Investors in Singapore continued to shrug off concerns over the impact of a weaker Chinese yuan for a second day, helping the local bourse to end on a positive note before the weekend. The benchmark Straits Times Index bucked the regional trend to rise 22.47 points, or 0.73 per cent, closing at 3,114.25.
Retail sales in Singapore rose 6.9 per cent in June from the same month a year ago, driven by another jump in the sales of motor vehicles, figures from the Singapore Department of Statistics showed on Friday (Aug 14). However, excluding auto sales, retail sales fell 3 per cent year-on-year.
Rents for non-landed private homes continued to weaken in July, dipping 0.3 per cent compared to May, according to flash estimates released by SRX Property on Friday (Aug 14). Condominiums and apartments in all types of locations softened: by 0.4 per cent in the prime districts (Core Central Region), 0.2 per cent in the city fringes (Rest of Central Region) and 0.3 per cent in outlying districts (Outside Central Region).
Mr Tan Hak Leh, AIA Singapore chief, has been appointed group chief risk officer of AIA Group, and will move to Hong Kong in his new role, said the insurer on Friday. He reports to group chief executive Mark Tucker, and will become a member of AIA's group executive committee.
Malaysia's ringgit hit a new record low against the Singapore dollar on Friday (Aug 14), after the Malaysian unit slumped to a fresh 17-year low versus the US dollar. With the fall in oil prices increasing concerns over the country's exports, the ringgit lost as much as 2.6 per cent to 4.1180 per US dollar, its weakest since Sept. 1 1998.
China's central bank on Friday strengthened the yuan currency against the US dollar by 0.05 per cent, the national foreign exchange market said, ending three days of falls after a surprise devaluation. The daily reference rate was set at 6.3975 yuan to US$1.0, up from 6.4010 the previous day, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System said. The rate was also slightly higher than Thursday's close of 6.3982 yuan.
The euro zone economy grew by less than expected in the second quarter, the European Union's statistics office said in its first estimate published on Friday. Eurostat said gross domestic product in the 19-country euro area grew by 0.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the April-June period for a 1.2 per cent year-on-year rise.
Greek legislators approved a bailout package on Friday (Aug 14) that may unlock as much as 86 billion euros (S$129 billion) and help the nation avoid a default next week when it has to make a payment to the European Central Bank.