Bulls And Bears

Asian markets make small gains after rout

Boost from reports of US refraining from labelling China a currency manipulator

Regional markets clawed back small gains yesterday after Thursday's savage sell-offs, thanks to better-than-expected Chinese trade data and reports that the United States had refrained from labelling China a currency manipulator.

Asia's rally was in contrast to US markets, which tumbled for a second straight session overnight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 545 points, shedding over 5 per cent in total over the two days.

The Straits Times Index here snapped a six-day losing streak to add 0.71 per cent or 21.78 points to reach 3,069.17, but it was still down 4.4 per cent for the week.

About 2.04 billion shares worth $1.36 billion were traded, with gainers topping losers 293 to 131.

Elsewhere, Shanghai shares rose 0.91 per cent, while Shenzhen added 0.19 per cent and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong improved markedly by 2.12 per cent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 made a 0.46 per cent gain after losing almost 4 per cent on Thursday, while Seoul's Kospi ended eight straight sessions of losses with a 1.51 per cent advance.

The most active here was Vallianz Holdings, which closed flat at 0.7 cent on a volume of 105.8 million. It was followed closely by Nico Steel Holdings, which shot up 33.3 per cent to 0.8 cent with 105.7 million shares changing hands.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding added 3.3 per cent to reach $1.27 on trade of 38 million shares after announcing on Thursday night that it has set up a joint venture shipbuilder in China.

Advance estimates yesterday indicated that gross domestic product here grew 2.6 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, beating economists' expectations even though it slowed from the 4.1 per cent year-on-year growth in the second quarter.

The outlook for Singapore's economy remains positive despite the ongoing trade war, said DBS senior economist Irvin Seah. "Although the trade disputes between the US and China could indirectly affect Singapore in the near term, they could also bring about opportunities in the medium to longer term.

"Moreover, while financial market volatilities could weigh on investor confidence... underlying growth fundamentals remain well supported by stronger growth in the global economy."

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it will tighten monetary policy. United Overseas Bank researchers said that the MAS may tighten it further next April "due to growth staying above potential while core inflation is likely to average above 2.0 per cent in 2019".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2018, with the headline 'Asian markets make small gains after rout'. Print Edition | Subscribe