Singapore stocks sink to four-year low after Trump's Europe travel ban, Latest World News - The New Paper

Singapore stocks sink to four-year low after Trump's Europe travel ban

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Singapore stocks fell 3.8 per cent to their lowest in more than four years, as economists predicted its economy would shrink sharply in the first quarter.

Other South-east Asian stock markets were also ravaged yesterday after the US suspended travel from Europe as coronavirus cases across the world spiralled, sparking worries that rising restrictions would hammer economic activity.

Thailand's near 11 per cent drop and Indonesia's 5 per cent decline triggered circuit breakers, leading to trading being halted for a period of time. Indonesia and Vietnam also dived into bear territory - a period signalling drawn-out negative investor sentiment.

The Philippines tumbled about 10 per cent.

Markets were rattled and tourism stocks lost ground after US President Donald Trump suspended all travel from Europe to the USs, barring Britain.

The absence of large-scale tax breaks or medical tests for Americans in Mr Trump's announcement also disappointed investors, who had expected concrete measures to cushion the economic impact.

"President Trump's speech was notable for what it didn't contain, rather than what it did," said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

Worries about the economic fallout from the virus also deepened after the World Health Organisation described the situation as a pandemic.

Japan's Nikkei crumbled 4.4 per cent to a trough last seen almost three years ago, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 5 per cent. Australian shares plunged 7.4 per cent to their lowest level in more than three years while Seoul's Kospi fell 4.8 per cent to 41/2-year lows, with massive selling prompting a brief trade halt.

Hong Kong stocks plunged to close at a near three-year low. The Hang Seng index fell 3.7 per cent.

In China, the blue-chip CSI 300 index closed 1.9 per cent lower to 3,950.91, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended down 1.5 per cent. Both indexes closed at their lowest levels since Feb 28.

European shares dropped to their lowest in nearly four years, with the benchmark STOXX 600 index falling 6 per cent by midday in London. - REUTERS, AFP