US, China need to reverse course in trade row to help economy: OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development forecast the United States would outpace other big developed economies with growth of 2.8 percent this year. (AFP)
Updated 21 May 2019
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US, China need to reverse course in trade row to help economy: OECD

  • OECD: The global economy would grow by only 3.2 percent this year
  • China, which is not an OECD country, has been seeking to stimulate its economy

PARIS: Economic growth in China and the United States could be 0.2-0.3 percent lower on average by 2021 and 2022 if the two countries do not row back on tit-for-tat tariffs in their dispute that has dampened the global economic outlook, the OECD said on Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump has raised tariffs on $200 billion on Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent in the long-running trade row, while Beijing said it would hit back by lifting tariffs on $60 billion in US goods.
The global economy would grow by only 3.2 percent this year as growth in trade flows is nearly halved this year to only 2.1 percent, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in its biannual Economic Outlook.
That would be the slowest pace of global economic growth since 2016 and was down marginally from the Paris-based policy forum’s last forecast in March for growth of 3.3 percent.
The world economy should fare slightly better next year with a growth rate of 3.4 percent, but only if the United States and China pull back from tariff hikes announced this month.
The OECD said growth in China and the United States could come in 0.2-0.3 percent lower on average by 2021 and 2022 if the two nations did not reverse course.
Without taking the latest round of tariff increases into account, the OECD forecast the United States would outpace other big developed economies with growth of 2.8 percent this year, up from the 2.6 percent the organization had projected in March.
The world’s biggest economy was seen slowing to 2.3 percent next year even if the new tariff hikes are not carried through.
China, which is not an OECD country, has been seeking to stimulate its economy but growth was still seen easing from 6.2 percent this year to 6.0 percent in 2020, the lowest rate in 30 years for the world’s second-biggest economy.
Global investors are closely watching to see how much more support Beijing will inject to shore up growth after China already loosened monetary policy, cut taxes and allowed local governments to issue special bonds to fund infrastructure projects.
Japan’s export-dependent economy is suffering from the drop in trade flows with growth expected at only 0.7 percent in 2019 and 0.6 percent in 2020, trimmed from the OECD’s March forecasts of 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.
The euro zone is also paying a heavy price for the global trade slowdown, with its growth seen this year at 1.2 percent before rising to 1.4 percent year. That was slightly better than the 1.0 percent and 1.2 percent expected in March as Italy’s downturn proves slightly less severe than previously expected
Meanwhile, the OECD raised Britain’s growth forecast to 1.2 percent this year from 0.8 percent previously, as the prospect of its exit from the European Union was pushed back. UK growth is expected to fall to 1.0 percent, marginally better than the 0.9 percent expected in March.


Singapore luxury apartment sales surge to 11-year high

Updated 20 September 2019

Singapore luxury apartment sales surge to 11-year high

  • Sales of such apartments also exceeded the numbers racked up for each full year from 2011 to 2018, the consultants’ analysis of transaction data shows

SINGAPORE: Sales of Singapore apartments worth at least S$10 million ($7.3 million) have hit an 11-year high, fueled by increased demand from Chinese millionaires seeking safe-haven assets, say property consultants OrangeTee & Tie.

Investors have long viewed Singapore as an island of stability that attracts the super-rich from its less developed Southeast Asian neighbors, as well as multimillionaires from mainland China.

In the first eight months of 2019, 68 condominium units in the wealthy Asian city-state were sold for S$10 million and more, the highest tally since the corresponding period of 2008.

Sales of such apartments also exceeded the numbers racked up for each full year from 2011 to 2018, the consultants’ analysis of transaction data shows.

Some buyers may have sought an alternative to rival financial hub Hong Kong, hit by protests, while others may have shifted funds from China after its yuan currency was devalued in a trade war with the US, an OrangeTee expert said.

“This may explain why we have observed more foreign buyers, especially mainland Chinese, coming into Singapore lately,” said Christine Sun, its head of research and consultancy.

Mainland Chinese are the biggest group of foreign buyers of Singapore luxury homes.

In Singapore’s prime districts, Chinese citizens bought 76 apartments worth more than S$5 million from January to August, versus 75 purchases by Singaporeans, data until Sept. 19 show.

Expensive apartments in premium neighborhoods are mainly bought by foreigners, because at such high prices Singaporeans have the option to buy landed property, such as bungalows and mansions.

Singapore does not allow foreigners to buy landed homes, except for those on the resort island of Sentosa.

“We do see that even though the stamp duties have increased .... we are still seeing people putting big money on these apartments, predominantly it is more for stability than anything else,” said Boon Hoe Leong, chief operating officer of high-end realtor List Sotheby’s International Realty.

He was referring to measures Singapore adopted last year to cool its real estate market, such as hiking additional stamp duties for foreign buyers to 20 percent from 15 percent.

“They are parking their money here — they know that the Sing dollar won’t depreciate overnight,” he added.