The US administration threw a spanner into the Sino-US trade negotiations by threatening to lift tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% as soon as this Friday….
…. It has, perhaps temporarily at least, provided President Trump with some respite from the Mueller report, which could still dominate the headlines, should the special counsel testify before Congress next week.
In February Genting Singapore (SGX: G14) posted a 12% jump in bottom-line profit for the fourth quarter. It said this was thanks to better performances at both its gaming and non-gaming segments. The immediate challenge for the integrated-resort owner, however, will be convincing investors of the benefits of its S$4.5 billion expansion plan.
Thai Beverage (SGX: Y92) delighted the market after it reported a doubling of net profits in the first quarter. It attributed the improvement to increases in sales in spirits and beer.
Impairment at its Australian sugar-milling operation dented fourth-quarter income at Wilmar International (SGX: F34) by half. Additionally, lower commodity prices resulted in a 3% fall quarterly revenue.
OCBC (SGX: O39) reported an 11% drop in fourth-quarter profits last time because of a fall in earnings from its insurance arm, Great Eastern Holdings (SGX: G07). Elsewhere, profit from banking operations grew by over a fifth, thanks to a 7% rise in net interest income.
Higher profits from property investments and hotel operations were behind the 26% rise in full-year net attributable profit at UOL Group (SGX: U14). The company said with the property cooling measures, land prices will moderate and en bloc sales will have very limited traction.
On the economic front, the US-China trade talks should resume on Wednesday, or at least that is the plan. China has threatened to cancel the talks after America’s tariff threat.
No fewer than four central banks in the region have interest-rate decisions. They include the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Bank of Thailand and Bangko Sentral ng Philipinas. None is expected to change rates.
And finally, Singapore will report retail sales for March. They are expected to show a sharp reversal from the 10% drop in February, when sales were affected by Chinese New Year
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