Sep 26, 2016

    Taking stock of Opec and US debate

    MUCH of the attention this week will likely turn to oil prices and the presidential debate in the United States.

    The Opec (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) is meeting today for the third time this year in Algeria to discuss the supply glut in the crude market.

    Oil prices tumbled last Friday in a sign that market watchers do not expect a deal on production limits to be reached at the meeting.

    The first of three US presidential debates will also take place today, ahead of the November election.

    "Closer to the election date, we expect volatility to rise as markets start pricing in the risk of a Trump presidency, which would inevitably herald greater uncertainty ahead on the back of a radical policy agenda," said Vasu Menon, OCBC Bank's vice-president and senior investment strategist, in a recent report.

    A Clinton presidency would offer more stability and an incremental approach to policy, he added.

    Traders here will be watching out for Singapore's August industrial production numbers, out today.

    Japan is also slated to release a slew of economic data on Friday, including that for consumer prices, employment and industrial production, which could show whether the economy is sliding back into a deflationary spiral.

    Wall Street halted its longest winning streak in seven weeks as the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.71 per cent on Friday.

    At home, the Straits Times Index (STI) rose 10.89 points or 0.38 per cent to close at 2,856.95 on Friday - up 29.5 points or 1.04 per cent for the week.

    Turnover fell 5.11 per cent to 49.4 million units, an improvement from the 11.03 per cent drop in the week before.

    Container ship operator Rickmers Maritime Trust, which announced a revised restructuring plan for its $100 million 8.45 per cent notes due next year, slumped 23.2 per cent during the week to 4.3 cents on Friday.

    Marco Polo Marine, which said that it is seeking approval to delay repayment for its $50 million notes due for maturity next month, sank 13.3 per cent to 6.5 cents.

    Thai Beverage rose 3.2 per cent in the week to 96 cents. Reports have said the group is joining hands with several major foreign brewers to buy a stake in Vietnam's largest brewer Sabeco in a deal that could be worth at least US$1.8 billion (S$2.4 billion).