You are here

Singapore shares dip 0.3% on Monday

INVESTORS in Asia were looking to the deluge of Chinese data releases on Monday for indicators of the impact that the re-escalation of trade tensions with the US had on China's economy. The fact that the figures either met or beat expectations saw investors mostly relieved.

"Every time we are faced with a major economic number, it comes as a huge sigh of relief even when the print comes out as expected," Vanguard markets managing partner Stephen Innes said.

The Straits Times Index (STI) dropped 9.39 points or 0.3 per cent to close at 3,347.95 on Monday.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) decelerated to 6.2 per cent in the second quarter from the same period a year ago, which represented the impact that the US-China trade fallout between Washington and Beijing has had on China. 

"With GDP growth dipping towards the government's 6 per cent floor, government policy will remain pro-growth over the remainder of this year and into 2020. This will make subsequent policy tightening all the more challenging," Tom Rafferty, the Economist Intelligence Unit's China principal economist said.

But Mr Rafferty added that there were bright spots from Monday's data dump, including China's consumer sector, which saw "retail sales helped by the recovery of car sales from a one-year period of contraction."

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.37 billion securities, 15 per cent over the daily average in the first six months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$875.59 million, 82 per cent of the January-to-June daily average.

Across the broader market, decliners beat advancers 217 to 200. The benchmark index had 14 of the STI's 30 components closing in the red.

Thai Beverage, down two Singapore cents or 2.3 per cent lower to 84.5 cents, was the benchmark index's most traded stock with 34.6 million shares changing hands.

The food and beverage player's shares saw heavier-than-usual trading after news reports emerged that Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) had cancelled the listing of its Asia-Pacific unit in Hong Kong, with market watchers saying that Ab InBev has priced the listing too high.

"If AB InBev's Asia-Pacific does end up pulling through to list in the region, it may act as a re-rating catalyst for ThaiBev," a trader told The Business Times.

Investors have also speculated in prior weeks that ThaiBev could be a potential partner of the AB InBev unit after it lists in Hong Kong.

The local banks returned from the weekend higher. DBS Group Holdings was S$0.12 or 0.5 per cent higher at S$25.90, OCBC Bank edged up S$0.01 or 0.1 per cent to S$11.52 and United Overseas Bank finished at S$26.56, up S$0.03 or 0.1 per cent.

In the session after releasing its third-quarter results, shares in Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which publishes The Business Times, fell S$0.17 or 6.8 per cent lower at S$2.32.

On Friday after market close, the media and property group posted a 44.1 per cent drop in net profit to S$26.2 million for the period ended May 31, despite a marginal decline in operating revenue.

Among markets in the Asia-Pacific, China and Hong Kong closed higher while Australia, Malaysia and South Korea finished in negative territory. Japan markets were closed on Monday for Marine Day and will resume trading on Tuesday.