SINGAPORE (Apr 3): The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 1.95% on Friday morning, with real estate investment trusts (REITs) leading the decline following concerns that the potential release of a Covid-19 temporary measure bill, which could absolve tenants of their rental obligations for up to six months, will introduce further uncertainty to an already challenged retail sector.

This comes after a rocky start to the week, when Singapore’s central bank took unprecedented easing steps to support a trade-reliant economy being slammed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, which uses the exchange rate as its main policy tool rather than a benchmark interest rate, lowered the midpoint of the currency band and reduced the slope to zero. That implies the central bank will allow for a weaker exchange rate to help support export-driven growth and to ward off deflationary threats.

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