The amount of information out there is enough to make one feel somewhat overwhelmed or even faint. I have not been reading blogs as much in the last one week and kept my reading primarily to Channel NewsAsia, The Business Times and Yahoo!Finance. Even so, it probably is enough to make heads spin.
Some proclaimed that the U.S. housing market has bottomed and is picking up! Conventional wisdom says that the U.S. housing market must pick up before we see a return to sustainable economic growth. On the same day, another article claimed that the U.S. economy is sliding back into recession!
Then, the stock markets around the world rallied because European banks can now be recapitalised directly from bailout funds. There are those who then said this is only a relief rally and it won't last. Their advice? Don't believe the rally! Sell the rally!
Hey, don't believe me, go get a copy of the weekend edition of The Business Times today. (Er, in case some are wondering, no, this is not a paid advertorial by The Business Times although you could be helping me a tiny bit as I am a shareholder of SPH.)
OK, if you have not fallen off your chair or reached for a bottle of medicated oil by now, good.
So, what are we to do? Do we join the bullish camp or the bearish camp? Regular readers would have guessed my answer. I would say neither. Stay practical. Stay invested but have a war chest ready.
Staying 100% or mostly in cash is not a good idea. It is unproductive as higher than average inflation chips away the value of our cash on hand. In fact, The Business Times has an article today which says that although the Singapore labour market is tight and although people might receive increments to their salaries, they are seeing little gain due to high inflation. Like what we learned in economics, there is nominal wage increase but not much real wage increase.
Actually, businesses are finding rising costs a struggle to deal with. Restaurants have reduced the size of portions being served and have, in some cases, increased prices.
At Ichiban Boshi, my family like to order soft shell crabs because we find that $5.50 for 2 soft shell crabs (cut into halfs) is not too bad. However, when we ordered it again a month or so ago, we only found 3 halfs on the plate. We thought perhaps 1 half fell on the kitchen floor or something. Anyway, when we ordered it again on a more recent visit, there were still 3 halfs only. Inflation had spirited away half a soft shell crab although price stayed at $5.50 a portion. Sheesh!
There are many costs of doing business and rent is a big one here. Rental rates in Singapore have been going up and up. Thus far, the only sector that has seen a decline in rent is in prime office space due to more than ample supply. There were signs very early on which is why I have been underweighting this sector in my porfolio of S-REITs. However, we can expect this sector to recover rapidly if the global economy picks up again. Just bear in mind that office tenants are a rather footloose bunch.
|SPH's Clementi Mall.|
Generally, however, it is a very good time to be landlords. For the vast majority of us who are not financially able to participate by owning shops and buildings directly, investing in selected S-REITs and SPH is the next best thing. In fact, some might say it is even better as we do not have to worry about the day to day operations of the properties. Well, there are pros and cons, to be sure.
There are many voices out there and we have many choices. However, we have to always remember not to be intimidated by all the information being stuffed in our faces. What is worse than having no information? It is to be drowning in too much information.
Know what matters. Everything else is just noise, is it not?
1. Office S-REITs VS Industrial S-REITs (4)
2. Staying postive on S-REITs.
3. Bearish or Bullish?
4. SPH: Better investment than retail S-REITs?