Faster US Rate Increase and Poor Regional Markets Cause STI to Fall

Pedestrians walk down a street in downtown financial district in Singapore on January 29, 2013. Singapore's population may reach almost seven million by 2030, up from 5.31 million currently, with the number of citizens shrinking to barely half of the total, the government said January 29. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Straits Times Index suffered a significant fall of 0.6 percent, or 22.45 points on Wednesday, March 1, due to potentially quicker rate increases in the US on new Fed chair, Jerome Powell’s testimony.

Another contributing factor was weak performances around the region. The Chinese New Year holiday caused manufacturing in China to suffer the biggest fall in the past seven years.

Meanwhile, in India, factory activity registered the lowest it’s been in four months, and in Japan, industrial production fell.

These all contributed to Singapore’s market being down by .5 percent, at 3,517.94. However, this downward pattern was also found in all other significant markets in the region, including Malaysia, South Korea, China, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.

Jerome Powell’s speech in Congress went as expected, but his confidence that the US economy would continue to perform well led to speculation that rates would go up at a faster pace.

However, others warned that to be alarmed at Mr. Powell’s testimony would be unnecessary.

Analyst firms said the equity sell-off is unlikely to persist as long as corporate earnings and forward projection remain optimistic.

All eyes are now on Powell’s next testimony, which is to the Senate Banking Committee, as well as the announcement of the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure.

The STI’s turnover was 2.09 billion shares worth $2.09 billion. There were more losers (293) than gainers (164). Number one in terms of losses are banking stocks. The DBS dipped by 36 cents to end at $28.70The UOB lost 49 cents to end at $27.89, while the OCBC slipped 27 cents to end at $13.06.

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust and Genting Singapore were two of the top actives. Hutchison Port Holdings Trust went up .5 US cents and ended at 36.5 US cents. Genting Singapore dropped three cents with 69 million shares done, at $1.16.

Following its 4th quarter results, City Developments rose by 3 cents to end at $12.76. The company’s revenue grew by 14 percent, while net profit fell by 23 percent. Cityneon Holdings lost 5.5 per cent, or six cents, and ended at $1.04.

Following year of changes in 2017 when it acquired Jurassic World, The Exhibition caused DBS research group to have a “buy” rating on the counter. The company is now on a more robust path of growth.