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Singapore stocks rebound after losing morning gains following Trump's tariff hike

SINGAPORE stocks rebounded on Friday afternoon, after briefly paring gains in the early trade, as investors digested the impact of US President Donald Trump's tariff hike on US$200 billion of Chinese goods.

As at 1.01pm on Friday, the Straits Times Index fell 0.05 per cent, or 1.71 points to 3,267.99, after opening stronger at the start of the day. 

But by 2.45pm, the benchmark index was up again, rising 0.25 per cent, or 8.11 points to 3,277.81.

The volatile trading session comes after the tariff increase to 25 per cent from 10 per cent on US$200 billion of Chinese goods took effect as at 12.01am Washington time, or 12.01pm in Singapore.

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In response, Beijing vowed to retaliate, ratcheting up tensions as the world's two largest economies pursue last-ditch talks to try and salvage a trade deal.

On the Singapore bourse, losers outnumbered gainers 174 to 143 after the midday break, with about 578.6 million shares worth S$557.05 million exchanging hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Thomson Medical was up 1.4 per cent, or 0.1 Singapore cent to 7.3 cents, with 25.1 million shares traded; while Genting Singapore fell 2.1 per cent, or two Singapore cents to S$0.93, with 21.7 million shares traded. 

Other active stocks included Venture Corp which slipped 3.6 per cent or S$0.59 to S$15.86 on an ex-dividend basis. 

Meanwhile, counters with exposure to China drew mixed reactions - YZJ Shipbuilding SG lost almost 2 per cent or three Singapore cents to S$1.49 on a cum-dividend basis, whereas CapitaLand inched up 0.3 per cent or one Singapore cent to S$3.41. 

Elsewhere in Asia, stocks also fluctuated in a heavy volume session, with Chinese stocks erasing earlier gains before staging a comeback.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 per cent as at 1.41pm in Hong Kong, with the Shanghai Composite gaining 2.1 per cent, after dipping briefly into the red, and the Hang Seng eked out a 1.1 per cent gain. 

Japan's Topix however, fell 0.1 per cent. 

US futures were also down, with futures on the S&P 500 Index declining 0.3 per cent. 

Separately, the greenback seemed to take the US tariff hike in its stride, as the US dollar held steady against the safe-haven Japanese yen on Friday.

The US dollar stood little changed at 109.720 yen, though it did slip to a three-month low of 109.470 overnight, and has lost 1.2 per cent against the yen this week, Reuters reported. 

On the commodities front, oil prices took a hit with the US West Texas Intermediate crude declining three US cents to US$61.67 a barrel as at 12.56pm in Singapore, after rising as much as 79 US cents earlier.

Gold prices edged higher, with spot gold up 0.2 per cent at US$1,286.25 per ounce, putting the bullion on track for a weekly gain.