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Singapore shares dip after GDP, NODX forecasts slashed; STI falls 0.18% at open

SINGAPORE shares edged down at Monday's open following the downgrade of Singapore's official growth forecast for 2020, along with a lower export forecast for 2020 and a 3.3 per cent drop in non-oil domestic exports (NODX) for January 2020. 

The Straits Times Index dropped 0.18 per cent or 5.67 points to 3,214.36 as at 9.03am.

Losers outnumbered gainers 62 to 59, after about 58.8 million securities worth S$55.4 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded were Ntegrator International, which fell 25 per cent or 0.3 Singapore cent to S$0.009 on 9.4 million shares traded, and Thai Beverage Public Co which gained 6.4 per cent or S$0.05 to S$0.835 after 7.9 million shares changed hands.

The brewer on Friday reported a 14 per cent jump in net profit to 8.4 billion baht (S$380 million) from 7.4 billion baht a year ago, led by improvements in the spirits business and a turnaround in the non-alcoholic beverage business.

Dyna-Mac Holdings rose 2.8 per cent or 0.4 Singapore cent to S$0.148 with 4.7 million shares traded. 

Banking stocks started the morning trade in the red. DBS fell 0.4 per cent or S$0.09 to S$25.46 on a cum-dividend basis, UOB fell 0.9 per cent or S$0.24 to S$26.01 and OCBC Bank fell 0.3 per cent or S$0.03 to S$11.03.

Other active index securities included Singtel which fell 0.6 per cent or S$0.02 to S$3.20 and ComfortDelGro which fell 0.9 per cent or S$0.02 to S$2.16. 

On Monday, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said it is expecting full-year gross domestic product growth to be between -0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent, with growth expected to come in at the midway mark of around 0.5 per cent. This is a worse outlook from the one it made in November last year, where it was expecting growth of 0.5 to 2.5 per cent. The move comes as the authorities brace for the possibility of negative growth as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak

Singapore exports were back in negative territory in January 2020, dragged down by a double-digit drop in petrochemical shipments, according to figures released on Monday. NODX fell by 3.3 per cent year on year in January, while, non-electronic exports dipped by 0.1 per cent.

Trade agency Enterprise Singapore (ESG), which compiles the data, noted that the decline in non-electronic NODX in January "may partly reflect the seasonal effects of the Chinese New Year holidays" during the month.

ESG on Monday also cut its export forecasts for 2020 due to the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on key trade partners, as well as the drag from lower oil prices.

Elsewhere in the region, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Monday on coronavirus worries. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.81 per cent to 23,495.71 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.85 per cent to 1,688.41.