KLCI, oil prices slump on rising prospect of trade war

  • Markets
  • Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Global equities slumped on Wednesday following the resignation of White House economic advisor Gary Cohn, and fanning fears that US steel and aluminium tariffs will proceed as planned.

The local bourse joined Asian markets in a sea of red with the benchmark FBM KLCI dropping 9.41 points to 1,838.96 by midday.

The slide was led by CIMB, losing seven sen to RM7.13, Sime Darby Plantation, declining seven sen to RM5.44, and Petronas Gas, falling 22 sen to RM17.40.

There were few gainers on the 30-stock index; among them Hong Leong Bank rising 16 sen to RM18.98, Hong Leong Financial Group adding two sen to RM19.06, Genting Malaysia rising five sen to RM5.14 and Axiata gaining two sen to RM5.42.

Press Metal Aluminium resumed its decline after retracing some losses in the previous session. It lost 19 sen to RM4.99 by midday.

AmInvestment Research said in its morning note that in addition to the downside risks of a potential 10% tariff in the US, the aluminium manufacturer is also facing headwinds in the form of rising material costs and a depreciating US dollar.

On the broader market, Carlsberg rose 44 sen to RM19.64, British American Tobaaco put on 32 sen to RM28.36 and Tasek gained eight sen to RM8.70.

Meanwhile, Hengyuan was among the top losers, falling RM1.38 to RM8.80 while Petronas Malaysia dropped 64 sen to RM9.09.

POs Malaysia was also another laggard, losing 22 sen to RM3.47.

Meanwhile, oil prices were dragged down by the prospect of a trade war. WTI crude dropped 46 cents to US$63.15 while Brent crude fell 48 cents to US$65.31.

On the forex market, the ringgit was little changed against the greenback at 3.9030. It weakened 0.48% against the pound sterling at 5.4228 and 0.23% against the Singapore dollar at 2.9647.