Expectations that the Greek Parliament will approve the controversial bailout deal to save Greece from collapsing into economic chaos helped lift Singapore shares. The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 22.36 to 3,338.86, with 1.22 billion shares worth S$807.1 million traded.
Retail sales in Singapore rose 6.1 per cent in May compared to the previous year, mainly due to a big jump in the sales of motor vehicles, figures from the Singapore Department of Statistics showed on Wednesday. However, excluding motor vehicles, retail sales grew just 0.9 per cent year-on-year. When compared with April, retail sales increased by 2.4 per cent in May. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales grew 1.8 per cent.
Developers sold 375 private residential units in June, 41.6 per cent down from May. It was the lowest monthly private home sales volume since December last year, and similar to levels seen in January and February. Last month's sales figure was also 22.2 per cent down from a year back.
Rents for private condominiums and apartments edged down 0.5 per cent in June compared to May, according to flash estimates released on Wednesday by SRX Property. Year on year, rents in June were down 6.5 per cent from June 2014, and are 12.4 per cent lower since their peak in January 2013. They have, in fact, been falling every month since then with one exception in January this year.
China's economy grew an annual 7.0 per cent in the second quarter, steady with the previous quarter and slightly better than analyst forecasts, though further stimulus is still expected after the quarter ended with a stock market crash. It has been a difficult year for the world's second-largest economy. Slowing growth in trade, investment and domestic demand has been compounded by a cooling property sector and deflationary pressures.
Toshiba Corp Chief Executive Hisao Tanaka will step down in September along with other board members including Vice Chairman Norio Sasaki to take responsibility for accounting irregularities, sources familiar with the matter said. The Japanese conglomerate has hired a third-party committee to investigate past book-keeping practices, and sources have said the probe was focusing on the role top officials played in the irregularities.
As Australia's mining-investment boom winds down, the central bank has been relying on a steady flow of new migrants to boost the economy - a stimulant most developed nations lack. But the country's appeal is now waning as wages stagnate and its jobless rate climbs above the US level. The population is on track for the slowest growth in nine years - a danger signal for an already faltering economy.