A New Singapore Cabinet Could Propel Stocks Higher, OCBC Says

Singapore’s skyline. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

By Abhishek Vishnoi

Singapore equity valuations are likely to benefit from the handover of the country’s reins to younger leaders.

That’s according to Carmen Lee, the head of research at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. A younger team with technology- and media-savvy members would put more focus on making the city-state a “smarter” nation and may even cut corporate and personal taxes. That, in turn, could increase stock valuations, she said at a media briefing in Singapore.

Her comments came as speculation increased a cabinet reshuffle is in the cards for next year, after a Straits Times report on Monday said Singapore will announce changes following a budget debate in March. The newspaper cited an interview with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the Group-of-20 summit in Argentina.

While Singapore share prices are already attractive, they have the potential to go higher, OCBC’s Lee said. Even without factoring in any boost from a new cabinet, her base-case scenario for 2019 sees the benchmark Straits Times Index rising to 3,631.8, implying a 17 percent jump from Thursday’s close.

While a “smarter” nation would not translate into earnings immediately, technology would penetrate across industries in the long run, with telecom and banking shares benefiting the most, in addition to the few tech companies listed in Singapore, she said. NetLink NBN Trust, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., DBS Group Holdings Ltd., United Overseas Bank Ltd. and SATS Ltd. are among her top picks poised to gain from a new cabinet.

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P