Singapore shares retreat 0.5 per cent on Wednesday

SINGAPORE - The local market retreated on Wednesday as a continued slump in crude oil began to drag down other commodities amid concerns about slowing global economic growth.

The benchmark Straits Times Index lost 0.5 per cent or 14.91 points to end the day at 3,326.16.

This decline came as prices of Brent crude oil traded in London fell nearly 2 per cent to below US$46 per barrel.

The slide in crude oil prices also spread to commodities such as copper and other precious metals. The relative strength index, a measure of price momentum, for copper traded in London dropped to 12 on Wednesday, the lowest since at least 1986, according to a Bloomberg report.

The World Bank on Tuesday night cut its forecast for global growth this year, pointing to the euro zone's financial troubles, recession in Russia and slowdowns in emerging markets such as China, the world's biggest consumer of copper.

In Singapore, commodity traders such as Golden Agri-Resources and Noble Group were among the most active stocks on Wednesday.

Golden Agri closed flat at 46 cents with 37 million shares traded, while Noble fell 1.5 cents to $1.01 on 32.3 million shares traded.

Overall, 1.16 billion local shares worth $1.09 billion changed hands. Losers outnumbered gainers at 238 to 126 counters.