Traders and investors who bought shares in Singapore’s two largest internet companies are hurting as rising interest rates and the threat of a recession exacerbated the tech crisis that has robbed them of a $110 billion market capitalization.
Leading global consumer Internet company Sea Ltd. lost 78% this year, and car rental company Grab Holdings Ltd. more than doubled. Both New York-listed companies are Singapore’s largest tech companies by market value.
They were included in the MSCI Singapore index when there was a lot of interest in technology stocks in Singapore and neighboring countries. However, higher interest rates and a slowing economy are likely to bring another challenging year.
The MSCI Singapore index is weaker than the Straits Times index, which does not feature Grab and Sea, by about 20 percentage points this year. This is due to the fall of Sea, and stocks may still be the main scatter factor between the indices next year.
Singapore’s MSCI Index is down 14% this year, with Sea losing 8.4% and Grab about 2%. And the Straits Times index with shares of banks and real estate added about 5%.
The future of Singaporean tech companies remains controversial as fears of a recession have led to layoffs, business unit closures, and other cost-cutting measures in the tech industry.
Also recently, Sea founder Forrest Lee announced that the company is freezing salaries for most employees and paying lower bonuses this year in preparation for a worsening global economic situation in 2023. Grab is also planning to stop hiring and wages.
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