Bulls And Bears

STI down as China GDP growth slows

Analysts say Chinese economy could be hit harder if trade war with US escalates

Continued trade tensions as well as a slip in China's headline gross domestic product (GDP) from the first quarter led Singapore's key Straits Times Index to finish lower yesterday.

Analysts said this might just be the start, as China's economy could be hit harder if the trade war escalates.

The index lost 27.56 points to finish 0.85 per cent lower at 3,232.79. Turnover came in at 1.73 billion shares worth $890 million versus last Friday's 1.72 billion shares worth $917.5 million. Losers outnumbered gainers 237 to 159.

On the local bourse, all three banks slid in intra-day trading, with United Overseas Bank leading the losses with a fall of 1.9 per cent, or 51 cents, to $26.04. DBS Group Holdings finished 1.4 per cent, or 38 cents, lower at $25.87, while OCBC Bank retreated 1.4 per cent, or 16 cents, to $11.14.

Property developer City Developments Limited (CDL) fell 0.6 per cent, or six cents, to $9.64, after recent property cooling measures prompted equity analysts to downgrade their ratings of several developers, including CDL, on account of their Singapore residential exposure. About 1.2 million shares of the stock had been traded by market close.

Share prices of private cord-blood banker Cordlife Group rose 5.8 per cent, or 3.5 cents, to end at 63.5 cents, following its response to the Singapore Exchange after being queried on its unusual price movements last Friday.

Cordlife said it is in "confidential and non-binding discussions" on structuring possible transactions.

The day's most active was BlackGold Natural Resources, which lost 34 per cent, or 1.4 cents, to 2.7 cents. About 32.9 million shares changed hands after the coal company issued a clarification yesterday morning, distancing itself from allegations of corruption over a power plant project in Riau.

Other Asian markets closed mixed, under pressure from China's 6.7 per cent GDP growth in the second quarter, which, though in line with expectations, was at its slowest since 2016.

Benchmark indices in Malaysia and Hong Kong gained slightly, while those in China, South Korea and Australia fell.

In Europe, gains in strong industrials and pharma stocks barely edged out the effects of slowed Chinese growth.

"We have not seen the worst yet," Ms Iris Pang, Greater China economist at ING Bank in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2018, with the headline 'STI down as China GDP growth slows '. Print Edition | Subscribe