17 May

South Korea, Singapore Indexes Lose, ASX 200 Gains

WRITTEN BY Mayur Sontakke, CFA, FRM

KOSPI loses

South Korea’s KOSPI continued to fall for the second straight day on May 17. The index, which fell 1.2% on May 16, extended its losses by another 0.58% as uncertainty surrounding the US-China trade deal rose.

The iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (EWY) defied Asian ETFs yesterday. The ETF closed down 1.39%, breaking its two-day winning streak. Foreigners continued to sell South Korean stocks, and the South Korean won fell for the fourth straight week. The won has fallen 6.7% against the US dollar since January.

South Korea, Singapore Indexes Lose, ASX 200 Gains

Singapore loses too

On May 17, Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index dropped 0.77% to end the day at 3,205.46.

On the economic data front, Singapore had some bad news. In April, Singapore’s nonpetroleum exports dropped by 10% year-over-year. The decline followed March 2019’s 11.8% decline. Except for Hong and the United States, exports to all other markets fell in April, with the European Union, Japan, and China contributing the highest falls. Exports of electronic products declined faster at 16.3%, while nonelectronic exports saw a 7.9% fall.

Domestic wholesale trade excluding petroleum declined 3% in April.

The iShares MSCI Singapore Capped ETF (EWS), which gained 0.42% yesterday, is expected to be under pressure today.

Australia

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.59% as the stocks of iron ore miners gave it a boost. Iron ore prices are rising amid concerns that Chinese steel mills are running low on the commodity.

The iShares MSCI Australia ETF (EWA) rose 0.84% on May 16, while the iShares MSCI ex-Japan ETF (EPP), which invests heavily in Australia, was up 0.37% yesterday.

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