Markets insights

All eyes still on Greece and China

Markets are jittery as worries continue over whether Greece will be kicked out of the euro or whether it will be able to arrive at a deal with its creditors.
Markets are jittery as worries continue over whether Greece will be kicked out of the euro or whether it will be able to arrive at a deal with its creditors.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Investors anxious as Greek deal still out of reach, but China markets improving

Following the upheaval in the global financial markets last week, investors have been hoping for a less bumpy ride in the coming days but they will have to brace themselves for more uncertainty as the Greek situation remains in a state of flux.

At the close of the trading week in Europe and the US, Greece's last- ditch reform proposals had been warmly received, reviving hopes of a bailout deal yesterday. China's stock markets also took a turn for the better, bouncing back in the latter part of the week after being gripped by panic-selling.

Analysts said the Chinese government's efforts to restore investor confidence seem to have worked, albeit temporarily.

Buoyed by easing pressures in both Greece and China, global sentiment improved. The atmosphere on Wall Street was lively last Friday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.21 per cent and the S&P 500 added 1.23 per cent.

At home, the benchmark Straits Times Index also ended the week on a positive note - up 0.38 per cent at 3,279.88, with 190.85 million shares changing hands. This came after a 1.67 per cent loss on Wednesday. For the week, however, the index was down 62.85 points or 1.92 per cent.

However, some dealers are sceptical as to whether the bears can really be kept at bay.

All eyes continue to be on the Greek debt situation and the Chinese markets, said remisier Desmond Leong.

European leaders had set a Sunday make-or-break deadline for Greece to accept conditions for a rescue. With the European Union summit called off as talks with the euro zone finance ministers continued yesterday, a speedy resolution to the Greek debt crisis looks increasingly unlikely.

Mr Leong said the outcome, whatever it is, will have a limited impact on Singapore stocks: "We've already been through China and two milestones relating to Greece's debt situation - we should be able to weather it this week as well."

An ABN-Amro report last week said a deal between Greece and its creditors by yesterday was "likely to be very challenging and it may well prove elusive".

But it added that even as financial markets are expected to react negatively to a no-deal scenario, it believes the situation is unlikely to evolve into "a Lehman moment". The Lehman Brothers bank collapse in 2008 has been largely pinpointed as the factor that precipitated the global financial crisis.

More pressing is how the Chinese markets will perform, given that more companies in Singapore have exposure to China than Greece, Mr Leong pointed out.

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen last Friday said she expected the central bank to raise interest rates "at some point later this year".

But she also stressed that the United States labour market remains weak and that more workers could be encouraged back into the job market with stronger growth.

Singapore will be announce advance estimates for the second quarter's gross domestic product tomorrow. The Singapore market will be closed on Friday for the Hari Raya Puasa holiday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline 'All eyes still on Greece and China'. Print Edition | Subscribe