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Singapore shares dive 3%, pummelled by tariff fears

INVESTORS ran for the exits on Monday as the threat of a trade war escalation unexpectedly reared its head overnight.

The Straits Times Index (STI) skidded 3 per cent or 101.67 points to close at 3,290.62, after US President Donald Trump tweeted that he plans to hike tariffs on Friday, upending markets that had expected a resolution to trade talks within the month.

According to Singapore Exchange data, this is only the third time in the last five years that the index has plunged 3 per cent or more in a single session, with the previous times being in August 2015 and January 2016.

About 1.44 billion securities worth S$1.49 billion changed hands, which worked out to an average unit price of S$1.03. Losers outnumbered gainers 369 to 100, or about 11 securities down for every three up.

Penny stock International Cement was far and away the most actively traded counter, with 99.3 million shares changing hands before it closed flat at four Singapore cents.

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It was followed by Genting Singapore, which lost two Singapore cents or 2.06 per cent to S$0.95 on a volume of 40.58 million. Resorts World Sentosa, which is owned by the casino operator, has set aside S$1 billion to intensify the use of its existing land and to buy about one hectare of new land, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said in Parliament on Monday.

Other active index counters included Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which closed down 2.56 per cent to S$1.52, and Ascendas Reit, up 0.99 per cent to S$3.06.

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