Despite persistent unfavorable news from around the world, major equities benchmarks ended their downward slides and moved slightly higher. Nonfarm payrolls report from the US revealed that only 20,000 jobs were added in February 2019, signaling the slowest pace for job growth in the last 18 months. Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.8 percent ending at 25,709.94 over the last two weeks.
In China, the nation concluded its annual “Two Sessions” last week with the Chinese government setting its economic growth target this year lower to between 6 percent and 6.5 percent. Nevertheless, the government planned to launch new tax cuts and spending totaling 2 trillion yuan to support businesses and stimulate the economy. Last fortnight, Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.9 percent to 3,021.75.
In a vote on 13 March 2019, British lawmakers had rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in place. Members of the UK parliament voted again on 14 March in favor of a delay to Brexit. This means that the UK may not now leave on 29 March 2019 as previously planned.
On local front, PUB issued a default notice to Hyflux on 5 March 2019 stating that should the latter fail to fulfil its contractual obligations to keep Tuasspring operational, it would step in to terminate the agreement and take control of the plant. Meanwhile, credit rating agency Moody revised its outlook for Singtel to “negative” to reflect its weakening credit profile.
Singapore’s aviation regulator temporarily suspended operations of all Boeing 737 Max aircrafts in and out of the country, amid international concerns over their involvement in two major plane accidents within just six months apart. This would affect Singapore Airlines’ regional arm, SilkAir, which currently operates six such aircrafts.
Last fortnight, Straits Time Index dipped 0.6 percent to close at 3,200.18.