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Singapore shares fall at Monday’s open amid increased trade-war jitters; STI down 0.23% to 3,110.50

SINGAPORE stocks slipped when trading began at the start of the week, along with other Asian markets, amid escalating trade-war angst from US moves against Mexico and India, as well as China's retaliation against American measures. 

The Straits Times Index headed down 0.23 per cent or 7.26 points to 3,110.50 as at 9.03am on Monday.

Losers outnumbers gainers 203 to 125, after 831.18 million securities worth S$1.12 billion changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, QT Vascular was flat at 0.3 Singapore cent with 7.72 million shares changing hands. Golden Agri-Resources fell 0.5 Singapore cent or 1.89 per cent to S$0.26 with 6.02 million shares traded. Singtel was trading down two Singapore cents or 0.63 per cent at S$3.18 on a cum-dividend basis, with 2.31 million shares traded.

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Banking stocks slumped on Monday’s open. DBS was down 18 Singapore cents or 0.74 per cent to S$24.11, UOB lost four cents or 0.17 per cent to S$23.46, while OCBC Bank fell one cent or 0.1 per cent to S$10.56.

Other active index stocks included Ascendas Reit which headed down one Singapore cent or 0.34 per cent to S$2.91, and Genting Singapore which slipped 0.5 Singapore cent or 0.58 per cent to 86.5 cents.

Indofood Agri Resources (IndoAgri) gained 5.5 Singapore cents or 20 per cent to S$0.33 on Monday’s open, after Indonesian instant noodle heavyweight Indofood Sukses Makmur raised its buyout offer price for IndoAgri to 32.75 Singapore cents on Sunday.

CapitaLand rose one Singapore cent or 0.31 per cent to S$3.23, while CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT) also moved up one cent or 0.42 per cent to S$2.42. CapitaLand and CMT had on Monday morning announced that Funan had achieved 92 per cent in commitment for retail leasing as well as 98 per cent in pre-leasing commitment for its twin office blocks. CapitaLand and City Developments Limited also confirmed their S$400 million acquisition of Liang Court mall on Friday, in a statement to The Business Times.

Meanwhile, in the US, stock-index futures slid on Sunday after China's government blamed the US for the latest collapse in trade talks. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index lost as much as 0.7 per cent after Beijing released a white paper on Sunday saying the escalating trade war between the world's two largest economies has not "made America great again".

Wall Street had earlier sank on Friday after US President Donald Trump threatened to place escalating tariffs on Mexico, with US stocks capping their first monthly decline since last December’s market rout. The S&P 500 Index fell 1.3 per cent on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its sixth weekly loss, the longest slump since 2011.

In Asia, Tokyo slumped on Monday’s open following end of the week losses on Wall Street with a stronger yen also weighing on the market, while losses were more modest in South Korea and Australia.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 1.42 per cent or 292.4 points to 20,308.76 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 1.38 per cent or 20.9 points at 1,491.38.

South Korea’s Kospi index dropped 0.4 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.3 per cent.

India became the latest country to be targeted by the Trump administration Friday evening, eliminating the country's eligibility to export a number of products to the US duty-free.