Mixed news was announced these two weeks with regards to progress of the trade talks. On one hand China pledged to buy over US$1 trillion of US goods and services to eliminate the trade deficit with the US by 2024, which seemed to indicate that both parties are well on track to reach a common consensus while on the other hand, US started the extradition procedure for Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou, which triggered worries that this might further hurt the precarious US-China relationship. Last fortnight, Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.3 percent to end at 24,553.24.
On 21 January 2019, China announced that its official economic growth came in at 6.6 percent in 2018, sliding 0.2 percentage points from the 6.8 percent growth achieved in 2017. This was also the slowest growth recorded in the last 28 years since 1990. Meantime, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its estimates for global growth down by 0.2 percentage points from its October forecasts, now projecting a 3.5 percent growth worldwide for 2019. Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.9 percent in the last two weeks.
The outcome of the closely-watched Brexit remained unclear as UK lawmakers stood divided after the Brexit deal negotiated by Theresa May was rejected by the Parliament last week.
Closer to home, the local bourse was invigorated by a couple of acquisition deals revealed over the last two weeks. On 14 January 2019, CapitaLand announced that it had entered into a transaction with Temasek to acquire Ascendas-Singbridge valued at $11 billion. Post transaction, the developer’s combined total assets under management will exceed $116 billion, putting it amongst one of the top 10 real estate investment managers globally. Meanwhile, Courts Asia’s share price surged 31.6 percent on 18 January 2019 after getting an acquisition offer from Japanese electronics retailer Nojima at $0.205 a share.
Last fortnight, Straits Times Index inched up 0.1 percent to close at 3,202.25.