KLCI in red again as rout on ringgit, oil, continues

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 14): The FBM KLCI continued its descent today after staging a technical rebound yesterday, and fell 1.5% as the ringgit weakened further, following a decline in global oil prices amid worries of a supply glut.

At 5pm, the benchmark index fell 24.80 points or 1.5% to close at 1,596.82 points.

JF Apex Securities Bhd’s senior analyst Lee Cherng Wee said the decline today is more due to domestic factors, as other markets in the region are seen to be less affected by the global oil prices.

“I think domestic factors played a bigger part in today’s fall, as other Asian markets seem to be less affected, if not recovered, following China’s move to devalue its currency.

“The weakening ringgit and the fall in global crude oil prices may have pushed the index down today,” said Lee.

Oil prices touched six-year lows today, as worries of a supply glut sapped investors’ confidence after the US announced rising stockpiles.

According to Bloomberg, Brent crude fell 0.22% to US$49.11 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude declined 0.54% to US$42 per barrel.

At the point of writing, the ringgit has weakened to 4.0837 against the US dollar, a fresh 17-year low, and was trading at 2.9099 against the Singapore dollar.

Meanwhile, Bursa Malaysia saw some 2 billion shares worth RM2.17 billion change hands. Market breadth turned negative as 782 decliners outnumbered 148 gainers. 248 counters remain unchanged.

Leading the decliners were British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, while gainers were led by Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd.

The most actively traded counter was KLCI put warrant FBMKLCI-HK.

Regionally, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.37%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.12%, while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.40%.

Reuters reported that Asian shares were mostly higher on Friday, but still on track for a steep weekly loss in the wake of China's surprise currency devaluation earlier in the week, while crude oil futures remained under pressure after data revealed a big rise in US stockpiles.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, which rose 0.06%, is poised to end the week down 2.6%.