Virgin Australia reported on Friday that its first-half profits dropped by 48 percent, and said it would delay the delivery of new Boeing 737MAX aircraft following the drop in airfares because of tough conditions in the domestic aviation market.

The airline posted an underlying profit before tax of A$42.3 million ($32.55 million) for the 6 months ended December 31, versus the A$81.5 million it reported in the same period a year ago.

On a statutory basis, including restructuring charges associated with a cost-savings programme, it reported a loss of A$A21.5 million, compared with a A$62.5 million profit in the previous year.

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2017.08.15 08:11:00 UTC+00

Singapore Home Sales Rise on New Projects

Home sales in Singapore increased 35 percent in July, with more projects being launched.

Developers sold 1,108 units in the month, compared with 820 in June, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. An overall 692 units were offered, higher from 159 in June, the data revealed.

Singapore leaders delivered a series of cooling measures since 2009. The government rolled back some property-market restrictions, although it has also warned that those adjustment will not indicate an unwinding of the measures.

Property prices fell for 15 consecutive quarters, the longest decline since the data was initially published in 1975. An index that follows private residential prices dropped 0.1 percent in the three months ended June 30 from the quarter earlier. Home values tumbled 12 percent from its 2013 high.

Projects launched in July include The Martin Modern, which sold 109 of 210 units marketed, and Symphony Suites sold 73 units in the month.

China's real estate investment growth slowed in July from the previous month, as government restrains continued to ease the property market and undermined investment.

Chinese authorities enforced cooling measures over the past year in order to deflate the housing bubble. The measures targeted speculators in the largest cities seemed to be paying dividends. However, speculators turned to smaller cities which have a huge overhang of unsold houses.

The rise in property investment, which mostly focuses on residential real estate but also involves commercial and office space, cooled to 4.8 percent in July from the previous year, against 7.9 percent in June, according to a Reuters calculation from the National Bureau of Statistics data.

Property sales measured by floor area increased by only two percent in July compared with the previous year, its softest growth since December 2015.

New construction starts measured by floor area, which implies confidence of developers, has contracted for the first time since last September, slipping seven percent from the previous year.

Real estate investment is acknowledged as an important driver for the economy in China. Some analysts sees tight easing measures to eventually pull down investment and reduce construction activity.

China's factory output increased 6.4 percent in July from the previous year, as fixed-asset investment rose 8.3 percent in the first seven months.

Fixed-asset investment had been expected to expand 8.6 percent over the first seven months, the same pace as in January-June.

Retail sales grew 10.4 percent in July from the previous year, cooling from June's 11 percent pace and also failing to meet analysts' forecasts for a 10.8 percent growth.

Growth of private investment softened to 6.9 percent in January-July from 7.2 percent during the first half of 2017, which implies that small and medium-sized private companies continue to face obstacles in accessing financing. Private investment accounts for nearly 60 percent of total investments in the country.

China is aiming for growth of almost nine percent in fixed asset investment for this year, and sees retail sales to rise around ten percent. It is targeting annual economic expansion of nearly 6.5 percent in 2017, which is lower from the 6.7 percent pace touched in the previous year.

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Aug 17 at 3:54 UTC

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