PERHAPS the most notable feature of the trading week just past on the local front is the spike up in volume - on Tuesday, for example, slightly more than S$1.7 billion was traded, more than triple the business that was done a week earlier. This was followed by S$1.5 billion on Wednesday, S$1.6 billion on Thursday and S$1.2 billion on Friday, all decent totals when viewed in the context of an alarming decline in liquidity the local market has suffered over the past year.
On the external front, perhaps the most important development was the large sell-off in bond markets that drove yields higher. This pressure abated slightly on Thursday - German 10-year Bund yields, the benchmark for European debt costs, pulled back to 0.832 per cent after rising on Wednesday to 0.998 per cent, the highest since September 2014. Bonds have been under pressure for several weeks now, unsettling equity markets.
Here, the improvement in turnover, however, came with mainly weakness in prices. The Straits Times Index lost about 60 points or 1.8 per cent over the course of the week at 3,333.67, of which 11.33 points came on Friday. It took the index 32 points or almost one per cent into the red for 2015.