Mutual funds registered for sale in Singapore posted an average loss of 0.90% in December, but gained 8.95% on average for the year, according to Lipper data.

Equity funds led declines last month, falling 1.24% in aggregate, with India-focused portfolios bucking the trend and gaining 8.87% on average. Bond funds finished down 0.46% on the back of steeper yield curves, while Asia-Pacific fixed-income unit trusts held up well and gained 0.18%.

On the local front, SingaporeÆs stockmarket is looking more reasonable in terms of valuations after having underperformed its peers in Asia in the past year, says Singapore-based Kenneth Koh, head of research for Asia ex-Japan at Lipper.

The business environment for this year is going to be more challenging because of the slowdown in the US economy and the downturn in the global growth cycle, although that does not preclude a modest upturn in the electronics sector in 2008, Koh says.

Koh notes that it would be interesting to track the newly revamped Straits Times Index (STI) and the other new indices that are expected to provide a more comprehensive means of tracking the Singapore stockmarket.

The revamped STI and the new FTSE ST Index Series are aimed at stimulating the development of index-related products to serve diverse market needs. This in turn offers investors wider investment choices and opportunities in the Singapore market. With the availability of more indices, more listed companies can expect to be included in an index and achieve higher visibility with international fund managers and investors.

Average December performance of fund groups registered for sale in Singapore, by asset types:
Commodities +5.20%
Guaranteed Funds +0.35%
Hedge Funds +0.14%
Protected Funds -0.05%
Money Market Funds -0.15%
Bond Funds -0.46%
Mixed-Asset Funds -0.90%
Equity Funds -1.24%

Top 5 fund sectors in terms of performance in December, with their average gain:
Equity Indian Sub-Continent +8.87%
Equity India +7.45%
Equity Emerging Markets +5.83%
Equity Malaysia +5.25%
Commodities +5.20%

Bottom 5 fund sectors in terms of performance in December, with their average loss:
Equity Sector Real Estate Global -5.80%
Equity Japan -5.54%
Equity Japan Small- and Mid-Cap -5.39%
Equity Sector Real Estate -5.29%
Equity Sector Biotechnology -5.14%