Aug 20, 2015

    STI slides even as Shanghai rebounds


    SINGAPORE shares slipped a further 0.3 per cent yesterday, as a continued sell-off in commodities deepened fears of a slowdown in China's economy.

    The blue-chip Straits Times Index lost 8.4 points to 3,041.2, weighed down by the banks.

    About 1.51 billion shares worth $1.17 billion in total changed hands, which worked out to an average unit price of 77 cents per share.

    The most actively traded stock was commodities group Noble, which eked out a 1-cent rise to 42.5 cents, with 153.8 million shares changing hands. Other actives included Stratech Group and Ezra.

    Losers outnumbered gainers 325 to 137, or about seven down for every three up.

    Elsewhere, Asian shares were mixed yesterday, with Shanghai rebounding from heavy falls to close higher on expectations of more state support, while Tokyo slumped due to weak trade data.

    Seoul closed down 0.86 per cent, or 16.88 points, at 1,939.38, while Sydney gained 1.45 per cent, or 77.05 points, to 5,380.20.

    Tokyo fell 1.61 per cent, or 331.84 points, to 20,222.63 after news that Japan's exports were slowing added to concerns about the world's No. 3 economy as demand falls in China.

    Shanghai ended a see-saw session up 1.23 per cent, or 45.95 points, at 3,794.11, while Hong Kong lost 1.31 per cent, or 307.12 points, to end the day at 23,167.85 - its lowest since December.

    Chinese shares erased a more than 5 per cent plunge in morning trade, in a surge that dealers said was driven by what looked like fresh government support for the market.

    "Only the 'national team'... would be able to turn the tide like this," Yingda Securities analyst Li Daxiao told Agence France-Presse, referring to entities acting for the government.

    "State forces or measures are the main forces supporting the market right now."

    Beijing intervened with a rescue package that included funding the state-backed China Securities Finance Corporation (CSF) to buy stocks on behalf of the government after Shanghai shares collapsed in June.

    On Friday, the securities regulator said CSF would continue to stabilise the stock market for a number of years, though it added that will occur only during times of volatility.

    Sentiment remains fragile in Shanghai, and China's shock devaluation of the yuan last week has heightened concerns about the state of Asia's largest economy.

    Shanghai "would be vastly lower if it wasn't for ineffectual government intervention that is merely delaying the inevitable", Michael Every, head of financial markets research at Rabobank Group in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.

    Concerns about China also weighed on Tokyo shares, which fell after official data showed the volume of Japan's exports fell last month from a year earlier as demand slowed in China.

    The lacklustre figures, and recent news that Japan's economy contracted last quarter, added to concerns that the weaker yuan will make Japanese exports less competitive and reduce China's purchasing power.

    "The fall in the Chinese stock market put concerns over China's growth back in the forefront of Japanese investors' minds," said Angus Nicholson at IG Markets.