Morning Minutes: What will make headlines, April 1, 2016

Brussels airport will partially reopen for passenger flights on Friday evening after its closure following the March 22 bomb attacks.
Brussels airport will partially reopen for passenger flights on Friday evening after its closure following the March 22 bomb attacks.PHOTO: EPA

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Friday, April 1, and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

Brussels airport to partially reopen today

Brussels airport will partially reopen for passenger flights this evening after its closure following the March 22 bomb attacks.

The Belgian authorities have been checking the airport, whose departure hall was badly damaged by the two blasts, to see if it was ready to resume service.

The provisional arrangement will allow the airport to receive 800 departing passengers per hour, or 2.5 million departing passengers a year, which is 20 per cent of the normal capacity of the airport. Brussels Airport is one of the largest airports in Europe, handling 23.5 million passengers and 489,000 tonnes of freight annually.

Singapore Garden Festival back in July


Visitors at the Singapore Garden Festival in 2014. The sixth edition of the event will be held from July 23 to July 31 this year. PHOTO: ST FILE

The biennial Singapore Garden Festival will be held from July 23 to July 31, for its sixth and largest edition. It promises to enchant visitors with a magical garden experience at Gardens by the Bay. The event is targeted at a wide range of people from the serious gardener and hobbyist to those just looking for a day out with the family. Details of this year's festival will be announced today.

Data for Q1 Private home sales


The Urban Redevelopment Authority will release its estimates for private home sales in the first quarter today . PHOTO: ST FILE

The Urban Redevelopment Authority will be releasing this morning its flash estimates for private home sales in the first quarter. The data is expected to come under close scrutiny, given the numerous calls from developers for cooling measures to be lifted in the face of falling demand and prices. Private home prices fell 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, taking the full-year decline to 3.7 per cent, compared with a 4 per cent decline in 2014. - RENNIE WHANG

Japan opens up power market


A visitor gets a briefing at a Softbank booth at an event in Tokyo on March 7, 2016, to promote understanding about electric power liberalisation. PHOTO: REUTERS

Japan’s power utilities will lose their monopoly over electricity from today in an unprecedented shake-up that could give a much-needed jolt to the country’s long stagnant economy. 

Already, a price war is on, with more than 260 firms to be allowed to sell electricity in the country’s US$70 billion (S$94 billion) retail market. Consumers will now be able to buy from suppliers ranging from telecoms giant Softbank to a Hokkaido-based supermarket cooperative.

Indonesia's March inflation figures out today


An employee prepares fruits at Carrefour Transmart supermarket in Jakarta on March 18, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

Indonesia’s annual inflation in March is expected to stay near the level in February, which was within the central bank’s target band for 2016 inflation.

Mr Juda Agung, Bank Indonesia’s executive director for monetary and economic policy, will release the figures today, which are expected to edge up to 4.45 per cent for March compared to 4.42 per cent in February.  Mr Agung cited higher prices for chilli and gold for the uptick.

March core inflation, which strips out administered and volatile food prices, was seen at 3.60 per cent, versus 3.59 per cent in previous month. Bank Indonesia targets annual inflation in a range of 3-5 per cent for 2016. The central bank cut its benchmark interest rate three times this year by a total of 75 basis points to 6.75 per cent, as inflation had stayed inside its target band since November 2015.