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Banks

UPDATE 1-Singapore c.bank wary of property mkt speculation

* More measures may be needed to curb property speculation

* Asian markets may be sensitive to monetary tightening

* Financial market rally has outpaced economic fundamentals

(adds detail on risks, background)

SINGAPORE, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Singapore’s central bank warned that more measures may be needed to curb the risk of renewed speculation in the country’s property market, buoyant by low borrowing costs.

The comments underscored the growing concern among policymakers in Asia, who are worried that the froth in residential markets in financial centres such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul could turn into a bubble.

“As Singapore emerges from recession and with the market expecting low interest rates to persist for some time, the risk of a renewed escalation of speculative momentum cannot be discounted,” the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in an annual Financial Stability Review. “More measures might then be necessary.

The Singapore government in September acted to cool the property market by releasing more land and making it harder for home buyers to defer payments.[ID:nSIN486658].

Last month Hong Kong’s central bank said it would cap the mortgage limit for luxury property at 60 percent, down from 70 percent currently, and limit loan values. [ID:nHKG305705]

South Korea’s central bank has warned it would have to raise interest rates to curb a boom in property prices.

The Singapore central bank said property market activity has taken its own dynamics despite the lingering uncertainties in the domestic and global economy.

Singapore’s monetary authority also warned that the global financial market rally has outpaced economic fundamentals and any perception that the economic recovery is stalling could trigger a repricing of financial assets.

It said the rally in Asian asset prices since the first quarter of 2009 has been supported by abundant global liquidity, but they may be sensitive to removal of monetary accommodation.

“Such market volatility could prompt capital outflows from Asia and, in turn, exchange rate volatility,” the MAS said.

Asian stocks, as measured by the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index <.MIAPJ0000PUS >, have surged 60 percent this year, outpeforming a 27 percent jump in MSCI's world equity index .MIWD00000PUS.

The MAS said some Asian economies may need to tighten monetary policies ahead of the world’s largest economies, namely the United States, but cautioned against a significant tightening earlier than the G3 countries.

“If monetary policy needs to be tightened significantly earlier than in the G3, carry trades, capital inflows and exchange rate appreciate pressure could result, potentially entailing a risk of asset price bubbles,” the MAS said.

In October Singapore’s central bank kept its loose monetary policy unchanged because it was unconvinced an economic rebound can be sustained. The MAS said Singapore’s financial system has weathered the financial crisis well and domestic financial conditions should continue to improve as the economy recovers.

Singapore banks led by by Singapore's biggest bank, DBS DBSM.SI, beat market expectations with a strong set of third-quarter earnings and are better positioned than global peers for post-crisis.[ID:nSIN12742]

But the MAS cautioned that the situation in the Singapore financial system is not without downside risks, largely due to concerns over the sustainability of the global recovery. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Kazunori Takada))

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