Real estate investors are now being “careful and prudent” about deploying capital in the face of growing economic uncertainty around the world, said leading Singaporean property investment manager CapitaLand Investment.
Its half-year financial results on Thursday revealed that CapitaLand Investment’s profit fell 38% to $433 million Singaporean dollars ($316 million) for the first half of the year owing to a lower pace of “capital recycling” this year, which the firm had adopted as a cautionary stance against a troubled global economy.
“We’re being very careful, patient and prudent, as I think many of our peers … are,” the company’s chief financial officer Andrew Lim told “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.
“There is a lot of uncertainty out there. We are seeing interest rates rising rapidly across many countries in reaction and response to supply side and demand side inflation, which is something we haven’t seen in a very long time.”
“And I think many real estate and capital managers are being very careful about deploying capital and underwriting returns, just because we are just so uncertain about what the next six to 12 months will hold on the macroeconomic side.”
Raffles City mall, operated by CapitaLand, in Chongqing, China, in 2019. CapitaLand Investment’s chief financial officer Andrew Lim said while revenue from properties in China has come off the boil, the company remains committed to investing in Chinese property.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Lim said the firms’ capital deployment this year should hit a more “normalized” SG$3 billion, down from last year’s SG$11 billion.
A recession signal?
One warning sign of an economic downturn or a recession is the restraint that investors exercise over deploying capital for new investments, economists said.
In a note about recessions last month, Oxford Economics said falling investments are often a “key driver” of downturns.
“In the recessionary periods since the 1980s, around half of the decline in the Group of 7 gross domestic product in negative quarters came from investment, even though investment only averaged 20% to 22% of GDP,” Oxford Economics lead economist Adam Slater said in the note.
“As a result, near-term trends in investment are of particular importance given the current concerns about a possible global recession.”
“An investment freeze in the coming quarters is a significant risk.”
We can’t be a leading Asian real estate investment manager if we are not significantly invested in China. And we remain very constructive on China … over the long term.
Though some indicators showed investment activity in the United States, Germany and Japan still looked strong, business sentiment about future …….