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Singapore stocks: STI down 7.5% at Monday afternoon reopen

SINGAPORE equities are on track for their worst single-day performance since October 2008 as more countries turned to lockdowns to combat the effects of the fast-spreading Covid-19 pandemic.

Sentiment remains battered despite last week's efforts by policymakers, which are appearing to have little effect as global recessionary fears continue to rise. The outlook was dealt another blow when US Senate Democrats over the weekend blocked the upper house's coronavirus economic response rescue package.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) was down 5.7 per cent at the morning open, its largest fall at the opening bell since October 2008. The benchmark index was trading 181.56 points or 7.5 per cent lower at 2,229.18 as at 1.04pm. 

Shortly after the afternoon session began, volume traded on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 713.08 million securities with a total turnover of S$923.96 million. Both volume and turnover are on track to beat their respective 2019 intraday averages.

Across the market, decliners trumped advancers 379 to 81. The blue-chip index had all of its 30 counters trading in the red.

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Genting Singapore was the STI's most active counter. The casino operator was trading S$0.05 or 8.6 per cent lower at S$0.53 after 26.6 million shares changed hands.

Shares in Singapore Airlines (SIA) continued to face heavy losses, falling S$0.55 or 9.1 per cent to S$5.47. On Monday, the national carrier cut 96 per cent of its planned capacity for the period up to end-April after border controls globally tightened last week.

SIA has described the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic as "the greatest challenge that the SIA Group has faced in its existence". 

The local banks extended their losses. DBS fell S$1.20 or 6.6 per cent to S$16.96, OCBC Bank lost S$0.49 or 5.9 per cent to S$7.87, while United Overseas Bank was trading at S$17.55, down S$1.41 or 7.4 per cent, as at 1.05pm on Monday. 

Among real estate investment trusts, Ascendas Reit units shed S$0.21 or 8.4 per cent to S$2.30 while CapitaLand Mall Trust dived S$0.17 or 9.6 per cent to S$1.61.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, equity benchmarks continued to take heavy hits, with Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea decidedly lower.

Bucking the trend was Japan's Nikkei 225, which was trading higher. Traders noted that the Nikkei's performance was being supported by a cheaper Japanese Yen and possible stimulus measures by the Bank of Japan.

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