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STI closes 4.5% lower on Monday
Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) fell on Monday after relief from last week's global fiscal support measures faded with uncertainty over the length of the pandemic remaining an overhang on sentiment.
Before market open, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it flattened the pace of the Singapore dollar’s appreciation and lowered the mid-point of the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate (S$NEER) band.
The MAS' moves follow last Thursday's S$48.4 billion support package by the Singapore government and comes as the city-state is facing its first full-year recession since 2001 due to the economic fallout of Covid-19.
On Monday, the blue-chip index traded more than 2 per cent down in the early session, with sell-offs continuing through the afternoon session as the benchmark finished 112.52 points or 4.5 per cent lower at 2,416.24. All 30 of the STI's counters closed in the red.
Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, equity benchmarks were mostly lower, tracking oil prices which fell to 18-year-lows during the Asian session.
China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan ended lower while Australia bucked the trend. The ASX 200 had its biggest single-day jump on record, advancing 339 points or 7 per cent to 5,181.40 after Canberra committed A$130 billion (S$114.1 billion) to supporting its economy.
Equity markets are likely to stay volatile going forward - at least until cases of Covid-19 stabilise across the globe.
Oanda Asia-Pacific senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: "The sad reality is that until the world starts making evidential progress in the fight against Covid-19, and by that, I mean the United States and Europe, pricing in a V-shaped recovery in asset markets remains delusional hype at best, or reckless stupidity at worst."
Among STI counters, the Singapore Banks closed with losses. DBS dropped S$0.84 or 4.4 per cent to S$18.30, OCBC Bank lost S$0.39 or 4.4 per cent to S$8.52, while United Overseas Bank finished at S$19.21, down S$1 or 5 per cent.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines stock continued to fall after announcing a massive cash call last Thursday. The national carrier closed S$0.28 or 4.6 per cent lower at S$5.80.
Shares in ComfortDelGro closed S$0.07 or 4.5 per cent lower at S$1.48.
On Monday, the transport operator revealed that it is spending S$80 million to extend its daily rental relief for taxi drivers until Sept 30 due to the worsening situation surrounding Covid-19. This will send its taxi business into the red for FY2020, the company added.
Agribusiness firm Wilmar International closed fell S$0.15 or 4.7 per cent to S$3.07. UOB Kay Hian lowered its FY2020 earnings forecasts for Wilmar to account for the "weaker demand for tropical oil segment, in view of the drop in crude oil prices and demand disruption at major consuming markets such as India and Europe", wrote analysts Leow Huey Chuen and Jacquelyn Yow.
That said, UOB does not expect a change to Wilmar's plans to list its Chinese operations in Shenzhen, which which is expected toreceive approval by mid-2020.
Trading volume in Singapore was 1.23 billion securities; total turnover was S$1.55 billion. Across the broader market, decliners outpaced advancers 321 to 127.