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Singapore equities end lower on China central bank's surprise rate hike

A SURPRISE move by China's central bank to raise borrowing costs pushed regional markets into red territory, after the US Federal Reserve's rate hike.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) was not spared on Thursday, ending the day lower by 32.99 points or 0.95 per cent to 3,435.78.

Turnover came in at 1.3 billion valued at S$980.3 million, while losers beat gainers 196 to 179.

Key indices in Japan, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Australia ended the session lower while New Zealand shares hit a fresh high.

The markets' poor reaction came after the People's Bank of China (PBOC) increased the rates it charges in open-market operations and on its medium-term lending facility (MLF), although adjustments were smaller than its US peer.

It raised its reserve-repurchase rate and MLF rate by five basis points, the third money market rate hike since early 2017.