Asian markets continue slide on China sell-off

Slump in China comes as PBOC makes biggest cash injection into financial system in 3 years

The bloodbath continued yesterday, with Asian markets extending their losses, led by a sell-off in Chinese markets.

Singapore shares were not spared either. The Straits Times Index (STI) sank 27.07 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 2,532.70.

Shanghai lost 3.2 per cent and was at its lowest since December 2014, wiping out its earlier gains from the morning, while Shenzhen slumped 4 per cent.

The slump came as the central bank made its biggest cash injection of 400 billion yuan (S$87.5 billion) into the financial system in three years, in an attempt to shore up flailing confidence in the slowing economy.

"The People's Bank of China (PBOC) is trying to put liquidity back in the financial system after capital outflows and ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays," Mr William Wong, head of sales trading at Shenwan Hongyuan Group in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.

"Sentiment is volatile and it will take some time to restore investor confidence," he added.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong slid 1.8 per cent, Tokyo fell 2.4 per cent while Jakarta dipped 0.3 per cent.

Wall Street was spooked by the earlier selldown across major markets on Wednesday, closing 1.6 per cent lower overnight.

Sentiment continued to be weighed down by uncertainty over the global economy and the ongoing collapse in crude oil prices, with benchmark Brent down to levels of around US$27 a barrel.

Among the biggest laggards yesterday was modern warehouse facilities provider Global Logistic Properties, which fell six cents, or 3.3 per cent, to $1.755.

The local banks were a mixed bag, with DBS Group Holdings losing 32 cents, or 2.3 per cent, to $13.77, and OCBC Bank retreating nine cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $7.57.

United Overseas Bank, on the other hand, edged up four cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $17.07.

Sembcorp Industries fell 11 cents, or 4.8 per cent, to $2.19, while its marine business Sembcorp Marine rose 1.5 cents, or 1 per cent, to $1.50.

This comes on the back of market talk that Sembcorp Industries might inject funds or take full control of SembMarine to replenish finances strained by a collapse in oil prices.

Meanwhile, commodity trader Noble Group put up a strong showing as it rebounded one cent, or 3.7 per cent, to 28 cents.

CapitaLand Mall Trust climbed one cent, or 0.5 per cent, to $1.96, while Golden Agri-Resources added half a cent, or 1.5 per cent, to 33.5 cents.

Outside of the blue chips, offshore marine firm Ezra Holdings continued to take a hit, shaving 0.2 cent, or 3.4 per cent, to 5.6 cents. It was also the day's most heavily traded, with 59.1 million shares changing hands.

Trade across the bourse amounted to 1.16 billion shares worth $1.39 billion.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline 'Asian markets continue slide on China sell-off'. Print Edition | Subscribe