The Chinese central bank's shocking move to devalue the yuan a second time in as many days sent Singapore shares spiralling into their biggest one-day decline in almost four years. Investors fear that the Singdollar, which closely tracks the yuan, will continue to weaken further as a result of China's actions. The devaluations also served to confirm investor worries that the Chinese economy is in poor health.
The Singapore dollar hit a fresh five-year low on Wednesday (Aug 12) as China's central bank devalued its currency for the second day in a row. The Singdollar fell nearly 1 per cent to 1.4150 per US dollar, its weakest since June 2010.
Singapore's benchmark three-month interest rate rose to a four-month high on Wednesday, after the Singapore dollar slid to a five-year low against the US dollar, following the devaluation of the Chinese yuan. The three-month Singapore interbank offered rate (Sibor), which is used to set interest rates on mortgages, rose to 0.9345 per cent, its highest level since April 16.
Shares of Singapore-listed Noble Group tumbled Wednesday (Aug 12) amid a rout in raw material prices and ongoing criticism of its accounting, even as Asia's largest commodity trader resumed stock buybacks. The shares sank 12 per cent to 50 cents as of 2:34 p.m. local time after surging 27 per cent last week.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong has conditionally agreed to sell 10 million shares or 4.36 per cent of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) for about US$590 million (S$826.65 million). The sale will result in a gain of US$44.6 million, with proceeds to be used for working capital and to fund new investments should opportunities arise, the company said.
The Malaysian ringgit lost further ground against the Singapore dollar on Wednesday, trading at 2.8538 to the Singdollar at about 1:35pm, down from its close at 2.82 on Tuesday. This is the weakest that the ringgit has been against the Singdollar on record. China's surprise devaluation of the yuan this week has lumped more pressure on the ringgit, Asia's worst-performing currency in the past 12 months.
China cut the yuan's value against the US dollar for the second consecutive day Wednesday, roiling global financial markets and driving expectations the currency could be set for further falls. The daily reference rate that sets the value of the Chinese currency against the greenback was cut by 1.62 per cent to 6.3306 yuan, from 6.2298 the previous day, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement on its website.