Long-term growth expected for Singapore’s capital markets: Analysts

More than one year after the penny stock scandal in October 2013, Singapore’s stock market continues to suffer from the fallout. Trading volumes have been weak in 2014, with the average daily value of stocks falling year-on-year for about 13 straight months. The daily value of securities traded are currently holding at S$1.037 billion.

While returns are not particularly high, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) feels there is not much to worry about in this regard. Mr M Ramaswami, president of SGX, said: “Stocks that are listed on the SGX, which are the underlying Singapore stocks, are very stable and what you would call almost developed market characteristics stocks.

“Most of them tend to be good yield giving stocks and have not got the same growth characteristics as what you would call ‘frontier market’ now. We are a much more mature and a much more stable market place and I think to that extent, we will continue to see yield focus here as well as long-term growth.”

Some analysts feel the low returns in the market could be due to the fact that Singapore is moving from a period of high growth and low inflation to a period of lower growth rates and higher inflation.

Mr Hozefa Topiwalla, equity strategist and head of ASEAN equity research at Morgan Stanley, said: “Growth across the world is going to be lower and it is not unique to Singapore alone. And if global growth is going to be lower as compared to the previous cycles, Singapore, which is a very small and open economy, will start seeing growth being lower as well.”

Still, SGX has been making an effort to boost trading activity. Market watchers said that Singapore’s strength lies in being one of the largest REIT markets in Asia – and REITs are where the burgeoning growth lies.

“Real estate is actually a very interesting sector and I, as an investor, will look at Singapore and say, of all the sectors that we have, which is the one that is the most likely to grow over the long term? And because we have limited land space, it means property companies are likely to do well,” said Mr David Kuo, CEO of the Motley Fool, Singapore.

“People say what is there in Singapore that I can invest in? If you can’t find anything, then you are not really looking hard enough. I look at the Singapore markets and I see loads of opportunities. One of them is the real estate investment trusts, simply because if you have real estate in Singapore, it looks like the only way is up,” added Mr Kuo.

Meanwhile, there has been a push towards closer trading links with other regional markets, including those in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Analysts said this could entice new listings on the Singapore market and help keep SGX on par with other regional heavyweights.

SGX is also seeking to broaden its product offerings – it has just announced plans to launch a bond trading platform by mid-2015 to facilitate the buying and selling of bonds issued by companies in the region.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 12 Dec 2014

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