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Singapore: STI opens lower on back of oil glut, Fed statement expectations

THE Straits Times Index (STI) opened lower at 3,361, down 8.95 points or 0.27 per cent, on Wednesday, weighed down by cautious sentiments as commodity prices fall and nervousness increased ahead of a Federal Reserve policy statement.

Oil extended losses from a six-year low with the US government data projected to show crude stockpiles had risen to a fresh record.

Analysts are saying US oil is on the cusp of a bear market, with many predicting supplies already at their highest level in more than 30 years rose by another 4.4 million barrels.

The Fed may cut a reference to being "patient" on rate rises in its policy statement, Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas SA have said, according to Bloomberg.

Closer to home, unemployment in South Korea has hit a 12-month high, while a jump in exports helped to trim Japan's trade deficit in February to its slimmest in nearly two years.

At Singapore Exchange on Wednesday, some 59.6 million shares changed hands as at 9.03am. Losers beat gainers 66 to 54.

Top gainers at the market's opening included Singapore Airlines, DBS and Wing Tai.

Meanwhile, shares of Noble Group were among the top losers, opening down 2.22 per cent or two Singapore cents to S$0.88 in early-morning trading.