Singapore Savings Bonds for Individual Investors 30 March 2015

Singapore, 30 March 2015…The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today provided more information on the features of Singapore Savings Bonds. This followed Senior Minister of State Mrs Josephine Teo’s announcement that the Government and MAS would introduce the Savings Bonds programme to provide individual investors with a long-term savings option that offers safe returns . This will expand the range of simple, low-cost investment options available to individual investors to help them meet their long-term financial goals and retirement needs.

2        Singapore Savings Bonds are backed by the Singapore Government, with features that make them accessible and suitable to individual investors:

i.    Principal guaranteed: Investors will always get their investment amount back in full. In other words, they will not suffer any capital losses.

ii.    Term of ten years: This allows individuals to save for the long term and receive higher long-term interest rates (which comprise what investors call “term-premium”).

iii.    Step-up interest: Investors will earn interest that is linked to long-term Singapore Government Securities (SGS) rates. Unlike SGS that pay the same coupon each year, Savings Bonds will pay coupons that “step-up” or increase over time. As a result, the average interest rate is higher the longer the Savings Bonds are held.

iv.    Monthly issuance: This makes Savings Bonds accessible on a regular basis.

v.    Flexible redemption: Bond-holders can choose to get their money back in any given month, with no penalty. This means that individual investors do not have to decide upfront how long they wish to invest.

vi.    Small minimum investment amount: A minimum of $500, and in subsequent multiples of $500 up to a limit to be announced later. A limit will help to maximise participation and to ensure a broad reach.

vii.    Only individuals can apply for and hold Savings Bonds.

3        A factsheet summarising the features of the Savings Bonds is available in the Annex.

4        MAS expects to launch the Savings Bonds programme in the second half of 2015. MAS will provide information on how to apply for Savings Bonds closer to the launch date.


Sembcorp Marine 30 march 2015

Seems like it is once again approaching $2.90
Look to see if this is able to act as a support again
Can consider to enter after rebounding off from $2.90
However, one thing to note is that long term, the stock is still trending downwards, as seem from the 20, 50, and 200 days moving averages, which pose strong resistance
After which, $3 – $3.19 might be the next resistance
A successful breakout above the 20 days and 50 days moving average will be good

Time frame: 3 months – 1 year

Sembcorp Marine (3)

Osim 30 march 2015

Inverted hammer candlestick
Possibly early trend changing signal
50 days moving average looking to act as additional support with $1.985
Stochastic signals showing in oversold region
Entry: $1.985 – $2
Target: $2.10
Upside: 5.7%
Time frame: 2 weeks – 1 month

By looking at the last candlestick, we can get a rough idea of the trading momentum for that day.

Although sellers are able to drive the prices down, at some point during trading, buyers were actually able to drive the prices up.

This could be a early warning signal for potential trend reversal in time to come.


Yellen says rate increase may be warranted later in year, The Washington Post 27 March 2015

March 27 at 8:27 PM

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said Friday that any increase in rock-bottom interest rates to “more normal” levels would be gradual and that rates would remain low “for some time” while the economy continues to recover.

But she also said the effects of central bank policy can take a while to kick in and cautioned that the Fed should not wait too long before taking its first step in six years toward traditional interest rate levels.

For months, investors have been scrutinizing Federal Reserve meetings and speeches for hints about when “liftoff” — the first rate increase in more than six years — will take place. The federal funds rate is one of the central bank’s main tools for stimulating or slowing the U.S. economy and a key benchmark for other interest rates.

While some say a rate increase could arrive as early as June, most investment advisers now expect it would take place no sooner than September.

Yellen said that she believes that “the appropriate time has not yet arrived,” but expects that “conditions may warrant an increase in the federal funds rate target sometime this year.”

The Federal Reserve is eager to get liftoff because it has been trying to chart a course back to normal interest rates, a level its members believe should eventually be about 3.5 to 4 percent. For more than six years, the central bank has kept interest rates at or near zero percent, a level that has allowed households and corporations to reduce debt and lock in low long-term rates.

But the low interest rates mean that the Fed would not have its most important tool at its disposal if an economic crisis called for new stimulus. That might force it to turn to un­or­tho­dox methods, such as purchases of mortgages and bonds as it did at the depths of the recent recession.

“Beginning the normalization of policy will be a significant step toward the restoration of the economy’s normal dynamics, allowing monetary policy to respond to shocks without recourse to unconventional tools,” Fed vice chairman Stanley Fischer said on Monday in a speech to the Economic Club of New York.

But the Fed might feel worried about potential risks of using those unconventional tools given its already bloated balance sheet from its last intervention in bond markets during the recession, Yellen said.

Yellen said that while there was no reason to raise rates now, the Fed must be ready to do so in the future.

“Policymakers cannot wait until they have achieved their objectives to begin adjusting policy,” Yellen said in a speech at a research conferencesponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

She said postponing a rate increase for too long could encourage investors to take too many risks, given the low interest rates, “potentially undermining the stability of the financial markets.”

The Fed’s current targets are 5.0 to 5.2 percent unemployment and 2 percent inflation. Yellen said that inflation is currently depressed by the fall in oil prices and other one-time factors the Fed regards as “transitory.” As a result, she said that she might favor raising rates ahead of any indications that prices excluding the energy market started picking up significantly. Otherwise, she said, the Fed would risk “significantly overshooting” its inflation target.

However, Yellen stuck to her usual stance favoring low interest rates over the short and medium term to continue supporting the recovery. She noted that while payroll gains averaging about 275,000 a month were “well above the pace needed” to lower the unemployment rate, “we still have some way to go to reach” the Fed’s employment goal.

She said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the economy, citing employment gains, the windfall from lower energy prices, continued increases in household wealth, and a relatively high level of consumer confidence.

But Yellen warned that not all sectors of the economy are doing as well. She said that the strong dollar was hurting exports, low oil prices were prompting cutbacks in drilling activity, and the recovery in residential construction remained “subdued.” She added that “the economy in an ‘underlying’ sense remains quite weak by historical standards.”

Yellen also responded to lawmakers who have rallied around a monetary policy formula created by conservative Stanford University economist John Taylor. Following the formula would result in rates much higher than they are now.

“Under normal circumstances, simple monetary policy rules, such as the one proposed by John Taylor, could help us decide when to raise the federal funds rate,” Yellen said. But she added, “I would assert that simple rules are, well, too simple, and ignore important complexities of the current situation.”

Fed open market committee members indicated earlier this month that they expected the path back to higher rates would take longer than they expected just three months ago.

But Fischer said that “a smooth path upward in the federal funds rate will almost certainly not be realized, because, inevitably, the economy will encounter shocks — shocks like the unexpected decline in the price of oil, or geopolitical developments that may have major budgetary and confidence implications, or a burst of greater productivity growth, as the Fed dealt with in the mid-1990s.”

Oil prices surge after Saudi air strikes in Yemen, BusinessTimes 26 March 2015

26 Mar1:16 PM

[SINGAPORE] Brent crude oil shot up nearly 6 per cent on Thursday after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies began a military operation in Yemen, but the benchmark later came off its high near US$60 as importers saw no immediate threat to supplies.

The strike against Houthi rebels, who have driven the president from Yemen’s capital Sanaa, could stoke concerns about the security of oil shipments from the Middle East.

Oil prices jumped as traders and importers said they were worried the Saudi attack was a sign that fighting in the oil-rich Middle East was spreading and out of control.

Brent futures rose as high as US$59.71 a barrel, up almost 6 per cent since their last settlement, before dipping back to US$58.09 a barrel at 0504 GMT, up US$1.61.

US crude was up US$1.83 at US$51.04 a barrel.

The risk from the attack in Yemen was heightened because the Houthis have received some support from Iran, Saudi Arabia’s long-time rival for dominance in the Middle East. “The Saudis have taken military action because they have said the Houthis are getting support from the Iranians,” said Li Guofu, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the China Institute of International Studies. “This is an indication that the war may gradually spread into a regional conflict. This is something the Chinese government is very much concerned about,” he said.

Beyond oil, the Middle East is also the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via Qatar and Yemen, but importers said they were not immediately worried. “Gas supply from Yemen has no disruption so far. We are not concerned given the supply surplus and weak demand currently,”said Lee Sang-wook, spokesman at state-run Korea Gas Corp.

Like oil, LNG prices have fallen by more than half in the last 10 months as surging output has been met with slowing economic growth, especially in Asia.

Still, with the global crude glut built up from US shale oil and strong output from producers such as Russia, there is little immediate worry about any shortages developing. “Just because Saudi and others conducted air strikes doesn’t mean the oil market becomes suddenly tight,” said Masaki Suematsu, manager of the energy team at brokerage Newedge Japan in Tokyo, although he cautioned that the conflict could spiral further beyond the airstrikes.

Asian officials also said the fighting occurred near the Red Sea, waters that Arab Gulf supplies do not pass on their way to Asia. European importers may be more concerned as Arab producers have to ship oil past Yemen’s coastlines via the Gulf of Aden to get to the Suez Canal.

The waters between Yemen and Djibouti, at less than 40 kms (25 miles) wide, are considered a “chokepoint” to global oil supplies by the US Energy Information Administration and the region is heavily militarized by western navies.


Heinz, Kraft to merge as Buffett, 3G reinvest US$10b, BusinessTimes 25 March 2015

25 Mar7:40 PM

[NEW YORK] Heinz and Kraft will merge to become North America’s third largest food and beverage company, the two US food giants said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

Heinz’s current shareholders will have a 51 per cent stake in the new Kraft Heinz Company, with the rest to be held by Kraft’s shareholders, the statement said.

Heinz’s controlling shareholders, US billionaire Warren Buffet and 3G Capital of Brazil, will reinvest US$10 billion dollars in the new group.

This will make it possible to offer Kraft shareholders a special dividend of US$16.50 along with their 49 per cent stake in the new company, the statement said.

The makers of Heinz Ketchup and Oscar Meyer Weiners are banking on “significant synergy opportunities with a strong platform for organic growth in North America, as well as global expansion, by combining Kraft’s brands with Heinz’s international platform,” it said.

The merged company expects to pull in revenues of about US$28 billion, it said, noting that it will boast eight brands that earn more than US$1.0 billion each and five in the US$500 million to US$1.0 billion range.