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 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," Mr Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told Bloomberg. "Iran is... going to be a key focus... over coming weeks. The question is how much supply can come online in the short term."
Elsewhere in the region, Tokyo slid 1.1 per cent, and Hong Kong lost 1.5 per cent to a three-year low. 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 No. 2 economy.
At home, the three local banks were a major drag on the STI. DBS Group fell 41 cents or 2.8 per cent to $14.23, UOB lost 50 cents or 2.8 per cent to $17.10, and OCBC Bank slid 17 cents or 2.1 per cent to $7.78.
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, rising one cent or 2.9 per cent to 35 cents, and agri-business group Wilmar International added 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 last Friday.
SGX said the counter 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.
At least half of these trades were due to the group buying and selling among themselves, it added.
Meanwhile, GS Holdings, which operates centralised dishwashing facilities, made its 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 changing hands. The stock closed unchanged at 0.1 cent.
Trading across the exchange amounted to 1.45 billion shares worth $1.19 billion.