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ASX Closes above 6,500, Singapore Index Falls

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ASX 200 gains again

After rising 1.74% on May 20 on the back of a surprise election victory for the incumbent, Scott Morrison, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained again on May 21. The index fell in early trading but maintained a positive trajectory thereafter.

With markets anticipating a rate cut in June, the Australian dollar fell to 0.6872 against the US dollar, close to its three-year low.

The banking sector continued to drive this positivity.

The iShares MSCI Australia ETF (EWA) gained 2.15% on May 20 as we expected. The ETF was up 0.32% in premarket trading at 4:17 AM EDT today. The iShares MSCI ex-Japan ETF (EPP), which invests heavily in Australia, gained 0.97% on May 20.

New Zealand’s NZ 50 fell 0.18% on May 21.

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Singapore Index falls  

Singapore’s Straits Times Index retreated on May 21 after trade resumed following the long weekend. The index posted a 0.69% loss on the day to end up at 3,183.26.

The news on the economic front wasn’t very encouraging. Data published by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry showed that the country’s GDP had risen 1.2% YoY (year-over-year) in the first quarter of 2019. Though the economy continued to grow, this growth rate was below the expected 1.5%. The growth rate was also at its lowest point in a decade.

The manufacturing sector contracted in the first quarter of 2019 due to the effects of the trade war as demand for semiconductors and equipment fell. The wholesale and retail trade sector fell 1.8%.

On a positive note, the construction sector grew 2.9% YoY after falling for ten consecutive quarters.

The iShares MSCI Singapore Capped ETF (EWS), which fell 0.13% on May 20, is expected to be under pressure today.

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