Top News this Week (17 Dec)


Rounding up top investing articles from around the web, including articles shared on Twitter.

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Masks, vaccines: Doctors urge public to protect themselves as flu, Covid-19 cases spike (Straits Times)

For the same week, more than 32,000 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 – 460 were hospitalised and nine needed intensive care. This has added significantly to the bed crunch at public hospitals.

Professor Hsu Li Yang, an infectious diseases expert at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said: “During this holiday season, as upper respiratory tract infections – including Covid-19 cases – rise, it is important to be mindful of others. Wear a mask in crowded places, stay home if you’re unwell, and get the latest flu jab as well as a Covid-19 booster to avoid disrupting your travel plans.”

Will plum state land plots in first half 2024 GLS draw more developers’ bids? (Straits Times)

In a move that could boost flagging developer participation in state land tenders, more private housing sites have been introduced in the first-half 2024 Government Land Sales (GLS) programme in areas that have not seen such tenders for decades.

Sites in areas such as Bayshore and Tampines Street 94 are therefore likely to enjoy pent-up demand.

The list also includes more sites for a new class of long-stay serviced apartments in one-north and River Valley Green, which some analysts say could help diversify development risk.

Developer participation in GLS tenders has dropped noticeably in the past six months, in the face of heightened economic uncertainty, elevated interest rates and the April 2023 round of cooling measures that raised additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) rates, among other things.

Excluding executive condominium (EC) plots, private residential sites received 3.7 bids per site in the second half of 2023, down from an average of 5.2 bids per site in the first half of 2022, ERA Singapore noted.

The property agency expects a further dilution of bids with 10 confirmed list sites slated for release in the first half of 2024.

Emotions run high at Indonesia’s first presidential debate (Straits Times)

ndonesia’s presidential front runner Prabowo Subianto on Dec 12 kicked off the series of televised election debates by riding out a flurry of punches from his opponents on political hot-potato issues, from the controversial Constitutional Court ruling on the minimum age of presidential and vice-presidential candidates to backsliding democracy in the country.

Mr Prabowo, who is Defence Minister; former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan; and former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo took turns to express their opinions on wide-ranging issues, from the separatist conflict in the eastern region of Papua to the rights of religious minorities and the quality of public service.

But as the debate progressed, they wasted no time in hurling barbs and getting at one another’s throats. Their faces turned red and their voices quivered, as their supporters packing the hall cheered them on.

Mr Anies asked Mr Prabowo for his view on the “serious ethical violation” on the court ruling lowering the minimum age for presidential and vice-presidential candidates from 40 to 35 years, paving the way for President Joko Widodo’s 36-year-old son Gibran Rakabuming Raka to join the race as Mr Prabowo’s running mate.

A judicial panel on Nov 7 found the Constitutional Court’s chief justice Anwar Usman, who is the President’s brother-in-law, guilty of a conflict of interest over his part in the ruling.

China vows to boost domestic demand in bid for 2024 recovery (CNBC)

  • China’s leaders pledged to continue proactive fiscal policies and prudent monetary policies.
  • Policy language stresses on stability and “moderately strengthening” fiscal policy are similar to a Politburo statement last Friday.
  • China’s leaders commit to nine-point plan to revive the economy with a focus on high-quality development, including measures to boost domestic demand and tackle the spiraling real estate crisis in the world’s second-largest economy.

Google’s loss to Epic will likely have little impact in the near-term (CNBC)

  • A jury found Google guilty of uncompetitive practices around its Google Play store for Android apps as its trial against Epic Games wrapped Monday.
  • The company could face changes to its billing model for its app store, which the company counts as one of its “services” revenue streams. It could also empower separate antitrust action.
  • Wall Street has so far shrugged off the news, as Google is expected to appeal the ruling, putting off any changes for months to years.

OpenAI’s nonprofit arm showed revenue of $45,000 last year, even though company is worth billions (CNBC)

  • OpenAI’s nonprofit organization generated $44,485 in revenue in 2022, almost entirely from investment income, according to a document filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
  • The filing doesn’t disclose revenue from OpenAI’s for-profit division, which is commercializing ChatGPT.
  • OpenAI’s nonprofit status has come under fire from critics who question how an $86 billion company can be controlled by a charity.

Why Fed rate hikes take so long to affect the economy, and why that effect may last a decade or more (CNBC)

  • The Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes are expected to eventually slow economic growth.
  • Investors may be responding more quickly to interest rate changes, shortening the usual lags.
  • An unexpected 1% increase in interest rates can reduce gross domestic product by 5% for 12 years, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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