Bulls And Bears

US-China trade spat deepens market woes

Asian bourses tumble after Trump warns of plans for new taxes on Chinese goods

Local shares had nowhere to go but down yesterday once a fresh set of global trade tariff threats landed just before the opening bell.

The Straits Times Index fell 22.69 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 3,301.35, after US President Donald Trump warned of plans for new import taxes on US$200 billion (S$272 billion) worth of Chinese products.

About 2.02 billion shares worth $1.51 billion were traded, with losers beating gainers 295 to 136.

"Sentiment was very fragile, especially in the banking, offshore and marine, and property sectors, which are coming off their recent peaks due to heavy profit-taking," said CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang in a morning note.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong tumbled 2.78 per cent, Shanghai plunged 3.78 per cent, Seoul shed 1.52 per cent, and Tokyo fell 1.77 per cent, as Asian traders took their cue from overnight falls on Wall Street.

United Overseas Bank was the only Singapore lender to rise, putting on 17 cents to $26.60. DBS dipped 16 cents to $27.10, and OCBC Bank lost 12 cents to $11.86.

Singtel shed one cent to $3.18 on a volume of 36 million shares, although DBS analyst Sachin Mittal said the "temporary earnings decline presents an opportunity to accumulate". Fellow index telco StarHub lost nine cents to $1.67.

The rise in private home sales did not give much of a fillip to property counters, with City Developments shedding 15 cents to $11.07.

Mr Jeremy Ng, of Phillip Securities, said the counter has seen bearish momentum but a reversal is possibly on the cards: "Once that happens, expect the price to rebound higher to test the $11.78 resistance area, followed by $12.33."

UOL lost 12 cents to $7.50.

"At this juncture, we find Singapore developers inexpensive and maintain our 'overweight' stance," said CGS-CIMB analyst Lock Mun Yee in a sector flash note.

Even with most of the index in negative territory, ComfortDelGro still added two cents to $2.30. Phillip Securities analyst Richard Leow cited "the positive industry restructuring following the exit of Uber and the worst being over for the taxi industry".

Another happy gainer was food and beverage firm No Signboard Holdings, which jumped three cents, or 19.48 per cent, to 18.4 cents, as it consolidated ownership of Danish Breweries for $400,000.

CMC Markets' Ms Yang warned that tensions "could carry on if neither Washington nor Beijing are willing to step back from moving towards a massive trade war".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2018, with the headline 'US-China trade spat deepens market woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe