Bulls And Bears

Regional bourses fall as tariff row escalates

STI down 0.97% amid US-China trade spat and concerns over Fed rate hike

Local shares were not immune to trade war jitters yesterday, with the index closely tracking the declines in other regional bourses as the tariff row between the United States and China escalated.

The benchmark Straits Times Index closed down 32.69 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 3,324.04 after a mild recovery following a dip below the 3,300 mark.

It has now lost 2.32 per cent from the start of the year. The trade spat is the latest blow, after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 25 basis points last week.

"Weak sentiment across Asia and mounting concerns over the Fed interest rate hike dampened investors' confidence, resulting in profit-taking activities," said CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang.

Losers trounced gainers 302 to 118, with 898.5 million shares worth $1.38 billion changing hands.

The Nikkei slipped 0.75 per cent, not helped by a deadly earthquake in Osaka, and Seoul's Kospi fell by 1.16 per cent.

Chinese exchanges were shut for the Dragon Boat Festival.

Much of the local index was awash in red, with one exception being Singtel, which ended flat at $3.19, on a volume of 26.2 million shares after management held its own against analysts at an investor day last Thursday.

Singapore Exchange (SGX) had no reprieve from the weekend updates on a legal tussle with its Indian counterpart. It will have to hold off on launching new India equity derivatives until a final decision is made on the listing and trading of its popular index-linked Nifty products.

SGX lost two cents to $7.19.

Transport operator ComfortDelGro lost four cents to $2.28, with nearly 11 million shares traded.

Rival Grab snagged a $500 million facility from HSBC Singapore not long after Toyota pumped in US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion).

Export numbers for last month showed a persistent slide in electronics shipments, which could bring more gloom for technology stocks nervous about the impact of a trade war on their Chinese exposure.

AEM Holdings lost 17 cents, or 14.53 per cent, to $1.

UMS Holdings was down 4.5 cents, or 5.46 per cent, to 78 cents, and Hi-P International dipped 10 cents, or 7.94 per cent, to $1.16.

With oil prices tumbling ahead of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting on Friday, large-cap offshore and marine stocks took a spill.

Keppel Corporation dipped 12 cents, or 1.66 per cent, to $7.12, while Sembcorp Marine was down 10 cents, or 4.93 per cent, to $1.93.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Regional bourses fall as tariff row escalates'. Print Edition | Subscribe