Singapore banks start trading week down as STI declines 0.7%

SINGAPORE – Singapore shares ended the first day of the trading week lower, bucking the trend in most regional markets amid an acceleration in China’s deflation in November.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) on Dec 11 retreated 0.7 per cent or 20.53 points to 3,090.2.

On the local bourse, losers outnumbered gainers 311 to 253, as 1.4 billion shares worth $808.1 million were traded.

On the STI, losses were led in percentage terms by Wilmar International, which lost 3.3 per cent or 12 cents to end on Dec 11 at $3.51.

Bourse filings showed that the food-processing company’s chairman and chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong added some four million shares to his holdings from Dec 5 to Dec 7, bringing his total interest to 13.56 per cent from 13.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the top gainer was Frasers Logistics and Commercial Trust. Its units ended the day at $1.12, up 0.9 per cent or 1 cent.

The trio of local banks all sank on Dec 11. DBS Bank fell 0.7 per cent or 21 cents to $31.39 and UOB shed 0.5 per cent or 14 cents to $27.44. OCBC Bank slid 0.9 per cent or 11 cents to $12.54.

In the region, key indexes were more mixed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed down 0.8 per cent, after China’s consumer price index (CPI) dropped 0.5 per cent year on year in November. This is the Chinese CPI’s largest decline since November 2020, said UOB in a note.

South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index and the Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent each, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 1.5 per cent.

These moves come after United States stocks closed higher on Dec 8.

Ms Peggy Mak, research manager at Phillip Capital, noted that the S&P 500 had hit a new 2023 high on Dec 8, after new non-farm payroll employment data showed “a slowdown in the pace of job gains” in the US, particularly in the private sector.

“This supports the expectation of no rate hike when the US Federal Open Market Committee meets on Wednesday for the last time this year,” she said in a note. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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