Wall Street is back on alert due to the rising interest rates as the 10-year Treasury note yield broke the level of 2.9 percent on Thursday. United Capital CEO Joe Duran anticipates another market correction for the S&P 500 before end-year, considering the rise of interest rates and weakening of dollar. Despite ongoing concerns, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose by 2.9 percent to 24,664.89 over the fortnight, while S&P 500 also jumped 3.1 percent to close at 2,693.13.
Continuing tensions in Middle East heightened, as US President Donald Trump ordered an air strike on the Russia-back Syrian Regime. Coupled with falling US oil inventories, investors are growing increasingly concerned about supply shortages which drove Brent crude oil prices up 1.7 percent to US$74.74 19 April 2018. Analysts are further anticipating more production cuts coming from the upcoming OPEC meeting.
Japan’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) is likely to hit the 2-percent target in fiscal 2019, following the Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s positive reiteration on the outlook of the Japanese economy. Further bolstering sentiments, Kuroda’s speech reassured investors that the BOJ will maintain its loose monetary policy until the observed CPI exceeds 2 percent and remains steady.
Over in Asia, the Hang Seng Index jumped 1.4 percent on 19 April 2018, to close the fortnight at 30,708.44 points. Similarly, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.84 percent to close at 3,263.48 points on the same day. Outcome from the US-Japan summit also brought some relief, as Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.15 percent to close at 22,191.18 on 19 April as well.
Over in the local front, the local non-oil domestic exports fell 2.7 percent for the second consecutive month in March, pointing to a sign of moderation of Singapore’s electronics shipments. While electronic NODX was a key economic driver for Singapore over the past year, the decline in NODX was not surprising, given that strong demand for manufacturing output is difficult to sustain.
That said, electronic NODX declined only 7.1 percent in March, moderating from the sharp 12.7 percent in February. Generally, most economists remains upbeat as they believe manufacturing growth will likely remain positive and would eventually spillover to lift other sectors. However, there are some economists that have raised concerns about growing trade protectionism and tech cycle downturn which could weigh on Singapore’s economy. With a mixed-bag of sentiments, Straits Times Index (STI) gained by 3.6 percent to close at 3,573.38 on 20 April 2018.