THE Singapore market took a hit yesterday along with others in the region on the back of more turmoil in oil prices.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) dropped 37.76 points, or 1.44 per cent, to 2,593, extending losses in an already dismal start to the year.
Oil fell below US$28 a barrel yesterday for the first time since 2003, after sanctions were lifted against Iran, allowing the key producer to resume crude exports.
"There is ongoing negative pressure on oil prices from oversupply," Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told Bloomberg.
"Iran is... going to be a key focus for the markets over coming weeks. The question is how much supply can come online in the short term."
Elsewhere, Tokyo slid 1.1 per cent while Hong Kong dropped 1.5 per cent to its lowest in more than three years. Sydney shed 0.7 per cent and Jakarta dipped 0.9 per cent.
Shanghai bucked the trend, following a volatile trading session, inching up 0.4 per cent.
Traders are bracing themselves for Chinese growth data out today, which analysts expect will show a slower pace of expansion in the world's second-largest economy.
At home, the three local banks were a major drag on the STI. DBS Group Holdings fell 41 cents or 2.8 per cent to $14.23. United Overseas Bank dropped 50 cents or 2.8 per cent to $17.10 while OCBC Bank slid 17 cents or 2.1 per cent to $7.78.
Embattled commodity trader Noble Group, which has been struggling to hold on to its investment-grade ratings, remained on a downward trajectory, tumbling two cents or 6.8 per cent to 27.5 cents.
More than 52.1 million shares were traded.
Telco Singtel dipped three cents or 0.8 per cent to $3.53 while real-estate giant CapitaLand lost five cents or 1.6 per cent to $3.02.
Palm-oil producer Golden Agri-Resources was among the few winners that emerged, rising one cent or 2.9 per cent to 35 cents. Agri-business group Wilmar International also fared well, adding two cents or 0.7 per cent to $2.69.
Outside of the STI, specialist engineering services provider Koyo International dived 28.4 cents or 83.5 per cent to 5.6 cents, after the Singapore Exchange (SGX) issued a trading caution on the stock on Friday.
The SGX said the counter has outperformed the broader market between Oct 26 last year and Jan 14 this year, during which a small group of individuals was responsible for 60 per cent of the trading volume, according to its review.
GS Holdings, which operates centralised dishwashing facilities, made a strong debut yesterday, closing at 26 cents, up from its placement price of 25 cents.
Annica Holdings was the day's most active counter, with 272.5 million shares exchanging hands. The stock closed unchanged at 0.1 cent.
Trading across the exchange amounted to 1.45 billion shares worth $1.19 billion.
Get MyPaper for more stories.