SGX Market Updates

Extraordinary Policy Measures Spur Big Market Moves


30 March 2020

  • Last week, the STI gained 5%, traded at levels not seen since June 2009, with STI volatility (50%) in March surpassing highs reached during SARS (27%) yet still off volatility highs experienced during the GFC (69%).

  • Last week the Singapore Government increased its Fiscal Stimulus to S$55 billion, equivalent to 11% of Singapore’s GDP, while the United States Congress also passed a US$2.2 trillion Stimulus Package, similarly proportioned to its US$20 trillion GDP. 

  • STI stocks have been mixed in March (through to 27 March) with the STI declining 16%, and the 5 strongest STI stocks for the period averaging a 3% decline, and 5 least performing STI stocks over the period averaging a 24% decline.

Last week, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 4.9%, while making a 2208 market low, a level not seen since June 2009. The regional FTSE ASEAN All-Share Index gained 2.3% over the week, somewhat weighed by Brent Crude Oil’s 8% decline to US$24.93/bbl, while the SPDR Gold ETF, traded on SGX gained 5.8%.

The Singapore Government unveiled a S$48 billion secondary ‘Resilience Budget’, while expectations firmed for the MAS to announce a 0% per annum rate of appreciation of the policy band in the semi-annual Monetary Policy Statement, as confirmed this morning. The total S$55 billion in Fiscal Stimulus equates to 11% of Singapore’s GDP, paralleling the United States’ US$2.2 trillion stimulus impact on its US$20 trillion economy. For full details on Singapore’s Resilience Budget, click here.

Volatility and Previous Big STI Moves

As of the end of February, there were 85,403 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the world, which had grown to 509,164 confirmed cases as of 27 March. With firm expectations that the Singapore economy will contract in 2020 on the economic impacts of the pandemic, the STI’s 30-day Volatility has risen to 50%. This is still off the 69% high recorded in November 2008, and as expected higher than the STI 30-day volatility peak of 27% amidst SARS. This is because the recent STI decline has been sharper than what was experienced during SARS, but less than what was experienced during the GFC:

  • During SARS, from the immediate preceding STI peak on 15 Jan 2002 through to the low on 10 March 2003, the STI declined 17%. Longer term, from the preceding major high back on 19 March 2002, the STI declined 36% through to the 10 March 2003 low before recovering 58% through to the following peak on 8 April 2004. 

  • The full market cycle of the GFC saw the STI decline 62% from the 11 October 2007 high through to the 9 March 2009 low, before recovering 127% from that low through to the 9 November 2010 high.

  • By comparison, from the immediate preceding STI peak on 17 January 2020 through to the low on 23 March 2020, the STI declined 23%. Longer term, from the preceding major high back on 29 April 2019 to the to the 2208 low on 23 March 2020 the STI has declined 33%.

STI Stocks – Varied Moves in March MTD

From the 28 February through to the 27 March close, the STI declined 15.7% in total return.

STI Total Returns As Of 30 Mar

The 30 STI constituents represent different sectors, maintain different geographical exposures, balance sheets and valuations and hence performances have been varied in the month of March:

  • The most defensive STI stocks were Singapore Exchange, Dairy Farm International, Singapore Press Holdings, UOL Group and Jardine Matheson Holdings which averaged declines of 3.1%. Dairy Farm International and Jardine Matheson Holdings were the STI’s 2 least performing stocks of 2019. With the exception of Dairy Farm International, four of the five stocks maintain a lower debt-to-equity ratio that the Index median.

  • Stocks that led the declines were ST Engineering, Jardine Cycle & Carriage, Singapore Airlines, City Developments and Thai Beverage PCL, which averaged 24.2% declines. All five stocks maintain a higher debt-to-equity ratio that the Index median. All 5 stocks were also amongst the 15 most volatile STI stocks over the past 30 sessions. 2 of the stocks generate significant revenue from ASEAN (ex-Singapore) while the remaining three make up half of the six STI stocks that report more than 10% of their revenue to Europe.

  • The 5 strongest STI stocks in the month-to-date have been recipient to S$213 million in net institutional inflow (excluding market maker and liquidity provider flow) for the 2020 year through to 27 March. In contrast to the 5 least performing STI stocks for the month-to-date saw a total of S$216 million in net institutional outflow.

The 30 STI stocks sort by performances in the month of March (through to 27 March) are tabled below. Note debt-to-equity ratios are simply one financial measures amongst a number of fundamental factors that can differentiate stocks and sectors.

Name SGX
Mkt Cap
30 Day
Net Insti Flow
  (excl. Market
Making and
Liquidity Profile)
Debt-to Equity
at Last Filing
STI Median
SINGAPORE EXCHANGE S68 $9,673 6.5% 55% 2.9% $203 Below
DAIRY FARM INTL HLDGS D01 $8,688 -0.5% 49% -13.2% -$20 Above
SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS T39 $2,917 -3.2% 51% -16.1% $9 Below
JARDINE MATHESON HLDGS J36 $50,969 -5.8% 67% -4.4% $2 Below
UOL GROUP U14 $5,728 -7.9% 50% -18.4% $20 Below
ASCENDAS REAL ESTATE INV TRT A17U $10,059 -9.2% 69% -5.4% $225 Above
MAPLETREE COMMERCIAL TRUST N2IU $6,251 -10.0% 72% -20.3% -$9 Below
YANGZIJIANG SHIPBUILDING BS6 $3,331 -10.1% 50% -24.1% -$66 Below
SEMBCORP INDUSTRIES U96 $2,924 -10.4% 47% -28.4% -$36 Above
MAPLETREE LOGISTICS TRUST M44U $6,080 -13.5% 90% -7.4% $51 Above
SINGAPORE TELECOMMUNICATIONS Z74 $41,965 -14.3% 46% -23.7% -$178 Below
KEPPEL CORP BN4 $9,897 -14.4% 49% -19.8% $1 Above
VENTURE CORP V03 $4,029 -15.1% 58% -13.8% $86 Below
HONGKONG LAND HOLDINGS H78 $12,925 -15.8% 47% -25.4% -$28 Below
OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORP O39 $39,182 -15.9% 49% -18.9% -$256 Above
SATS S58 $3,779 -16.1% 80% -33.2% -$82 Below
CAPITALAND COMMERCIAL TRUST C61U $6,025 -16.1% 59% -20.2% $66 Below
CAPITALAND C31 $14,904 -16.4% 57% -21.3% $107 Above
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK U11 $33,697 -17.4% 51% -23.5% -$453 Above
CAPITALAND MALL TRUST C38U $6,864 -18.1% 64% -23.5% $6 Below
GENTING SINGAPORE G13 $8,023 -18.4% 83% -27.7% $10 Below
WILMAR INTERNATIONAL F34 $20,431 -18.9% 57% -21.8% $46 Above
JARDINE STRATEGIC HLDGS J37 $35,159 -19.6% 91% -21.9% -$11 Below
COMFORTDELGRO CORP C52 $3,358 -20.5% 49% -34.9% -$146 Below
DBS GROUP HOLDINGS D05 $48,598 -20.6% 53% -26.0% -$1,019 Above
THAI BEVERAGE PCL Y92 $15,321 -21.8% 65% -30.1% -$59 Above
CITY DEVELOPMENTS C09 $6,747 -23.8% 69% -32.1% -$61 Above
SINGAPORE AIRLINES C6L $7,206 -24.0% 69% -32.7% -$128 Above
JARDINE CYCLE & CARRIAGE C07 $8,019 -24.4% 71% -32.6% -$23 Above
SINGAPORE TECH ENGINEERING S63 $9,498 -26.9% 59% -22.6% $54 Above
Median     -16.0% 57% -22.3%    
Average     -14.8% 61% -21.3%    

Data as of 27 March 2020
(Source: Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Company Financial Reports)

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