SINGAPORE (July 15): The 12 months ended March 31, 2019 was certainly a challenging period for Temasek Holdings. The sovereign investment fund recorded a total shareholder return (TSR) of 1.49%, according to its annual review. This was down from 12% the year before, and 13% two years ago. The last time Temasek registered a similar performance was in 2012, though this is nowhere near the negative TSR of 30% and 9% recorded in 2009 and 2016, respectively.

One reason for the weaker performance was the market dip in the fourth quarter of 2018. This was driven by a slowdown across the globe — excluding the US — as a synchronised global expansion failed to maintain momentum during the year. The escalation in trade tariffs between the US and China only made it worse, leading to fears of a recession.

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