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Announcement:

Moody's: New retail space poses greater threat to retail S-REITs than the growth of online retail in the next 12-18 months

31 Jul 2018

Singapore, July 31, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service says that the increase in the supply of retail space will pose a greater threat to Singapore's real estate investment trusts (S-REITs) over the next 12-18 months than online shopping, while landlords are also adopting innovative approaches to retain shoppers at physical locations.

"We expect our two rated retail S-REITs to maintain the quality of their credit profiles, despite Singapore's weak retail environment," says Saranga Ranasinghe, a Moody's Assistant Vice President and Analyst.

"In terms of longer term trends, brick and mortar retail will be supported by initiatives of landlords to keep malls attractive and relevant to shoppers, the preference of Singaporeans for physical shopping, and the country's position as a regional shopping hub," says Ranasinghe. "We also note online shopping currently makes up only a small proportion of retail demand in Singapore."

Moody's conclusions are contained in its just-released report, "REITs -- Singapore: New supply of space and online shopping growth continue to challenge retail REITs".

A significant amount of new retail space will be added during 2018-22, especially in eastern Singapore, limiting the likelihood of a major recovery in rents which have been weak since the third quarter of 2015.

Accordingly, the stress on retail rents is expected to continue because of the preference of landlords to maintain occupancy rates rather than increase rents.

Despite this environment, we expect the credit profiles of two rated retail REITs, CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT, A2 stable) and Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT, Baa1 stable), will be maintained, helped by proactive lease management, the attractiveness of their malls to tenants given their locations and quality, and prudent financial management.

Three other rated REITs, Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (Baa3 stable), CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT, Baa2 stable) and Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT, Baa1 stable), are exposed to the retail sector through their ownership of shopping malls.

However, these three are more diversified because they have assets in other industry segments and geographic regions, which offsets the weakness in Singapore's retail market.

In terms of underlying demand, Moody's notes that Singapore remains a shopping hub in Southeast Asia, with products across the price range and a large variety of international and local retailers that might not be available in the rest of the region.

At the same time, Singapore's small size and connectivity within the country mean that retail malls are frequented by many locals for their daily essentials as well as entertainment.

Looking further ahead, Moody's expects online retail sales to continue to grow in Singapore and account for a larger share of total retail sales. Currently, the percentage of online sales still lags the US and the UK.

Subscribers can read the full report at:

http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1126321

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Saranga Ranasinghe
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Laura Acres
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

No Related Data.
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