Bizview: Today's top business news

Temasek said to discuss potential sale of Keppel stakes in M1, Keppel Reit

Temasek Holdings is discussing options for portfolio companies Keppel Corp and Sembcorp Industries, ranging from divesting their non-core assets to selling shares, as the two Singaporean rig builders grapple with the oil-price slump, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Singapore's manufacturing output falls 5.2% in 2015, first yearly contraction since 2009

Singapore's manufacturing output fell 7.9 per cent year-on-year in December, the 11th month of contraction and slightly worse than analysts had expected. For the full year, output contracted by 5.2 per cent, the first annual contraction since the financial crisis year of 2009, reversing the 2.6 per cent expansion seen in 2014. Singapore's manufacturing output fell by 4.2 per cent for both 2009 and 2008.

US, Singapore still most attractive destinations for China investment: EIU

The United States and Singapore were once again the most attractive destinations for Chinese outbound investment last year, holding their spots in first and second place respectively. The 2015 China Going Global Index, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranks the attractiveness of 67 major economies to Chinese firms.

Singapore's 80-cent loans not cheap enough for distressed funds

Southeast Asia's souring loans are becoming unpalatable even for some distressed-asset funds. SC Lowy Financial, an independent fixed-income firm founded by former Deutsche Bank employees, says secondary loan trading volumes are at the thinnest in a decade even with discounts near 20 per cent for borrowers including Singapore-listed Noble Group and Mercator Lines Singapore.

Ascott Reit posts 4% drop in Q4 DPU to 2.07 cents

Ascott Residence Trust said its distribution per unit (DPU) fell four per cent to 2.07 cents for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, from 2.16 cents a year ago. However, without one-off items totalling about S$6.1 million for the quarter, DPU would have fallen 18 per cent to 1.76 cents.

Viva Industrial Trust Q4 DPS down 3.9% to 1.634 cents

Singapore-focused business park and industrial property trust Viva Industrial Trust has posted a 20.6 per cent rise in distributable income of S$12.5 million in the fourth quarter. Gross revenue in the three months to Dec 31 rose 18.5 per cent from a year ago to S$19.7 million.

SMRT feels the heat of competition from the new Downtown Line 2

Listed rail operator SMRT Corp expects the new Downtown Line 2 - operated by its rival SBS Transit - to adversely affect revenue this quarter. At a post-results briefing on Tuesday morning, SMRT chief financial officer Manfred Seah said the new line which opened a month ago will erode its revenue by "$5 million to $6 million in the fourth quarter". The fourth quarter ends March 31.

Gold surges to highest this year as turmoil skewers US interest rate outlook

Gold surged to the highest level in more than two months as demand for haven assets strengthened due to a global retreat in stocks and a renewed slump in oil, with investors scaling back bets about the pace and timing of US interest rate increases.

Thai December exports shrink at fastest pace in years, outlook weak

Thailand's exports fell more than expected in December and contracted much more in 2015 than in the previous two years, showing how the trade-reliant economy continues to struggle amid weak global demand.