Bulls And Bears

Global slowdown fears drag markets down

Japan leads sell-offs in key Asia-Pacific markets amid investor jitters

Markets in Asia were a sea of red yesterday on broad sell-offs fuelled by worrying concerns about a global economic slowdown.

That sent Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) dropping 29.18 points or 0.9 per cent to close at 3,182.92. While ending the day lower, the benchmark index's performance bettered its counterparts in other key markets in the Asia-Pacific - Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fared the worst, slipping 650.23 points or 3 per cent to close at 20,977.11. The day's sell-offs in Asia followed those on Wall Street last Friday.

Trading on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 912.44 million securities, about 65 per cent the daily average over the first two months of 2019. Total turnover came to $1.02 billion, in line with the January-to-February daily average. Decliners outnumbered advancers 291 to 116.

Twenty-four of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day down. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the blue-chip index's most traded, ending at one Singapore cent or 0.7 per cent lower at $1.50 with 20.6 million shares changing hands.

UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products Brandon Leu noted the shipbuilder's performance was representative of worries that global trade would dip and, as a result, so would shipping.

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw $143.06 million traded - 14 per cent of the bourse's value of securities - across 5.72 million shares. The bank's shares fell 23 cents or 0.9 per cent to close at $25.12.

The other local banks also closed lower as cyclical sectors such as financials and tech were among the worst performers. OCBC Bank closed 17 cents or 1.5 per cent down at $10.99, while UOB shed 25 cents or 1 per cent to end at $24.95.

In the tech sphere, Venture Corp slid 56 cents or 3.1 per cent to close at $17.45, while Hi-P International finished four cents or 2.4 per cent down at $1.63.

Bucking the trend was Sino Grandness, which jumped 1.8 cents or 41.9 per cent to 6.1 cents. The canned vegetable and fruits producer said yesterday it intends to issue placement shares, where proceeds of about $6.8 million are to be used to repay outstanding sums to Soleado Holdings and strengthen its financial and working capital.

Despite yesterday's surge, Sino Grandness is still 50 per cent down on the year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2019, with the headline 'Global slowdown fears drag markets down'. Print Edition | Subscribe