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Rough ride for Temasek too

Investors everywhere have been in for a rough ride since last year, and Temasek Holdings is no exception.

The Singapore investment company has suffered its first portfolio decline since the 2009 global financial crisis, pointing to more tough times ahead.

The firm's net portfolio value fell to $242 billion for the financial year ended March 31, down from $266 billion a year ago.

The decline was not surprising - about three-fifths of Temasek's holdings are tied up in listed assets, which means weak stock markets around the world were a significant drag.

Its one-year total shareholder return came in at a negative 9.02 per cent, also reflecting the share price declines of its listed investments, the firm said last Thursday in its annual review.

It was a volatile year for markets everywhere, particularly in China, which made up a quarter of Temasek's portfolio as at March 31.

It is possible that this latest set of numbers is just a bump in the road, given Temasek's long-term investment horizon.

For instance, the share prices of some of its portfolio companies have recovered since March - Singtel shares have risen from $3.82 at end-March to $4.14 last Friday.

However, the fact remains that the investment landscape has become tougher and there are more uncertainties ahead.

The global economy never really recovered from the financial crisis and growth has been stuck in the doldrums since.

Central banks all over the world have cut interest rates to rock-bottom levels in a bid to stimulate economies.

In this environment, investors everywhere are finding it difficult to identify good investments.

All in all, the current financial year is likely to be another challenging one for Temasek.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2016, with the headline 'Rough ride for Temasek too'. Print Edition | Subscribe