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Singapore economy slides closer to recession, figures worse than expected

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Singapore economy slides closer to recession, figures worse than expected | The Thaiger

Singapore’s economy has tanked in Q2, slowing again after hitting the lowest rate since the global financial crisis of 2008 in Q1 this year.

The Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry pegged Singapore’s economic growth at a mere 0.1% in the second quarter of this year, well below analysts’ expectations of 1.1%, according to a Bloomberg forecast.

It is also a far cry from the revised 1.1% growth in the previous quarter and marks the sixth straight quarter of sliding growth.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy shrank by 3.4%, after posting growth of 3.8% in the preceding three months.

Manufacturing performed poorly dropping 6% from the previous quarter, while construction contracted by 7.6% and service industries by 1.5%.

Ms Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, told The Straits Times: “It does look like the risk of a technical recession is growing by the day.”

A technical recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of slowdown.

SOURCE: The Straits Times



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Insurgency

Former BRN negotiator slams Thailand as being insincere at peace talks

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Former BRN negotiator slams Thailand as being insincere at peace talks | The Thaiger

PHOTO: thailandchatter.com

A similar number of people have been killed in the Southern Insurgency in Thailand as in the conflicts at the Gaza Strip and West Bank in Palestine over the past 15 years. But the religious and realestate conflict at the southern Thai border with Malaysia has had a lot less international media coverage.

One of the Malay negotiators, who has been part of peace initiatives over the past four years, resigned in May. He has spoken to Benar News about his frustrations with Thai negotiators.

The lead negotiator, Sukree Hari, for Muslim rebels fighting for a separate state in southern Thailand, has slammed the Thai government as “insincere and indifferent” in peace talks.

He has headed a rebel delegation at peace talks with the Thai government for the past four years. He resigned in May this year citing health issues. He was part of a three-person delegation at talks representing the largest group fighting in Thailand’s South, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).

MARA Patani, the panel representing separatist groups and factions at the Malaysia-brokered talks, has not yet named a replacement for Sukree, according to its spokesman.

Sukree claimed the Thai government “is not sincere about resolving the conflict in Patani. The negotiations held thus far were a tactic for wasting Malay Patani people’s time.”

The talks involve to the three southernmost provinces of Thailand – Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala – and the ethnic Malay Muslims who live there.

“Whatever was agreed together at the negotiating table, the Thai side was not willing to sign, and that is clear proof that the Thai side was just pretending in the negotiations, playing for time,” he said in a recent interview with BenarNews in northern Malaysia.

Talks launched in 2015 under the junta that ruled Thailand until earlier this month have been on hold, and their only outcome – a proposed ceasefire in one province or “safety zone” – never took place.

The negotiations were dogged by allegations that rebel leaders in touch with fighters on the ground were not participating in the talks and did not support the effort. But Sukree denied this.

When speaking to Benar News he declined to answer when asked if BRN was responsible for attacks in the south in recent years that are never claimed by any group but typically blamed on “militants” and “insurgent” by Thai security forces. The region has been under martial law almost continually since 2004.

In the latest attack yesterday (Wednesday), three soldiers patrolling a road in Bacho district of Narathiwat province were seriously injured when suspected insurgents detonated a bomb.

Read The Thaiger story HERE.

And on Monday, three marines were injured in a roadside bomb attack in the same district while traveling in a light armoured vehicle.

Thai officials meanwhile stress that talks were under way at various levels, although the last publicly announced formal meeting with MARA Patani was in 2017.

“At present, we still have peace talks in accordance with national strategy. The Thai government is always open for all dissident groups to talk, without forcing anyone to,” retired Lt. Gen. Udomchai Thammasarorat, the chief Thai negotiator, told Benar News.

SOURCE: Benar News

Former BRN negotiator slams Thailand as being insincere at peace talks | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Sukree Hari – Nani Yusof/Benar News

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Business

Singapore’s exports crash in June, the biggest drop in 6 years

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Singapore’s exports crash in June, the biggest drop in 6 years | The Thaiger

Edited from The Straits Times – Asian News Network

Singapore’s exports have crashed by double digits for the fourth straight month. June’s figures show shipments in the key electronics sector sinking by 32%. This is the biggest year-on-year drop since shipments sank 33.2 per cent in February 2013.

It is also sharply below analysts’ expectations of a 9.6% plunge, according to a consensus of forecasts in a Bloomberg poll.

The dismal export figures and second-quarter growth data raise the prospect of a monetary policy easing for Singapore later this year, according to analysts.

Maybank economists state in a report that, given the current recession risks and softer core inflation, they expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore to ease the appreciation slope of the Singapore dollar in October.

Analysts in the electronic sector warn that, within the chip manufacturing segment, they’ve already seen many downbeat assessments from chipmakers, equipment makers, cutting their sales forecast for the first time in four years.

An ING economist for Asia, Prakash Sakpal, says that Singapore was not alone in posting poor export performance.

“South Korea and Taiwan are suffering from this as well, although Singapore seems to be hit a bit harder than other economies.”

Singapore’s exports to its top 10 markets fell in June, except to the US. Leading the decline were falling shipments to Hong Kong, China and Europe.

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Malaysia

Mystery 90 kilogram load was added to cargo flight list on MH370

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Mystery 90 kilogram load was added to cargo flight list on MH370 | The Thaiger

French investigators looking into the disappearance of the Malaysian Boeing 777, flight MH370, say they have discovered a previously undeclared 89 kilogram load that was only added to the cargo list after takeoff.

The sun.co.uk reports that French engineer Ghyslain Wattrelos, who lost his wife and two of his three children in the crash, detailed the claims to judges investigating the incident in Paris last week. France is the only country with an ongoing investigation into the mysterious incident. Four French citizens were lost when MH370 went missing.

He revealed that a container on the flight was also found to be overloaded, but no explanation was ever given.

“We learned that a mysterious load of 89 kilograms had been added to the flight list after takeoff,” Ghyslain told French daily paper Le Parisien.

“A container was also overloaded, without anyone knowing why. It may be incompetence or manipulation. Everything is possible.”

Mystery 90 kilogram load was added to cargo flight list on MH370 | News by The Thaiger

He also says investigations discovered versions of the flight’s passenger list contradicted each other.

Theories about the crash have also focused on a shipment of lithium batteries that were on-board the plane. Two months after the disappearance, NNR Global revealed it had shipped 2,453 kilograms of items on the plane, of which 221 kilograms were lithium batteries.

Ghyslain posited the theory that the lithium batteries may have sparked a fire. But this theory has been investigated already in Malaysia and described as “highly improbable” by the Malaysian Government’s final report into the crash last year.

Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 on a routine scheduled flight from KL, Malaysia, to Beijing in China with 239 people on-board. Just 38 minutes into the flight it lost contact with Malaysia Airlines.

Last week the same French investigation released a finding saying that someone “was in control of the plane” until the end.

Read that story from The Thaiger HERE.

Mystery 90 kilogram load was added to cargo flight list on MH370 | News by The Thaiger

Artists impression of the final moments of MH370 and its 239 people onboard

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