Bulls And Bears

Singapore market sinks to 18-month low

Other Asian bourses also plunge as trade tensions continue to spook investors

The local market joined other key bourses across the region yesterday to close at levels not seen for more than a year as trade tensions continued to unnerve investors.

The Straits Times Index here fell for the fifth straight session to close at 3,109.91, its lowest point in 18 months. It lost 11.01 points or 0.35 per cent, with turnover of 1.5 billion shares worth $865.6 million. Losers outnumbered gainers 249 to 138.

"We are largely staring at the same few factors driving regional markets lower," said IG market strategist Pan Jingyi. "The key item remains the worries over incoming tariff escalations between US and China, alongside the comparative disadvantage that Asia markets are expected to face in the light of this threat."

Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended at its lowest since July 14 last year while the Shanghai Composite Index finished at a 31-month low.

Sydney broke an eight-day losing streak to stage a modest rise.

FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed noted that risks have not changed despite a slight return in appetite for equities.

"Emerging markets are still vulnerable to further shocks, and the US-China trade dispute is likely to escalate further in the coming days," he said yesterday. "This makes it difficult for investors to make up their minds on whether to begin purchasing oversold potential stocks or wait longer for clarity on how US-China relations resolve."

The most actively traded stocks here included Thai Beverage, which lost two cents, or 3.2 per cent, to 61 cents.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the firm is marketing bonds for what would be the biggest corporate note sale in Thailand. It said the firm is raising at least 70 billion baht (S$2.9 billion), in part to refinance loans taken to buy its stake in Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp.

Genting Singapore retreated one cent, or 1 per cent, to $1.02.

Bloomberg noted that casino revenue expansion in neighbouring nations is threatening Singapore's mass-market gaming growth, although non-casino tourism initiatives here should help soften the impact. "Genting's Resorts World Sentosa is likely to be the first to feel the pressure from the Philippines' growing success, as mainstream gamblers account for about 80 per cent of its casino revenue," wrote Bloomberg analyst Margaret Huang.

OUE Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust fell 0.5 cent, or 0.75 per cent, to 66 cents after an announcement that it would buy the office components of OUE Downtown from its sponsor OUE. But OUE rose one cent, or 0.6 per cent, to $1.59 following the news.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore market sinks to 18-month low'. Print Edition | Subscribe