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Aviva Extended the Deadline to Vote to 21 Sept 09 Print E-mail

Telegraph – 19 August 2009    

Three-quarters of Aviva's 1m eligible policyholders have voted on a proposal to pay windfalls averaging £500 to those willing to forego any future interest in the insurer's surplus funds, or "inherited estate".

The group extended the deadline to vote on the “reattribution scheme” for the remaining 250,000 policyholders by a month to September 21. Aviva said of those who had voted so far, 96pc were in favour.

Aviva, which recently rebranded from Norwich Union, is sitting on a surplus of £1.2bn in two of its with-profits funds - the CGNU and Culac funds. This offer is being made to policyholders with pensions, endowments or bonds invested in these funds and whose policies were in force on November 21, 2006. Those whose policies have matured since then will still receive windfall payments, but cannot vote. Mark Hodges, chief executive of Aviva UK Life, said the group expected to make windfall payments from November. He said: “We’re keen for as many of our eligible policyholders as possible to take advantage of our reattribution offer, which we believe is good value for at least 99pc of them.”

Prudential Announces First-Half Profits Print E-mail

TEP – 14 August 2009

Britain's biggest insurer has announced a smaller-than-expected drop in profits for the first half of the year and increased its dividend

Prudential said underlying profits fell 8% to £1.25bn in the six months to June.

This exceeded analysts' expectations who had forecast a profit of £1.16bn, according to the company.

"These results demonstrate a continuing strong performance by the Prudential Group in what remain challenging market conditions," said outgoing chief executive Mark Tucker.

Improving fortunes at the Prudential has enabled it to raise its interim dividend 5% to 6.29p.

The insurer said its financial position was "very strong" due to a capital cushion of £3bn, up from £1.5bn at the end of 2008.

Singapore Economy Expanded by 20.7% in Q2 Print E-mail

TEP – 12 August 2009

Singapore's economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter. Growth came in at 20.7 per cent on year, better than the initial estimate of 20.4 per cent announced by the government in July.

The growth snaps four straight quarters of contraction, but the government has warned that the recovery will be neither quick nor strong.

The volatile biomedical sector gave the Singapore economy a shot in the arm in the second quarter. Greater inventory restocking in the electronics cluster also helped to push the growth figures upwards.

Output in the key manufacturing sector during the three months to June jumped by 49.5 per cent after falling 18.5 per cent in the previous quarter.

The data suggests that the worst may be over, but government officials said it is uncertain if the strong performance can be sustained into the second half.
British Pound Soars To New Month High Against US Dollar Print E-mail

TEP – 4 August 2009

The British pound rose to a new multi-month high against the US dollar after a report showed that U.K.'s manufacturing sector expanded for the first time since March 2008 in July, adding to signs that the economy is emerging from the worst recession in a generation.

Th CIPS/Market Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index or PMI rose to 50.8 in July from an upwardly revised 47.4 in June. Economists had expected the index to rise to 47.7. This was the first time the index climbed above 50 since March 2008.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while a reading below 50 signals a contraction.

The British currency was also boosted by a rise in U.K. stock prices

Against the U.S. dollar, the British pound climbed to 1.6882 during early deals on Monday. This set the highest point for the pair since October 21, 2008. The next upside target level for the pound-dollar pair is seen around 1.766.

The Singapore currency edged down to 2.4276 against the British pound during early Asian trading Tuesday. This set the lowest point for the Singapore dollar since June 30, 2009

Economic Outlook in Singapore Still Uncertainty Print E-mail

TEP - 26 July 2009

Despite the 20 percent improvement in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year, Singapore's economic outlook is still dependent on other major economies like the United States, Europe and the rest of Asia, a Singapore government official said here on Sunday.

According to Channel NewsAsia reports on Sunday night, Singapore's Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made the remarks while addressing a local district meeting.

"Although we had a good second quarter - the second quarter of 2009 was a quarter with much better GDP growth compared to the previous two quarters where we saw a very deep contraction - the outlook for the future is basically determined by the United States, Europe and the rest of Asia," he said.

The minister stressed the importance of the community development councils (CDCs), saying that the CDCs could do their part by helping to ease Singaporeans through difficult times.

On July 14, Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) revised this year's economic growth forecast to contract 4 percent to 6 percent from the contraction of 6 percent to 9 percent.

The MTI said that the revised 2009 economic growth forecast reflects the less severe contraction in the first half of the year, while the underlying economic conditions remain weak.

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