.
With most companies having turned in their 2012 income statements, they are now likely to soon report dividends.
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) vice chairman Wallop Wittanakorn said on Monday Prices in the country would likely be raised between 10% and 15%. There were three options open to producers: raise prices and leave quantity unchanged; raise prices and reduce quantity; and reduce quantity and leave prices unchanged.
"In the past, businesses were not allowed to raise prices, but this time the Commerce Ministry should understand the situation because a 10% to 15% increase is neither too much nor too little," Mr Wallop said.
"If it's more than 15% there will be no buyers, but if it's under 10% businesses won't gain anything from it."
The FTI vice chairman said more SMEs would likely shut down by the end of the second quarter. Many could not cope with the 300 baht minimum wage policy.
Wiboonrak Ruamrak, director general of the Department of Internal Trade, said product prices would not change much as demand is low when schools are closed.
The department would ensure that product prices were kept at a reasonable level and prevent businesses from increasing prices unfairly, she said.
Tokyo rose 2.80 percent, or 358.95 points, to 13,192.59—its highest close since August 12, 2008—while Sydney added 0.29 percent, or 14.1 points, to 4,905.5.
Seoul shed 0.44 percent, or 8.54 points, to 1,918.69.
Shanghai closed down 0.62 percent, or 13.71 points, at 2,211.59 in the first session since a long weekend closure, while Hong Kong was flat, edging down 8.85 points to 21,718.05.
– Singapore shed 0.46 percent, or 15.17 points, to end at 3,284.61.
United Overseas Bank shed 0.44 percent to Sg$20.45, while farm commodities supplier Olam dropped 0.60 percent to Sg$1.66.
– Wellington fell 0.81 percent, or 35.77 points, to 4,397.20.
Telecom lost 0.41 percent to end at NZ$2.40, Fletcher Building was off 1.26 percent at NZ$8.65 and Air New Zealand slipped 3.99 percent to NZ$1.445.
– Manila ended flat, edging up 5.08 points to 6,732.22.
SM Investments rose 0.45 percent to 1,117 pesos and Bank of the Philippine Islands advanced 0.88 percent to 103.10 pesos, but Philippine Long Distance Telephone fell 1.80 percent to 2,836 pesos.
– Taipei fell 2.39 percent, or 189.56 points, to 7,752.79.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 1.99 percent to Tw$98.5 while Hon Hai Precision dived 2.77 percent to Tw$80.8.
– Jakarta fell 0.58 percent, or 28.55 points, to 4,897.52.
– Kuala Lumpur was flat, edging down 0.66 points to 1,687.99.
Tenaga Nasional gained 1.2 percent to end at 7.61 ringgit while SP Setia rose 3.0 percent to 3.47. British American Tobacco shed 1.4 percent to close at 62.04 ringgit.
– Mumbai edged down 0.07 percent, or 12.45 points, to 18,437.78.
Engineering giant Larsen and Toubro fell 1.78 percent to 1,324.8 rupees. Sterlite, a Vedanta group local firm, fell 1.85 percent to 87.6 rupees.
– Bangkok was closed for a public holiday
Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
Economist/Hedge Fund Manager
Live Trading News
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