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Here are the winners and losers from Singapore’s budget

People take photographs at the Helix Bridge in Singapore, on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023.
People take photographs at the Helix Bridge in Singapore, on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. (Bloomberg)

By Ishika Mookerjee

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s budget measures aimed at reducing the cost of living may benefit consumer and health-care stocks, while multinational companies will face greater tax pressures.

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday announced cash handouts, rebates and measures to bolster retirement savings and ease pressures on household incomes. On the other hand, he proposed higher taxes for companies with large overseas presence from 2025.

The island nation expects its budget to swing back to a surplus of 0.1% of gross domestic product in the fiscal year beginning April, as recent tax increases lift revenue and help pay for the social assistance measures. The Straits Times Index ended the day 1.4% higher, though still below its level before the speech began.

Bloomberg

The budget is “striking a balance between being supportive of cost inflation” and achieving growth that’s needed in the future, said Krishna Guha, analyst at Maybank Securities Pte.

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Singapore expects growth in 2024 to be in a range of 1%-3%, in line with the 2%-3% annual GDP expansion targeted over the next decade.

WINNERS

Consumer Stocks

The budget will roll out S$1.9 billion ($1.4 billion) in handouts as well as the top up a tax voucher fund, and provide rebates for utilities and personal income tax.

Grocer Sheng Siong Group Ltd., food and beverage maker Fraser and Neave Ltd. and restaurant chain operators including Jumbo Group Ltd. and Kimly Ltd. could all benefit.

The cash aid may result in higher rents for mall landlords, including CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, Frasers Centrepoint Trust, Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust and Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Ken Foong.

“About 5-10% of the revenue from their mall business consists of turnover rents,” he wrote in a note.

Tech Manufacturing

Singapore, which is a key part of the global technology supply chain, will invest more than S$1 billion in the artificial intelligence industry over the next five years, Wong said.

This could benefit chip suppliers including AEM Holdings Ltd., which counts Intel Corp. as its biggest customer, as well as UMS Holdings Ltd. Electronics services provider Venture Corp. will be another name to watch.

Green Energy, Banks

The city-state is setting up a Future Energy Fund with an initial corpus of S$5 billion that will invest in clean energy technology and infrastructure.

The rollout may benefit utility Sembcorp Industries Ltd. as well as Keppel Ltd. and Keppel Infrastructure Trust. The fund “is relatively large” and should also support loan growth at banks, Guha said.

Banks may also see an improvement in asset quality as the government helps small businesses. The state is also topping up its Financial Sector Development fund by S$2 billion.

Additionally, DBS Group Holdings Ltd.’s wealth-management business could get a boost as the country prepares to revise the tax breaks given to approved family offices, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sarah Jane Mahmud wrote in a note.

Aged Care

Singapore announced steps to support retirement savings and health-care costs including a new S$7.5 billion fund, comprising bonus payments among other things. The broader Majulah Package was first announced by the Prime Minister last year.

The move may aid hospital operators such as Raffles Medical Group Ltd. and IHH Healthcare Bhd. Raffles Medical gained 2% on Friday.

LOSERS

Property

Singapore will raise the threshold for property tax payments and cut penalties imposed on developers that don’t sell projects in time. The budget, however, lacked major demand-boosting measures aimed at helping the sector that’s currently battling a slowdown in housing sales.

Oxley Holdings Ltd. was lower by 1.1% while Wing Tai Holdings Ltd. and UOL Group Ltd. ended the day below session highs. Singapore’s property bellwether City Developments Ltd. was little changed after Wong’s speech, advancing 1.7% for the day.

Multinationals

Multinationals should help bolster fiscal revenues for Singapore, as taxes are brought in line with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development peers.

Wong said the country will introduce a minimum effective tax rate of 15% starting 2025 for companies with annual group revenue of at least 750 million euros, as under the international Base Erosion and Profit Shifting 2.0 initiative.

—With assistance from Low De Wei and Sheryl Tian Tong Lee.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.