Top News this Week (31 Mar)


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

Next-gen ERP: New vehicles to get on-board units from May, existing motorbikes from June (Straits Times)

New vehicles registered from May 1 will be pre-fitted with equipment for the next-generation ERP system and, at the same time, owners of existing motorcycles will be informed progressively to have their current in-vehicle units (IUs) replaced.

Installation of the new on-board units for existing motorcycles will start from June 1, and motorcycle owners do not have to pay for the installation if the fitting is done within a two-month period stipulated in their notification. Outside this period, it will cost these owners $35 for the installation.

Giving an update on March 28, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said owners of other existing Singapore-registered vehicles such as cars and trucks will be informed progressively to make their installation appointments from the second half of 2024.

2 former Seatrium execs, including ex-Sembcorp Marine CEO, charged with bribing Brazil officials (Straits Times)

Two former executives of offshore and marine (O&M) giant Seatrium (previously known as Sembcorp Marine), were charged with corruption offences on March 28 for paying bribes of more than $20 million to further the company’s business interests in Brazil.

Wong Weng Sun, 62, was charged at Singapore’s State Court with five counts of conspiring to corruptly give gratification to a former consultant with Seatrium, Guilherme Esteves de Jesus (GDJ). Wong was president, executive director and chief executive of Sembcorp Marine for 14 years.

He allegedly bribed the consultant to advance the business interests of Seatrium’s subsidiaries, including Jurong Shipyard, on several occasions between 2009 and 2014. Wong, who was also Jurong Shipyard’s managing director at the time of the offences, was charged with obstruction of justice.

He stepped down from Seatrium in February 2023, following the merger of Sembcorp Marine and Keppel’s O&M unit.

Lee Fook Kang, 75, who was Jurong Shipyard’s senior general manager at the time of the offences, also faces the same five bribery charges.

Over 950,000 HDB households to receive U-Save and S&CC rebates in April (Straits Times)

The rebates – the first quarterly disbursement in the 2024 financial year – are part of the permanent GST Voucher (GSTV) scheme and the Assurance Package, which received a $1.9 billion boost in Budget 2024 to help people cope with an uncertain economic outlook.

Disbursed in April, July, October and January each year, the rebates aim to defray the hike in goods and services tax (GST) and provide cost-of-living support for lower- to middle-income households.

UBS chief’s surprise return to the Swiss banking giant bagged him a $15.9 million paycheck (CNBC)

  • The bank announced in late March that Ermotti would return for a second spell at the helm, replacing Ralph Hamers as UBS undertook the mammoth task of integrating Credit Suisse’s business.
  • In total, the bank’s executive board picked up a 140.3 million Swiss franc compensation package in 2023, a significant increase from the previous year’s 106.9 million francs.

China’s Xi tells U.S. CEOs that bilateral relations can have a ‘brighter future’ (CNBC)

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. executives that bilateral relations can improve, and pledged that Beijing would keep working to improve the business environment.
  • “The relationship cannot go back to the old days, but it can embrace a brighter future,” according to an official English-language readout of Xi’s remarks.
  • The U.S.-China Business Council said in a press release that it “was honored to be invited to and participate in the dialogue with President Xi to discuss our concerns over the decline in trade, investment, and business confidence, as well as our desire to help improve engagement and commercial exchange between our two countries.”

Mumbai overtakes Beijing to become Asia’s billionaire capital for the first time (CNBC)

There are currently 3,279 billionaires globally, a 5% increase from 2023, the report showed. 

According to the country ranking, China still tops the list with 814 billionaires even though the country lost 155 billionaires from a year ago. The U.S. came in second with 800 billionaires while India came in third with 271.

“China had a bad year,” the research firm noted. “Wealth creation in China has gone through deep changes these last few years, with the wealth of billionaires from real estate and renewables down.”

China lifts tariffs on Australian wine, ends three-year freeze in trade (CNBC)

China will lift anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Australian wine from March 29, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, ending three years of punitive levies and offering long-awaited relief to Australian wine producers.

The tariffs, of up to 218.4%, were first imposed in March 2021 for a period of five years along with a host of other trade barriers on Australian commodities when ties soured after Canberra called for a probe into the origins of COVID-19.

Ties have improved significantly since last year, leading China to steadily lifting trade hurdles on Australian goods ranging from barley to coal, and raising hopes the punishing tariffs on shipments to Australia’s top wine export market would soon be removed.

This small Southeast Asian country has ‘engineered’ a society that lives to 100 – here’s how (CNBC)

Singapore is the world’s latest “blue zone” — defined as a place where people live longer and healthier lives.

“Singapore has … the highest health-adjusted life expectancy in the world. So whatever Singapore did, it worked at producing the longest, healthiest life on the planet,” Dan Buettner, who coined the term “blue zones” told CNBC Make It.

Blue zones are places that have 10 times more centenarians compared to the U.S. on a per capita basis.

The five original blue zones are: Ikaria (Greece), Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Sardinia (Italy) and Loma Linda (United States) — but Singapore is on Buettner’s new list, dubbed “blue zone 2.0.”

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