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Singapore shares close lower on Brexit worries

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FOOTBALL supporters on Monday were shocked by a "Braxit" when Brazil unexpectedly exited the Copa America tournament being held in the US after a defeat to Peru, while in Asia, stock market players were shocked by worries of a "Brexit" that sent equity prices reeling throughout the day.

With the Hang Seng Index dropping 2.5 per cent and the Nikkei plunging 3.5 per cent, the Straits Times Index (STI) stood little chance, losing 37.54 points or 1.3 per cent at 2,785.43 in thin volume of 1.6 billion units worth S$900.7 million. Of this S$669 million or 74 per cent was done in the 30 STI components and excluding warrants, there were 101 rises versus 317 falls throughout.

Britain votes on June 23 on the divisive issue of whether to remain in the European Union or to exit it. Opinions polls on "Brexit" are divided and suggest the final outcome, which will be known towards the end of next week, will be close.

In the currency market on Monday, the UK pound fell following suggestions that the "leave" camp had a marginal lead at the end of last week, a fall that observers said helped prompt selling of stocks and the buying of the Japanese yen and various government bonds.

Here, shares of the three banks took a beating and their falls were the largest contributors towards the STI's loss. Not far behind were slides in Singtel, Keppel Corp and CapitaLand.