[B]Singapore[/B][B] Manufacturing Contracts In April[/B]
The manufacturing sector was dealt a blow during the month of April as overall production contracted for the first time in 13 months. Connected to a slow down in both domestic and overseas orders, the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management showed a survey decline of 1.4 points to 49.7 in the month of April. A reading below 50 indicates contractionary activity in the sector. Although factory output tends to be volatile from month to month, the decline shows that the economy may already be experiencing a soft patch, even as domestic factors remain buoyant. Subsequently, the electronics manufacturing index fell 2.4 points, in line with recent downtrend momentum in the survey, to post a 51.1. The lower figure has forced government growth forecasts to remain at the low end of estimates, easing below the 7.9 percent rate of expansion witnessed last year.
[B]Rising To A Record, Singapore Stocks Look Strong[/B]
Shares in Singapore vaulted to a record close as bidders made another push in the banking sector. Notably, DBS Group Holdings Ltd. helped boost the overall market, with speculation looking for the lender to post better than expected first quarter earnings. As a result, the nation?s largest lender rose 50 cents or 2.3 percent to close at S$22.20. Subsequently, United Overseas Bank Ltd. also gained, rising 40 cents to close at S$22.40. Both stocks helped to boost the benchmark index higher to close above the 3,422.62 market hit on April 10th. The Straits Times index closed 32.83 points higher at 3,450.64.