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ASEAN+ June 14, 2018 01:00

By Asia News Network

Singapore labour market on the mend

The labour market in Singapore continued to show slight improvements in the first quarter of 2018, with retrenchment figures falling to a five-year low and the number of job openings on the rise.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on yesterday showed that 2,320 workers were laid off in the first quarter of this year, a drop from 4,000 in the same quarter last year.

This is higher than the MOM's initial estimates of 2,100.

The retrenchment figure was 2,120 in March 2013, before hovering around 3,000 to 5,000 from 2015 to 2017.

But it has remained difficult for some groups of people to get back into a job.

The re-entry rate for residents in the first quarter - which is the share of residents who were laid off in the third quarter of last year and found work within six months - was 61 per cent, lower than 64 per cent in the same quarter last year.

Groups that saw below-average re-entry rates include professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), and those who are 50 and older.

The long-term unemployment rate was 0.7 per cent as of March this year, down from 0.8 per cent a year earlier. This measures the share of the resident labour force who have been unemployed for at least 25 weeks. Overall, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the first quarter improved to 2 per cent, down from 2.2 per cent a year earlier. – The Straits Times

Higher gas tariff for households 

Households in Malaysia will have to pay higher tariffs from July 1, 2018 after Gas Malaysia Bhd imposed the surcharge of 77 sen, raising the tariff to RM23.80 per one million British Thermal Units (BTU).

Gas Malaysia said yesterday that it had received the go-ahead from the Energy Commission to raise the surcharge under the mechanism for the tariffs following the global increase in gas prices.

The incentive based regulation (IBR) framework sets the base tariff for a regulatory period of three years from January 2017. The IBR allows changes in the gas costs to be passed through via the Gas Cost Pass Through (GCPT) mechanism every six months.

Gas Malaysia said that in addition, under the GCPT mechanism, a surcharge of 77 sen per MMBtu will apply to all tariff categories due to the higher actual gas costs against the reference gas costs in the base tariff in this period. 

“This translates to an average effective tariff of 32.69 ringgit per MMBtu.

“The average natural gas base tariff is set at RM31.92 per MMBtu for the period beginning July to December 2018 in line with Gas Malaysia’s announcement on Dec 28, 2016,” it said. – The Star 

Younger generations push lease sector growth

The leasing sector is seeing explosive growth in Cambodia with the emergence of new services that allow consumers to purchase motorbikes, cars, and other household appliances.

According to the annual supervisory report released by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) last week, revenue from leasing last year accounted for $129 million. This is a huge jump from the US$4 million recorded in 2013, when leasing was first introduced in the Kingdom.

Ngeth Chou, the senior consultant at Emerging Markets Consulting (EMC), said on Tuesday that even though the leasing sector is fairly new in the market, it has made significant progress and is giving vast opportunities to financial operators and consumers. – Phnom Penh Post


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