Asian stocks look set for a muted open Monday before Chinese economic data that may shed light on the impact of Covid lockdowns. Natural gas and oil prices rose on risks stemming from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Equity futures slipped for Japan, while other markets including Australia, Hong Kong and many in Europe remain closed for Easter. Contracts for the S&P 500 and technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 dipped.
China is due to release quarterly growth data and activity indicators for March. Officials cut the reserve requirement ratio Friday but refrained from lowering interest rates in a cautious approach to policy easing amid inflation risks.
The possibility of a de facto European Union embargo on Russian gas and the threat of some curbs on crude in Europe’s next sanctions package bolstered both commodities. U.S. natural gas prices hit a more than 13-year high, in part as the nation exports as much liquefied natural gas as possible to help Europe.
Treasuries will resume trading nursing sharp losses from the end of last week that saw the 10-year yield climb above 2.80%. Renewed worries about price pressures and rapid Federal Reserve monetary tightening sparked the selloff. A gauge of the dollar advanced and the yen retreated.
The recent property cooling measures have affected the sales of construction group Tiong Seng’s 2 projects located in Balmoral and Orchard, due to the higher additional buyer’s stamp duty rates for foreign buyers. Even so, the mainboard-listed company is optimistic that the resumption of international travel, and location of the 2 properties – Sloane Residences and Cairnhill 16 – which are close to good schools and amenities may encourage more sales.
Sequoia Capital India‘s Shailendra Singh has stepped down from the board of troubled Zilingo following questions about the high-profile Singapore startup’s accounting practices, according to people familiar with the matter. Singh, a managing director at the influential venture capital firm, resigned as a director about a week ago, after the departures of Temasek’s Xu Wei Yang and Burda Principal Investments’ Albert Shyy, said the people, asking not to be identified because the move hasn’t yet been made public. All 3 firms have been prominent backers of the fashion e-commerce platform once hailed as a symbol of South-east Asia’s booming internet economy.
Executive director and deputy chief executive officer of ecoWise Holdings has been ousted, after over 90 per cent of the votes cast wanted him out, according to shareholders who requisitioned for the removal. This came as the company’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) convened on Thursday (Apr 14) to boot Cao Shixuan out with immediate effect and appoint Danny Oh Beng Teck, Gan Fong Jek and Tan Poh Chye Allan as new directors. In its regulatory filing on Thursday, ecoWise announced that Cao had resigned with effect from Wednesday.
With its offer to acquire Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) having been approved by shareholders of the mainboard-listed property player, Cuscaden Peak has started despatching to shareholders the forms for them to choose between getting all cash or a combination of cash and SPH Reit units. In its regulatory filing furnished to the Singapore Exchange on Thursday (Apr 14), Hotel Properties Limited HPL : H15 +0.28% (HPL) announced that the consortium it backed, Cuscaden Peak, requires SPH shareholders to submit the election forms by 5.30 pm on Apr 26 if they want to receive the S$2.36 in cash for each SPH share they hold.
Elite Commercial Reit said its lease for Tomlinson House in Blackpool Norcross Lane to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence will now run till March 2028, after the option for lease break in March 2023 had been removed. In its regulatory filing on Thursday (Apr 14), the manager of the real estate investment trust (Reit) said the move has provided income visibility for the next 6 years from March 2022, as well as further upside from its built-in inflation-linked rental escalation from April 2023. Elite Commercial Reit, under an agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence, will be investing £100,000 (S$177,880) towards pre-approved works relating to sustainability upgrade initiatives focused on improving the underlying energy efficiency of the building.
Mainboar-listed telco Singtel said on Thursday (Apr 14) that it has signed 2 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with its Indonesian partner Telkom to collaborate regionally in the data centre and fixed broadband segments. Under the first MOU, Singtel will collaborate with Telkom, which is also the parent company of Singtel’s regional associate Telkomsel, to build and acquire data centres in the region. “As strategic partners for over two decades, this move into data centres expands on the close collaboration between Singtel and Telkom to build out Indonesia’s mobile communications and digital infrastructure,” Singtel said.
iWOW Technology, a local technology provider that specialises in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, capped its trading debut on the Catalist board of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) at S$0.26, up 4 per cent from its initial public offering (IPO) price of S$0.25. The counter opened at S$0.275 on Thursday (Apr 14), up 10 per cent or S$0.025 from its IPO price. As at 9.05 am, the counter was trading at S$0.28, up 12 per cent or S$0.03 from the IPO price. iWOW was also one of the most actively traded stocks on SGX in early trade, with some 2.3 million shares changing hands as at 9.08 am.
DiDi Global will hold an extraordinary general meeting on May 23 to vote on delisting its shares from the New York Stock Exchange, a sign the ride-hailing giant is heeding Beijing’s call to address concerns about how its data is handled abroad. The company said in a statement on Saturday (Apr 16) that it will not apply to sell shares on any other stock exchange before finishing the move in the US, adding that it would continue to explore a potential listing on another internationally recognised exchange. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement published on its website the same day that DiDi made the decision to delist based on the market and its own situation.
Shipments of some Apple products, as well as Dell and Lenovo laptops are likely to face delays if China’s Covid-19 lockdowns persist, analysts said, as curbs force assemblers to shut down and closed-loop arrangements get harder to maintain. China’s race to stop the spread of Covid-19 has jammed highways and ports, stranded workers and left countless factories awaiting government approval to reopen – disruptions that are rippling through global supply chains. Apple supplier Pegatron said this week it would suspend its plants in Shanghai and Kunshan where, according to supply chain experts, it produces the iPhone 13, the iPhone SE series, and other legacy models.
For the first time, Tesla has hit a real production snag in China. The electric-car maker’s Shanghai plant, its first outside the US, has had output suspended for almost 3 weeks due to city-wide lockdowns in China’s financial heart. At a run rate of about 2,100 cars a day, that is around 39,900 units lost since the lines fell silent on Mar 28. There are few signs as to when the situation might change. The city of 25 million is posting record Covid-19 cases almost daily and much of the city remains under restrictions of movements with ongoing disruptions to food and manufacturing supply chains. All Chinese automakers may have to halt production in May if shutdowns persist in the Shanghai area, said He Xiaopeng, chief executive officer (CEO) of electric vehicle (EV) firm Xpeng.
Citigroup Inc posted a 46 per cent plunge in first-quarter profit on Thursday (Apr 14) as it took hits from provisions for Russia-related losses, a slump in underwriting fees and higher expenses. Citi – the most global of the US banks – added US$1.9 billion to its reserves in the quarter to prepare for losses from direct exposures in Russia and the economic impact of the Ukraine war. That pushed credit costs to US755 million, a contrast with the US$2.1 billion benefit a year ago when it freed up loss reserves built during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bank said it had reduced its exposure to Russia to US$7.8 billion, from US$9.8 billion in December. If the conflict follows a severely adverse scenario, it would now lose no more than US$3 billion, down from the nearly US$5 billion estimated last month.
US President Joe Biden will nominate Michael Barr, a Treasury Department veteran and one of the architects of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, as the US Federal Reserve’s chief banking supervisor. “Michael brings the expertise and experience necessary for this important position at a critical time for our economy and families across the country,” Biden said in a statement released Friday (Apr 15) by the White House. Barr’s nomination as the Fed’s vice-chair for supervision requires Senate approval.
Source: SGX Masnet, The Business Times, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, CNBC, PSR
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