It was a wild week for stocks.
The US stock market suffered its worst trading day of the year earlier this week. However, it regained some of its shine at the end of the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.2% on Friday, while the S&P 500 ended Friday up 1.44%.
The market continues to be volatile with investors uncertain about how the US-Chia trade war will pan out.
Meanwhile, non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) in Singapore dropped 11.2% in July. This was the fifth straight month of double-digit declines. However, on a month-on-month basis, July’s exports were 3.7% higher than June’s. Exports had fallen 17.4% in June from a year ago, the largest year-on-year decline since February 2013. Electronic exports in July plunged 24.2% in July, with non-electronic exports falling 6.6%. Enterprise Singapore cut its full-year Nodx forecast to -9% to -8% from -2% to 0%.
On a brighter note, the tech scene in Singapore accounted for a quarter of the US$5.99 billion in capital invested in Southeast Asian tech firms in the first half of 2019. The US$5.99 billion invested in the first six months of the year was 28% lower than the US$8.31 billion invested in the first half of 2018. However, the value of capital invested in the region for the full 2019 is expected to match 2018. Indonesia captured 48% of the total investments made in Southeast Asia, with Vietnam taking 17%.
Still in the region, Malaysia’s economic growth accelerated in the second quarter of 2019 to 4.9%, up from 4.5% in the previous quarter. On a seasonally-adjusted quarterly basis, Malaysia’s economy grew 1%. All sectors of the economy expanded in the quarter, with net exports leading the way, growing 22.9%. Services and manufacturing were up 6.1% and 4.3% respectively. The current account surplus was RM14.3 billion (S$4.7 billion) in the second quarter.
Hong Kong protests continued this week as thousands of demonstrators gathered at Chater Garden in Hong Kong on Friday night. Nearly 750 demonstrators have been arrested since the protests began in June.
The Hang Seng Index is down more than 16% from its peak recorded before the protests began. However, Chinese investors have been piling onto Hongkong stocks. Mainland traders have been buying the Hong Kong stocks for 21 consecutive days through Friday. This is the longest buying spree since February 2018.
Chinese investors see Hong Kong stocks in bargain territory as the city’s stocks trade at a 23% discount to the mainland. The Hang Seng Index is valued at 10.3 times earnings, cheaper than the 13.7 times for the Shanghai Composite Index, according to Bloomberg data.
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