SINGAPORE - Local shares shed all the gains they made this year on Thursday.
The Straits Times Index (STI) lost 44.51 points or 1.39 per cent to 3,154.21, dropping below the 3,174.65 level at the start of the year on Jan 2.
Trading activity surged with 1.34 billion shares worth a total of $1.24 billion changing hands.
Shares opened in negative territory and the selling momentum gained traction throughout the day before ending at the intra-day low.
Poor retail sales out from the United States sparked the selloff overnight in Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down by 1.06 per cent.
It set the tone for a nightmarish session in Asia, where stock markets were badly stung.
Tokyo declined 2.22 per cent, Hong Kong lost 1.03 per cent, Shanghai dropped 0,72 per cent and Seoul fell 0.37 per cent.
Only Sydney managed to escape unscathed, as it ended 0.18 per cent in the black owing to investors picking up cheap stocks.
Conglomerates and financial institutions that have been lending support to the STI gave way to steep declines.
The Jardine group of companies were among the biggest losers. Jardine C&C fell 58 cents to $39.67, Jardine Matheson lost 44 US cents to US$57.50 while Jardine Strategic was down 38 US cents to US$34.
Continued low oil prices and a potential fall in demand for rigs plagued the offshore and marine plays. Keppel Corp lost 37 cents to $9.54 while SembCorp Marine dipped seven cents to $3.60.
Great Eastern shed 48 cents to $23.51, DBS declined 29 cents to $17.75, UOB gave up 28 cents to $21.73 while OCBC surrendered 11 cents to $9.52.