Just after &#039a calendar year of two halves&#039, where is gold headed in 2017?


SINGAPORE: In a calendar year dominated by unpredicted worldwide situations and roiling uncertainty, the actions in the gold price tag have defied expectations.

Adhering to the US Federal Reserve’s final decision to elevate interest premiums previous December for the to start with time in nearly a decade, gold watchers experienced been anticipating a lacklustre 2016, with some forecasting the cherished metal to slide to multi-calendar year lows underneath the US$1,000 mark.

But inside of a 7 days into the new calendar year, gold charges gained far more than three per cent to breach the US$1,100 mark as a brutal offer-off engulfed worldwide stock markets. The surge into protected-haven property was also fuelled by crude oil charges sliding underneath US$thirty a barrel to twelve-calendar year lows, mounting anxieties about a softening Chinese financial state and the Lender of Japan’s (BOJ) unprecedented go to adopt a destructive interest level policy

Even prime forecasters of the yellow metal ended up caught off guard by the situations in January, which propelled gold charges to a powerful start out in 2016.

“The powerful moves in the to start with month amazed every person who was expecting a destructive calendar year. To be trustworthy, I was a person of them,” ABN Amro’s commodity strategist Georgette Boele explained to Channel NewsAsia. Rated by Bloomberg as the most correct forecaster for gold, the Amsterdam-dependent analyst experienced initially predicted an conclude-2016 focus on of US$900 amid the likelihood of further level hikes in the US, which would bolster the greenback.

A firmer US dollar tends to place stress on gold charges, which is priced in the US currency and becomes far more costly to purchasers located outdoors the US. In addition, with gold staying viewed as an option investment to the dollar, it is generally shunned when the greenback strengthens in benefit.

But as anxieties about the worldwide financial state pulled down expectations for greater US interest premiums and deflated the US dollar rally, gold charges ongoing to soar and at some point breached the US$1,300 amount on Jun 24 as political uncertainty stemming from Brexit took a toll on already-fragile business and customer confidence.

By Jul 8, the price tag of gold was at a far more than two-calendar year high of US$1,366, up nearly thirty per cent calendar year to day.

“The dollar was less than stress with US level hikes obtaining priced out, and with uncertainties like Brexit producing, every person like me, became extremely bullish. With the anxieties bordering the US elections, it appeared like a state of affairs that would be fantastic for gold charges but the opposite transpired,” Ms Boele reported.

Adhering to Donald Trump’s election victory on Nov 9, gold charges sank into a downward spiral on expectations that the President-elect’s marketing campaign for fiscal stimulus proposals would bolster financial development and inflation. As a end result, the US equity markets U-turned soon after first losses, yields on US Treasuries spiked and the US dollar strengthened, sending traders scurrying to readjust their positions into risky property.

Mr Jonathan Chan, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, reported the gold price’s reversal came as a surprise.

“I was expecting gold charges to hold around US$1,300 soon after Donald Trump received for the reason that I assumed the political unrest in the US would add to the hazard-off sentiment,” the analyst reported. “But as you can see from the existing price tag action, the market experienced long gone completely versus that see.”

On Friday (Dec thirty), spot gold was previous observed buying and selling at $1,one hundred sixty.forty two an ounce, down around 9 per cent due to the fact Trump’s victory in the elections and as the US central lender indicated a quicker rate of level hikes in 2017 soon after mounting interest premiums previously this month. 

“It has been a calendar year of two halves,” reported Ms Boele. “We started the calendar year staying destructive ahead of becoming extremely bullish owing to all the uncertainty pushing back expectations for a Fed level hike. But now we are back to the exact same themes we noticed previous calendar year – a more powerful US dollar and far more level hikes – and the sentiment is yet again on the destructive side.”

(Details from Bloomberg)

Bought ON GOLD

Though the roller-coaster journey in gold charges appeared tricky to abdomen, it has been a boon for cherished metal dealers and jewelry shops who explained to Channel NewsAsia that demand from customers for bodily gold generally rises amid price tag volatility.

Silver Bullion reported revenue of its gold products and solutions jumped forty one per cent this calendar year, with the greatest increase in demand from customers coming on the back of the EU referendum. In accordance to the company’s founder and CEO Gregor Gregersen, revenue spiked 600 per cent about the a few times adhering to Britain’s vote to depart the European Union.

The protected-haven demand from customers also lifted revenue of bodily silver up by forty eight per cent at the Singapore-dependent bullion seller and storage company.

“Our shoppers are motivated by the wish to safeguard by themselves. There are already considerations about underlying structural issues in the West, these types of as the volume of financial debt that exists in the process. When unpredicted situations like Brexit materialize, they build uncertainty and add to the stress, triggering far more people to choose interest in obtaining bodily gold and silver as a sort of coverage,” reported Mr Gregersen.

Above at Ho Bee Goldsmith & Jewelry, demand from customers from regional retail purchasers has been steady throughout the calendar year, pointed out business supervisor Jessica Chia.

“People are however obtaining. They have observed the uptrend and are ready to make investments specially with the charges coming down,” reported Ms Chia, incorporating that seasonal obtaining in advance of Chinese New Year might have also contributed to the sustained interest.

Aside from bodily gold bars and coins, there are other strategies to make investments in the yellow metal these types of as obtaining gold futures or choices, shares of gold miners, gold exchange-traded cash (ETFs) and opening gold accounts with banking companies. 

In Singapore, United Abroad Lender (UOB) reported it has observed a thirty per cent increase in the range of new openings this calendar year for its gold-connected lender account, which does not have Products and Services Tax (GST) and permits for transactions on the web.

“More than 80 per cent of our Gold Conserving Account turnover volume was transacted on the web, progressively by young shoppers who want the benefit of on the web banking and are demonstrating increased interest in gold-relevant products and solutions,” pointed out Ms Beh Hsia Wa, director of UOB’s Team Bullion Brokerage and Clearing.

“Given the backdrop of lower-to-destructive interest premiums in several developed economies and worldwide macroeconomic uncertainty in the earlier calendar year, we have observed far more shoppers turning to gold to diversify their investments and to lessen their dangers,” she additional.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017

Moving in advance, analysts that Channel NewsAsia spoke to are split on where gold charges are headed.

Ms Boele from ABN Amro reported she has turned destructive on the cherished metal, with a focus on of US$1,100 for 2017, citing the menace of a rejuvenated US dollar.

Phillip Futures’ Mr Chan, even so, thinks that the rally might occur back to daily life subsequent calendar year and forecasts that the price tag of gold will head back up to US$1,300.

“Most people would glance at the US level hike in phrases of how it strengthens the US dollar but there are other components to take into consideration and the most important a person to watch is no matter if Trump can carry out what he promised, how a lot inflation that will build and how the Fed reacts to all that,” he explained to Channel NewsAsia.

There are expectations that a more powerful US financial state will quicken inflation, which tends to stoke obtaining interest amid traders as they think the metal will hold its benefit much better than other property in situations of mounting customer charges, Mr Chan explained.

Money Economics’ commodities analyst Simona Gambarini is forecasting gold charges to attain US$1,450 by conclude-2017, noting that economic markets have “jumped the gun” in believing that the President-elect will be ready to deliver promptly on his promise to ramp up infrastructure shelling out.

“The euphoria about infrastructure shelling out could soon be replaced by considerations about a trade war and geopolitical dangers, restoring the protected-haven bid for gold. What is far more, the prospect of a significant deficit-funded fiscal stimulus is likely to force inflation properly over the Fed’s 2 per cent focus on, this means that even if the Fed raises premiums far more aggressively, genuine interest premiums must keep on being lower.”

To be confident, analysts reported they are not composing off possible surprises that could derail gold charges from expectations, but yet again.

For a person, elections owing in France and Germany will keep on being high up on markets’ watch checklist soon after Italian Primary Minister Matteo Renzi misplaced a referendum previously this month and as Britain navigates its exit from the EU.

The course of policies in the world’s biggest financial state less than Donald Trump will also be keenly eyed, reported Mr Chan.

“Surprises could materialize: For example, the scale of Trump’s expansionary policies staying smaller than expected or he goes back on his marketing campaign on trade protectionism. These would pressure me to revise my forecast. Even the Fed would have to adjust its level hike cycle,” he explained. “It’s a domino influence.”

Adhere to See Kit on Twitter @SeeKitCNA



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Singapore floorball appears in advance just after dismal planet championships


SINGAPORE: For the countrywide men’s floorball crew, 2016 ended in a whimper just after they concluded previous at the planet championships they had worked so tricky to get to.

The 2015 SEA Video games champions have had a roller-coaster calendar year, with previous president Sani Mohamed Salim becoming investigated for the alleged misappropriation of money in May well. Amid their financial struggles, the crew scored a coup, securing teaching venues at Victoria School and Bukit Merah Secondary School for absolutely free, and managed to raise plenty of money to spend for their journey to the Earth Floorball Championships in Latvia – the emphasize of their 2016 sporting calendar.

But they eventually concluded 16th out of 16 groups in the 7 days-extended opposition, which begun on Dec 3 in Latvian cash Riga, notching only 1 get out of 5 game titles.

A SLEW OF DEFEATS

In the team stage, a slim two-one opening loss versus Canada was followed by a heavy 8-two defeat versus significantly-improved regional rivals Thailand, which Singapore had beaten nine- in 2015.

The remaining team recreation versus the United States observed Singapore triumph nine-5, but the lifeless rubber match still meant that the Singaporeans concluded previous in Group D. Luck was not on Workforce Singapore’s side in the placement matches, as defeats to Poland and Australia meant that they concluded previous.

Despite acquiring missing four of their 5 game titles, captain Glendon Phua insisted the crew gave their opponents a challenging fight: “I believe we all did effectively even though the results showed that we didn’t get most of the matches.”

Captain Glendon Phua (#20) in action at the planet championships. (Photograph: Singapore Floorball Affiliation)

Recounting his expertise in past countrywide squads, Phua thinks the present-day batch have in fact improved their perform: “I was section of the crew in 2010, back again when even the European groups had been not as sturdy. If our present-day crew had played versus the sides from 6 a long time ago, we would have beaten some of our European opponents.

“But as you can see, other international locations are also doing work tricky in teaching, and they are also increasing,” he conceded

“At the conclusion of the day, the techniques that the coach gave us had been based on a ton of investigate, opinions from gamers and studying the opponents. We can hypothesise all we want about what could have been accomplished better, but from the floor, I feel that the coach made the appropriate calls and the gamers experimented with their ideal even though we didn’t get the final result that we wished.”

Forwards Enrico Marican (#thirty) and Md Syazni (#twenty five) celebrating a goal. (Photograph: Singapore Floorball Affiliation)

Echoing his captain’s sights, crew-mate Tan Yiru explained: “I feel that the crew is likely down the appropriate path, but maybe we lack the publicity to execute what we are meant to do.”

“THE THAIS Seemed HUNGRIER”

The surprise offer of the event was Thailand, who concluded previously mentioned Singapore in 14th place. For Workforce Singapore coach Sonia Chia, the reversal of fortunes for the 2015 SEA Video games silver medallists boiled down to their abroad-based gamers, as effectively as their teaching.

Said Chia: “If you compare Thailand’s SEA Video games squad with the crew that played versus us in the qualifiers, as effectively as the crew that played in the Earth Championships, you will see that all 3 had been diverse groups completely.

“They improved their whole squad. About thirteen of them are abroad-based. They teach in the European international locations, which is in which the roots of the sport are.”

Singapore Floorball Affiliation (SFA)’s interim typical manager Todd Vladich thinks the new naturalised gamers in Thailand’s ranks gave them an extra advantage. “The Thais recruited dual-passport citizens into their countrywide crew, a number of them acquiring Swedish and Finnish roots. 

“It wasn’t the similar SEA Video games squad that competed in Singapore. Only about 5 of their gamers competed in the SEA Video games previous calendar year.”

Chia also pointed to the Thais’ 5-7 days teaching stint in Sweden, which allowed them to acclimatise better. ”They prepared quite effectively, as they commenced their planning as soon as the 2015 SEA Video games ended.”

Singapore captain Phua explained the abroad teaching stint made a planet of big difference to the Thais. “As you can see in Joseph Education, teaching abroad offers athletes a sure edge as they perform significantly better. Not to say that neighborhood teaching is undesirable in any given nation, but (likely) abroad offers you a diverse expertise which you can’t manage in your very own nation.

“With that in brain, we understood that our Thai opponents had been quite hungry to conquer us for revenge from the 2015 SEA Video games. They had been quite effectively prepared for the Earth Championships and arrive recreation day, we gave it our ideal but the Thais appeared hungrier.”

Plans FOR 2017

With the fast progress of regional rivals, the SFA is wanting into techniques to strengthen the present-day established-up. “For next calendar year, we’ll test to develop on what has gone appropriate for Singapore floorball in the previous 6 months,“ explained Vladich.

Singapore’s Akmal Shaharudin (#two) appears to get back possession of the ball at the Earth Championships. (Photograph: Singapore Floorball Affiliation)

Vladich cited the ActiveSG National Floorball League as 1 of the parts the association strategies to continue doing work on. “We want to continue its improvement so that it can be the pathway for gamers of the countrywide crew, as effectively as for recreational (gamers). We’d like to develop on that so that it can be satisfying for all members to continue to perform floorball.”

“We’re also wanting at how we can increase the capabilities of the officials as effectively as the coaching composition in Singapore. I believe with that it’ll be effective to developing the coaching of the countrywide crew as effectively as the league.”

Interim SFA president Kenneth Ho claims the association is wanting to tap into foreign abilities. “We are wanting to maybe bring in foreign coaches to carry out classes, as effectively as to create a syllabus for our neighborhood coaches. We want to introduce this to the youth groups, so that they can develop into much better and form the next era of the countrywide crew.”



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Soon after &#039a yr of two halves&#039, in which is gold headed in 2017?


SINGAPORE: In a yr dominated by unpredicted global situations and roiling uncertainty, the movements in the gold price tag have defied anticipations.

Subsequent the US Federal Reserve’s selection to raise interest prices very last December for the very first time in nearly a decade, gold watchers experienced been anticipating a lacklustre 2016, with some forecasting the precious steel to slide to multi-yr lows under the US$one,000 mark.

But in just a week into the new yr, gold rates attained extra than three for each cent to breach the US$one,one hundred mark as a brutal market-off engulfed global inventory marketplaces. The surge into risk-free-haven assets was also fuelled by crude oil rates sliding under US$30 a barrel to twelve-yr lows, mounting anxieties about a softening Chinese financial system and the Lender of Japan’s (BOJ) unprecedented go to adopt a destructive interest amount coverage

Even top rated forecasters of the yellow steel ended up caught off guard by the situations in January, which propelled gold rates to a sturdy begin in 2016.

“The sturdy moves in the very first thirty day period stunned anyone who was anticipating a destructive yr. To be straightforward, I was a person of them,” ABN Amro’s commodity strategist Georgette Boele informed Channel NewsAsia. Rated by Bloomberg as the most accurate forecaster for gold, the Amsterdam-based mostly analyst experienced to begin with predicted an end-2016 focus on of US$900 amid the likelihood of even more amount hikes in the US, which would bolster the buck.

A firmer US greenback tends to place stress on gold rates, which is priced in the US currency and results in being extra expensive to consumers found outside the US. In addition, with gold staying seen as an choice expenditure to the greenback, it is generally shunned when the buck strengthens in benefit.

But as anxieties about the global financial system pulled down anticipations for larger US interest prices and deflated the US greenback rally, gold rates continued to soar and finally breached the US$one,three hundred level on Jun 24 as political uncertainty stemming from Brexit took a toll on now-fragile business and client assurance.

By Jul eight, the price tag of gold was at a extra than two-yr significant of US$one,366, up nearly 30 for each cent yr to day.

“The greenback was below stress with US amount hikes getting priced out, and with uncertainties like Brexit creating, anyone which include me, turned pretty bullish. With the anxieties bordering the US elections, it appeared like a state of affairs that would be very good for gold rates but the opposite took place,” Ms Boele mentioned.

Subsequent Donald Trump’s election victory on Nov 9, gold rates sank into a downward spiral on anticipations that the President-elect’s marketing campaign for fiscal stimulus proposals would bolster financial advancement and inflation. As a result, the US equity marketplaces U-turned soon after original losses, yields on US Treasuries spiked and the US greenback strengthened, sending buyers scurrying to readjust their positions into dangerous assets.

Mr Jonathan Chan, expenditure analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, mentioned the gold price’s reversal arrived as a shock.

“I was anticipating gold rates to hold all around US$one,three hundred soon after Donald Trump gained for the reason that I assumed the political unrest in the US would add to the chance-off sentiment,” the analyst mentioned. “But as you can see from the latest price tag action, the industry experienced absent absolutely against that view.”

On Friday (Dec 30), location gold was very last found investing at $one,a hundred and sixty.forty two an ounce, down all around 9 for each cent considering that Trump’s victory in the elections and as the US central lender indicated a quicker speed of amount hikes in 2017 soon after climbing interest prices earlier this thirty day period. 

“It has been a yr of two halves,” mentioned Ms Boele. “We started off the yr staying destructive prior to becoming pretty bullish owing to all the uncertainty pushing again anticipations for a Fed amount hike. But now we are again to the similar themes we saw very last yr – a more robust US greenback and extra amount hikes – and the sentiment is again on the destructive facet.”

(Details from Bloomberg)

Sold ON GOLD

Though the roller-coaster trip in gold rates appeared challenging to belly, it has been a boon for precious steel sellers and jewellery stores who informed Channel NewsAsia that need for physical gold generally rises amid price tag volatility.

Silver Bullion mentioned sales of its gold goods jumped forty one for each cent this yr, with the most significant improve in need coming on the again of the EU referendum. In accordance to the company’s founder and CEO Gregor Gregersen, sales spiked 600 for each cent above the three days pursuing Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The risk-free-haven need also lifted sales of physical silver up by forty eight for each cent at the Singapore-based mostly bullion dealer and storage supplier.

“Our consumers are motivated by the motivation to secure by themselves. There are now issues about underlying structural issues in the West, these as the amount of money of credit card debt that exists in the method. When unpredicted situations like Brexit take place, they produce uncertainty and incorporate to the fear, leading to extra people today to choose interest in shopping for physical gold and silver as a form of insurance policy,” mentioned Mr Gregersen.

More than at Ho Bee Goldsmith & Jewelry, need from neighborhood retail consumers has been regular all over the yr, observed business supervisor Jessica Chia.

“People are even now shopping for. They have found the uptrend and are eager to spend specifically with the rates coming down,” mentioned Ms Chia, introducing that seasonal shopping for forward of Chinese New Year may well have also contributed to the sustained interest.

Aside from physical gold bars and cash, there are other strategies to spend in the yellow steel these as shopping for gold futures or possibilities, stocks of gold miners, gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and opening gold accounts with banking institutions. 

In Singapore, United Abroad Lender (UOB) mentioned it has found a 30 for each cent improve in the quantity of new openings this yr for its gold-joined lender account, which does not have Merchandise and Expert services Tax (GST) and enables for transactions on-line.

“More than eighty for each cent of our Gold Conserving Account turnover volume was transacted on-line, increasingly by more youthful consumers who like the ease of on-line banking and are exhibiting larger interest in gold-relevant goods,” observed Ms Beh Hsia Wa, director of UOB’s Group Bullion Brokerage and Clearing.

“Given the backdrop of small-to-destructive interest prices in many developed economies and global macroeconomic uncertainty in the past yr, we have found extra consumers turning to gold to diversify their investments and to lessen their pitfalls,” she extra.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017

Moving forward, analysts that Channel NewsAsia spoke to are split on in which gold rates are headed.

Ms Boele from ABN Amro mentioned she has turned destructive on the precious steel, with a focus on of US$one,one hundred for 2017, citing the risk of a rejuvenated US greenback.

Phillip Futures’ Mr Chan, having said that, thinks that the rally may well arrive again to everyday living following yr and forecasts that the price tag of gold will head again up to US$one,three hundred.

“Most people today would glimpse at the US amount hike in conditions of how it strengthens the US greenback but there are other elements to consider and the most significant a person to look at is no matter whether Trump can have out what he promised, how a lot inflation that will produce and how the Fed reacts to all that,” he informed Channel NewsAsia.

There are anticipations that a more robust US financial system will quicken inflation, which tends to stoke shopping for interest amongst buyers as they consider the steel will hold its benefit superior than other assets in situations of climbing client rates, Mr Chan spelled out.

Capital Economics’ commodities analyst Simona Gambarini is forecasting gold rates to attain US$one,450 by end-2017, noting that financial marketplaces have “jumped the gun” in believing that the President-elect will be equipped to supply rapidly on his promise to ramp up infrastructure paying.

“The euphoria about infrastructure paying could before long be replaced by issues about a trade war and geopolitical pitfalls, restoring the risk-free-haven bid for gold. What’s extra, the prospect of a large deficit-funded fiscal stimulus is most likely to thrust inflation very well higher than the Fed’s 2 for each cent focus on, which means that even if the Fed raises prices extra aggressively, actual interest prices should really continue to be small.”

To be absolutely sure, analysts mentioned they are not composing off opportunity surprises that could derail gold rates from anticipations, but again.

For a person, elections owing in France and Germany will continue to be significant up on markets’ look at checklist soon after Italian Key Minister Matteo Renzi lost a referendum earlier this thirty day period and as Britain navigates its exit from the EU.

The route of insurance policies in the world’s premier financial system below Donald Trump will also be keenly eyed, mentioned Mr Chan.

“Surprises could take place: For example, the scale of Trump’s expansionary insurance policies staying more compact than anticipated or he goes again on his marketing campaign on trade protectionism. These would drive me to revise my forecast. Even the Fed would have to change its amount hike cycle,” he spelled out. “It’s a domino effect.”

Comply with See Package on Twitter @SeeKitCNA



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Will the push to make Singapore motor vehicle-lite triumph?


SINGAPORE: Twin sisters Woo Li Ling and Woo Li Shan jumped on the biking bandwagon about five several years back just after becoming a member of an on the net biking group. Li Ling, 55, now says biking is a frequent in her daily life. She rides from her residence in Toa Payoh to her Jurong East workplace every working day, and usually takes her bicycle with her any time she travels.

But Li Shan has not quite caught on but. “I never cycle significantly generally because of the site visitors,” she mentioned. “Usually I go on the bus lane because bus lane allows bicycles, but it is really not good to occupy the bus lane when the buses are all guiding me.”

Biking enthusiasts Woo Li Ling and Woo Li Shan. (Photo: Kenneth Lim)

Nevertheless, both equally are in sync when it comes to what they would like the authorities to do to really encourage persons to give biking a go.

“I very first had a dread of biking on the street because Singapore streets are so congested,” Li Ling mentioned. “And though I journey every day to do the job now, I start early, prior to the site visitors turns into significant. I’d like to have far more PCN (park connector networks) alongside the streets, like what they have at Ang Mo Kio and Tampines.”

Ang Mo Kio is Singapore’s very first “walking and biking” town, released in July 2016. A 4km biking route loops close to Ang Mo Kio Avenues 1, three and eight, using citizens to nearby features like the MRT station. The community will be the longest of any town at the time it is finished in 2019, authorities say, and give cyclists a immediate route to the metropolis.

The Ang Mo Kio initiative and other people like it demonstrates Singapore’s drive to drive its citizens to adopt community and substitute transportation, with an emphasis on decreasing motor vehicle use. This comes even as the metropolis-condition grapples with an ageing rail community and land constraints, which have an effect on its means to build far more motor vehicle parks and streets.

In accordance to the Land Transportation Authority (LTA), every HDB town will have its very own biking community by 2030, which includes new HDB precincts and BTO assignments, like Bidadari,Tampines North and the new BTO assignments in Sembawang and Yishun. Biking inbound links in Bishan, Buangkok, Dakota, Dover, Potong Pasir, Woodlands, and Yew Tee are finished, though those in Clementi, Hougang, Marsiling, Promenade, and Sengkang will finished by close 2016.

“What we hope to see is genuinely above the following ten to 15 several years, to see an enhance in terms of uptake,” says LTA’s director of Lively Mobility Tan Shin Gee. “It’s about 1.five for every cent of persons who cycle in Singapore, so we hope to improve that three to 4 occasions.” 

Ms Tan was citing a 2012 LTA huge-scale household interview and journey survey done at the time every five several years,focusing on commuters’ journey patterns. The following edition of the survey will be conducted following year.

Aside from launching far more biking networks, Singapore will also be a part of the ranks of biking towns like New York and London following year with its very first-ever bicycle-sharing software in the Jurong Lake District – which claims far more than 1,000 bicycles and one hundred docking stations. This sort of programs have “catalysed the uptake of cycling” in other towns, Ms Tan mentioned.

USE OF Personalized MOBILITY Gadgets ON THE Rise

2016 has also seen far more commuters use individual mobility devices like e-scooters and hoverboards on Singapore streets. In December, LTA embarked on a six-thirty day period trial, allowing persons to acquire their devices on board trains and buses throughout peak hours for the quite very first time. Because then, LTA says it has seen ten to 15 persons do so at each and every station every working day throughout the early morning peak interval.

“So significantly the numbers have not been huge, but it is really one thing we will carry on to monitor and as we go alongside probably adjust the regulations of codes of perform,” Ms Tan mentioned.

For illustration, the new Lively Mobility Act will be passed in Parliament following year – spelling out the pace restrictions, penalties, and other guideline for commuters working with these kinds of devices.

But outside of the numbers, Ms Tan mentioned the goal is “to see a transform in terms of peoples’ openness to these active modes”.

“In the medium to prolonged term you would regard walking or biking or working with these individual mobility devices as commonplace as hopping on a bus or a train,” Ms Tan says.

But apart from making it simpler to walk and cycle, 1 researcher says Singapore’s local climate also demands to be taken into account.

“At the close of the working day, it also indicates that it is really not just mere data that we say eighty for every cent is inside of ten minutes walk or homes are inside of a ten-moment walk of train stations,” says CPG transportation expert Vincent Loh. “We have to have to be certain that walking is good, comfy, really should be in a position to appeal to anyone on the sidelines needing whether or not to very own a motor vehicle, to obtain a motor vehicle or to acquire community transportation. So if you make community transportation genuinely appealing, I believe we could wean off some of this drive.”

Mr Loh’s do the job focuses, among other people, on city structure – and making streets or neighbourhoods far more accessible to pedestrians. He has proposed that authorities can change far more disused infrastructure, like the Rochor Canal, into linear parks – 1 way he says countries like Japan have built walking a way of daily life.

“I believe unquestionably we are normally on the lookout to see how we can make our infrastructure healthy in greater with the surroundings, attraction far more to persons,” Ms Tan mentioned, when questioned about Mr Loh’s proposals.

LTA aims to build about a hundred and fifty kilometres far more sheltered walkways by 2018. And from July this year, business builders need to post their designs full with shelters and crossings for cyclists and pedestrians.

CAN WE Eliminate THE Drive TO … Drive?

But Mr Loh also says that it is 1 detail to make community transportation far more appealing. Additional ways are necessary for Singapore to go motor vehicle-lite.

“We have to have to however, I believe that, have the other factor, the other ingredient of vehicle restraint,” he mentioned. “I never believe we can shift away from that.”

Singapore was among the very first towns to adopt vehicle restraint steps like digital street pricing (ERP), and auctions for motor vehicle quotas. Public motor vehicle park premiums have risen this year for the very first time in fourteen several years, and Mr Loh mentioned these kinds of insurance policies are probable to carry on.

“The situation is whether or not the provision of motor vehicle park is at the cost of room for other consumers in the metropolis and elsewhere,” he mentioned.” At the close of the working day we want to have far more of this room to cater to the much larger inhabitants which are going to use these services. “

But as several in the transportation sector say -“motor vehicle lite” does not signify “motor vehicle-less”, with shared autos however acquiring to play a component in receiving persons from level to level.

To that close, Singapore’s very first huge-scale electrical motor vehicle-sharing programme will be released in 2017, setting up in towns like Ang Mo Kio, Jurong East and Punggol. Personal employ the service of corporations like Uber and Seize have also come out with very similar techniques.

But eventually, those we spoke to say that a motor vehicle-lite society is achievable if Singaporeans usually takes that very first stage away from their autos, and shift their travelling routines.

“We hope that above time that outside of the infrastructure designs and the insurance policies we have been altering above time, that we also have the guidance of the group to get this motion going,” Ms Tan mentioned.

“As cyclists, we also have to be responsible,” extra Ms Woo Li Ling. “If we are friendly to the motorists, to the motorists, they are friendly to us.”



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Mongolia&#039s younger democracy analyzed by financial crisis


ULAANBAATAR: Thirty-9 yr old Otgonjargal still left her hometown in western Zavkhan province about 15 decades in the past to make a dwelling in the money Ulaanbaatar.

She sells clothes and other add-ons beside a street, but company has hardly ever been as lousy.

This yr, her company has plunged fifty for every cent as the financial state shrank.

Some of her customers are no longer equipped to get products from her simply because they have not received their wage.

Otgonjargal blames the politicians for her ordeals.

“Of course I’m dissatisfied with the politicians simply because the price of our forex has gotten decreased and decreased, and even while I have hardly ever labored alongside one another with the politicians, from the exterior, it’s straightforward to see that they are not accomplishing effectively.”

She is not by yourself.

Quite a few Mongolians are annoyed by the government’s seeming incapability to incorporate the financial fallout.

Just one mentioned: “Our governing administration is not accomplishing effectively more than enough suitable now simply because it’s filled with corruption, that is why I’m dissatisfied with politicians.”

A further mentioned that politics is genuinely a worry in Mongolia now. These types of grudges assisted propel the opposition Mongolian People’s Get together to a crushing victory at the polls.

Quite a few Mongolians are annoyed by their government’s seeming incapability to enhance the financial state. (Photograph: Jeremy Koh)

Political watchers say the success of June’s parliamentary elections indicates common stress with the financial state.

The opposition Mongolian People’s Get together won in a landslide. It took 65 of the parliament’s seventy six seats, leaving the incumbent Democratic Get together with only 9 seats.

Opposition politician Ganbat Ganchil, the Chair of the United Patriots Get together mentioned: “The explanation why we’re struggling with the financial downturn and why the unemployment and poverty level is mounting is simply because of corruption. Also, because of to this corruption, we’re dropping a lot of investors from abroad.”

In accordance to a poll executed by the Sant Maral Foundation, Mongolia’s key polling organisation, around just one-3rd of respondents mentioned they did not have confidence in any of the political functions to appropriately lead the state.

And seventy seven for every cent said that none of the functions properly represented general public viewpoint.

Mongolia attained independence from the Soviet Union a lot more than two decades in the past, and while the election final result showed that democracy is at work in Mongolia, observers say the process is considerably from great.

Bolormaa Mashlai, Chairperson of the Females Leader Foundation mentioned: “Democracy has labored out for 26 decades, but what we need to do is to deal with democracy, but what we did was to have way too considerably freedom, and people today are genuinely dissatisfied by that simply because they envisioned way too considerably from democracy, so we need to work on the people today.

We need to make them a lot more capable, educate them and deliver them with a lot more details.”

Sandwiched involving China and Russia, Mongolia is a younger democracy attempting to sail through an financial storm.

And the existing crisis will set to take a look at not just the country’s financial energy, but also that of its political process. 



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As a result of reclusive Wa, China&#039s get to extends into Suu Kyi&#039s Myanmar


PANGSAN, Myanmar: China is extending its sway around an autonomous enclave operate by Myanmar’s most strong ethnic armed team, resources in the area instructed Reuters, bolstering Beijing’s purpose in the peace process that is the signature coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The “overseas coverage” of the self-proclaimed Wa State is intently monitored by Beijing, senior officials in the administration operate by the 30,000-sturdy United Wa State Military (UWSA) and its political wing explained, with get in touch with with Western governments, corporations or help teams considered specially delicate.

Official acknowledged to Myanmar as “Particular Region 2”, the remote territory is the sizing of Belgium and dwelling to 600,000 men and women. Mainly shut to Westerners for a long time, it was visited by Reuters in Oct.

China’s influence is swiftly obvious, with street indications in Mandarin and Chinese corporations and banknotes ubiquitous in the self-proclaimed state’s funds, Pangsan, and other Wa towns that straddle the rugged border.

“We share the same language and we marry every other,” explained the head of the Wa Overseas Affairs Business office, Zhao Guo An, when requested about the Chinese influence on Wa politics.

“There is absolutely nothing we can do about it. We use Chinese forex, we converse Chinese and we use and use products from China. Pretty minor of that is from Myanmar.”

A teacher conducts a Chinese language lesson in a faculty in Namtit, Wa territory in northeast Myanmar. (REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

Delve a minor further, and it is obvious that China’s get to extends a great deal further than business enterprise and social ties.

EYES AND EARS

When Lo Yaku, the Wa agriculture minister, was requested about the medicines the statelet is accused of producing on an industrial scale, his secretary and a staffer from the formal Wa Information Bureau intervened to deflect the problem. Both adult males are not Wa natives, but from China.

“This problem was answered yesterday,” explained I Feng, a information bureau reporter initially from western China.

“Just after the drug eradication campaign, our govt encouraged agencies, men and women and Chinese buyers to participate in anti-drug routines,” explained the minister’s secretary, Chen Chun, initially from Zhejiang province on China’s faraway east coast.

A related scene performed out consistently in the course of Reuters’ take a look at – the first by a significant international information organisation – queries on subject areas ranging from military funding to methamphetamine were typically fielded not by the Wa minister but by an accompanying Chinese minder.

These and other Chinese citizens Reuters uncovered doing the job in the administration in Pangsan explained they were staff of the Wa govt and did not do the job for the authorities in Beijing.

But their presence hints at just how intently entwined the Wa State and its leaders are with their big neighbour.

“China has its ears and eyes everywhere you go, together with in the govt and business enterprise, and is wary of any deepening of ties with the West,” explained just one minister from the Wa govt, speaking on condition of anonymity owing the sensitivity of the make a difference.

“We get this incredibly severely, and act so as not to anger China,” he explained, incorporating that all dealings with Washington and Brussels, as very well as each individual foreigner or NGO getting into Wa territory, were scrupulously described to China.

China’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs explained in response to a problem from Reuters that “as a pleasant neighbour” it has “regularly revered Myanmar’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and not interfered with Myanmar’s internal affairs”.

OPENING UP

The Wa State was shaped in 1989, when the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) disintegrated into ethnic armies, and has been operate as an autonomous area by the UWSA beyond the authority of the central Myanmar govt given that.

The rare invitation to a modest team of overseas journalists to take a look at – made at Beijing’s urging according to two ministers from the Wa govt – seems to be part of a appeal offensive aimed at the new civilian govt led by democracy winner Suu Kyi.

Reaching an accord with the Wa and other rebels is just one of Suu Kyi’s largest issues as she grapples with the interlocking difficulties of ending a long time of ethnic conflict and tackling drug generation in Myanmar’s lawless border regions.

Though it has not fought the Myanmar military in decades, the USWA – whose leaders deny allegations from the United States and other individuals that it is a significant producer of methamphetamine – has so considerably declined to actively participate in Suu Kyi’s peace process.

“It’s a excellent timing for us to open up. There is a new political reality in Myanmar, so it is really excellent to engage in the political dialogue and open up to the outside the house world,” explained Nyi Rang, a Wa govt formal.

China also has its own interests in engage in, according to analysts.

Beijing hopes Suu Kyi will restart a blocked, Chinese-financed mega-dam job, and wants to protect its comprehensive mineral interests in the country right after the removal of U.S. sanctions has opened it up to Western rivals.

“China is enjoying a elaborate recreation in Myanmar aimed at safeguarding and extending its significant economic, professional and strategic interests when at the same time deterring any encroachment by Western or Japanese interests along its southwestern border,” explained Anthony Davis, a Bangkok-based analyst for security consulting firm IHS-Jane’s.

“In this carrot-and-adhere recreation the UWSA is unquestionably the largest adhere Beijing wields – plausibly deniable diplomatically, massively influential as a strategic rear-base for allied ethnic factions, and itself considerably way too strong to be taken down militarily.”

WEAPONS Gross sales

The Wa mini-point out relies seriously on China as a current market for its exports of rubber and metals these kinds of as tin.

As very well as occupying govt posts, Chinese citizens, predominantly from neighbouring Yunnan province, dominate nearby marketplaces and the Wa elite mail their children to Chinese educational institutions and aged to its hospitals.

“We you should not make nearly anything in this article. The stuff we take in, we use and we use is all from China,” explained Chu Chin Hung, district workplace chief in the Wa border town of Nan Tit. “Each individual Saturday morning there is a farmers’ current market, but nearly all of the vendors are from China.”

Gurus these kinds of as IHS-Jane’s Defence Weekly have earlier described that China has offered a range of weapons to the Wa. For the first time, a Wa minister, who declined to be identified, confirmed some of people studies and described the process.

“The Wa State has purchased military vehicles immediately from China and light-weight weapons from China indirectly by means of Laos,” explained the minister. “Those weapons include rifles and cannons. They you should not want to anger Myanmar by selling immediately.”

The Chinese Defence Ministry denied selling weapons to the Wa.

“China has regularly and strictly adhered to a military products export coverage that positive aspects the receiver country’s present defence demands, does not harm regional or world peace, security and stability, and that does not interfere in the internal affairs of the receiver country,” it explained in a assertion to Reuters.



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