In line with markets’ anticipation, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 25 basis points in September, bringing the benchmark rate to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent. The central bank also indicated its intention to tighten once more in December and three more times next year.
Aside from the Federal Open Market Committee, the United States came to an agreement with Canada, along with Mexico, on a revised trade deal called the USMCA to replace the current NAFTA. The new deal gives the US greater access to Canada’s dairy market and allows extra imports of Canadian cars. Last fortnight, Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped gently by 0.1 percent closing at 26,627.48.
China market was closed for a week in celebration of the country’s National Day. Nonetheless, activities in its manufacturing sector slowed as the Caixin manufacturing PMI in September 2018 declined more than expected to 50, suggesting that the negative impacts from the trade war are beginning to surface. Coupled with the absence of southbound funds from the mainland, Hang Seng Index sank 4.9 percent over the last two weeks to 26,572.57.
On the local bourse, investors were excited of a joint acquisition by Keppel Corporation and Singapore Press Holdings to purchase the remaining shares of M1 which they do not already owned at $2.06 a share. The offer price represents a premium of 26.4 percent over the telco’s last transacted price prior to the announcement. Meanwhile, Keppel also made a general offer for Keppel T&T at $1.91 with plans to delist.
Bonds yield crept higher as the one-year coupon return for Singapore Savings Bonds climbed to a record 1.8 percent for the November 2018 issue. Meanwhile, 10-year average annual return stood at 2.48 percent.
Straits Times Index declined 0.2 percent last fortnight ending at 3,209.79.