Singapore stocks, regional currencies, fall in wake of mixed US jobs data

After the release of last Friday's US jobs data, Singapore shares fell, along with regional currencies including the Singapore dollar.
After the release of last Friday's US jobs data, Singapore shares fell, along with regional currencies including the Singapore dollar.PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares fell, while currencies including the Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah slipped to new lows against the greenback after last Friday's (Sept 4) US jobs data led some to believe a US Fed rate lift-off will come soon.

However, the US data was mixed - the number of jobs created fell short of expectations but the jobless rate fell - which sent Wall Street sinking 1.66 per cent on Friday.

With the US markets closed for Labour Day today, trading activity locally is likely to be thin as investors typically don't want to hold too much risk. "The market is still trying to find its feet after China came back from its Victory Day holiday," IG market strategist Bernard Aw said.

"The fact that China is not in the red at the start of the week provided some cushion for the STI, which is supported at 2,850. If it breaks below 2,850, more selling pressure may continue," he said.

Gains in Chinese equities helped lift some Asian bourses briefly but were not enough to propel the Straits Times Index out of the red. As at 2.35pm, the STI was 6.57 points or 0.23 per cent lower at 2,857.24.

The "correction in the stock market is almost done" and China's financial markets are expected to become "more stable", Mr Zhou Xiaochuan told central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20 largest economies on Saturday.

But interest rate hike concerns and fears that Chinese markets will continue to drive volatility in the region weighed on sentiment.

"Midcap and large cap stocks remain under pressure. There's not much retail participation ahead of the Singapore elections," remisier Alvin Yong said.

Meanwhile, emerging-market currencies came under pressure after the US jobs report, with the Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah hitting fresh 17-year lows against the US dollar. The greenback traded at 4.3105 ringgit and 14,247 rupiah.

The Singaporean dollar also fell to a fresh six-year low at 1.4268 against the greenback. The Thai baht traded near its six-year low of 35.998 against the US dollar.