Friday, August 21, 2015

Ringgit drops to 17-year low as falling Brent crude dims outlook

[KUALA LUMPUR] The ringgit weakened to a 17-year low and led declines in Asia as falling oil prices worsened Malaysia's export outlook amid an emerging-market selloff.
ringgit.jpgThe currency has slumped 8.2 per cent this month in the worst developing-nation performance after Russia's ruble. Figures due Friday may show a further decline in Malaysia's foreign-exchange reserves, reducing the central bank's ability to stem the ringgit's descent. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of shares headed for its lowest close in six years and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index dropped to a three-year low after a private gauge of Chinese manufacturing trailed estimates.

"The decline in commodity prices such as oil and the soft growth in emerging markets such as China is renewing worries over global deflationary pressures," said Sim Moh Siong, a currency strategist at Bank of Singapore Ltd in the city-state. "That's weighing on the ringgit." The currency fell 0.7 per cent on Friday and 2.1 per cent for the week to 4.1667 a dollar as of 11:06 am in Kuala Lumpur. The ringgit dropped to as low as 4.1700 earlier, the weakest since August 1998, and is down 16 per cent this year.

AUM in Singapore up 30% to S$2.4 trillion in 2014: MAS

Singapore's assets under management (AUM) grew by 30 per cent year-on-year to S$2.4 trillion in 2014, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday.

Referring to the increase as "a strong showing", MAS said the robust growth was derived largely from "positive asset inflows arising from Asia's growth dynamism and Singapore's position as a pan-Asian asset management hub".

It added that there was a net increase of 38 registered and licensed fund managers, bringing the total number of fund managers registered and licensed with MAS to 591. These findings are from MAS's annual survey of the Singapore asset management industry. Its latest report is for the year ending December 31, 2014.

Singapore shares open lower on Friday into sub-3,000 region

SINGAPORE share prices broke through the psychological 3,000-point support level - as many had feared it will - to 2,972.05 by 9.13am on Friday.

sgx picks to buy todayThis was a 1.25 per cent or 37.73-point drop from Thursday's close, following declines in the United States and Asia. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 hit a more than six-month low on Thursday, closing in negative territory for the year. It lost 43.88 points (2.11 per cent) to 2,035.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 358.04 points (2.06 per cent) to 16,990.69 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 141.56 points (2.82 per cent) to 4,877.49.

US crude edged higher after earlier hitting its lowest since March 2009, while Brent dropped 2.3 per cent to hit its lowest since January.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ringgit falls with bonds as inflation may spur policy response

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's ringgit and long-term bonds fell as the fastest inflation in a year fueled speculation interest rates will be raised amid an economic slowdown.
malaysiaringgit.jpgThe introduction of a 6 per cent goods and services tax in April is putting pressure on domestic prices, while import costs are rising after the ringgit slumped 15 per cent this year in Asia's worst performance. While boosting borrowing costs may be the "bitter pill Malaysia has to swallow to anchor important macro variables," such a move could spur further capital outflows, especially if it "compromises an already fragile economy," said Nizam Idris, Singapore-based head of foreign- exchange and fixed-income strategy at Macquarie Bank.
"Hiking rates isn't always positive to the currency, especially if it's seen as a move to curb inflation while growth remains weak," said Mr Nizam.
The ringgit dropped 0.5 per cent to 4.1097 per dollar as of 1:24 pm in Kuala Lumpur, after rising as much as 0.3 per cent earlier, prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg show. It dropped to 4.1340 on Monday, the lowest level since 1998.

Singapore shares open higher on Wednesday ahead of Fed meeting's minutes

SINGAPORE share prices opened higher on Wednesday with the Straits Times Index up 5.8 points or 0.19 per cent to 3,055.45 as at 9.11am, despite selloffs in Asian stocks for a fourth day as investors await clues from the US Federal Reserve on the timing of a US interest-rate increase.
Tokyo stocks opened 0.34 per cent lower on Wednesday, tracking falls on Wall Street and another plunge on China's main index. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index dropped 0.1 per cent to 136.83 as at 9.01am in Tokyo, extending a seven-month low.

Hot stock: Noble Group shorts advance to record as company defends finances

[SINGAPORE] Short interest on Noble Group Ltd shares surged to a new high this week on the day that Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Alireza defended the finances of Asia's biggest commodity trader to investors.
Short interest as a percentage of Noble's outstanding shares climbed to 14.15 per cent on Monday, based on the latest available data from Markit Group Ltd tracked by Bloomberg. Mr Alireza led Noble executives in a five-hour investor meeting in Singapore the same day.
sgx noble group sharesNoble's shares have slumped more than 60 per cent since February when its accounting methods first came under attack by a group called Iceberg Research. Since then, profit has been hurt by the slide in global commodity markets, the company's credit outlook has been cut to negative and its bonds are trading below prices typical of an investment grade issuer.
"The collapse in the Noble shares and spiking credit default swaps are getting investors really nervous," Nicholas Teo, a strategist at CMC Markets in Singapore, said by phone. "This could trigger more margin calls. That's spurring short sellers to intensify their attack." The stock rose 3.6 per cent to 43 Singapore cents as of 9:02 am in the city-state, the first gain in seven days.

Hot stock: Vard hits record low, prompts SGX query

SHIPBUILDER Vard Holdings on Wednesday slumped as much as 10.5 Singapore cents, or 28 per cent, to S$0.27 on the stock market, prompting a query from Singapore Exchange (SGX) to disclose any information not previously announced that might explain the trading.
sgx stocks tips todayBy 10.59am, some 4.3 million shares had changed hands. It had also recovered to S$0.315, although still 16 per cent down.
The record low it reached outdid even the most pessimistic of analysts' target prices after it reported a challenging second quarter on July 22.
A number of research houses have "sell" calls on Vard, including RHB, Maybank, CIMB and OCBC, with target prices ranging from S$0.35 (CIMB and Maybank) to S$0.41 (OCBC).