May 19, 2020

Australia’s business conditions reached historic high in April

National Australia Bank
Business Confidence
Galia Ilan
2 min
Australia’s business conditions reached historic high in April

Australia saw its business conditions reach a new high last month, with sales, profits, and employment all succeeding.

A survey released by the National Australia Bank saw business conditions jump by 6 points in April, hitting +21.

The reading equalises the highest ever record, dated in 1997. The nation has also scored well above its average of +5.5.

“The business conditions index printed at +21 in April, up 6pts on last month, to be at the equal highest level since the monthly survey began in March 1997 (and equalling the highest level since 1994 in the quarterly survey),” the report notes.

In terms of profitability, the survey showed that it has gained 6 points, reaching +22.


Sales grew by 7 points to +28, with employment earning an additional 4 points to +13, according to the bank.

“Business confidence rose by 2pts to +10, a well above average level, albeit trailing the strength in conditions.”

“As with conditions, business confidence has improved over the last couple of years, lifting from +5.5 in 2016, to +9 over 2017 H1, to +10 since last October.”

“This mirrors the lift in confidence globally, as world growth accelerated to the strongest pace since 2011.”

“The strength in business conditions and leading indicators suggest economic growth will strengthen and that over-time we should see strong jobs growth and falls in the unemployment rate,” remarked Alan Oster, Group Chief Economist at the National Australia Bank.

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.


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