Oil price woes continue to pressure markets as STI drops for third day

Weak oil prices saw several key Asian markets dropping on Dec 10, 2015.
Weak oil prices saw several key Asian markets dropping on Dec 10, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Asian markets were gripped by another tepid day as the weak oil prices continued to spook investors.

The global crude benchmark Brent futures edged up slightly to US$40.22 (S$56.55) a barrel, but still just a friction above its lowest levels in six years.

The oil jitters hit most key regional markets, with Shanghai down 0.49 per cent and Hong Kong paring 0.46 per cent. Tokyo ended down 1.32 per cent and Sydney lost 0.83 per cent.

"Add to that the rate hike concerns and the Chinese economic woes, and you will likely see the STI (Straits Times Index) going down further to possibly hit another full-year low," remisier Chung Chun He told the Straits Times.

Singapore's benchmark STI dropped for the third day, down 12.73 points or 0.44 per cent to 2,848.46 on Thursday (Dec 10).

As many as 21 counters on the STI ended lower, with Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust losing the most the blue chips. It dropped 10 cents or 4.2 per cent to S$2.28, after announcing the issue price of its 90 million new private placement units at S$2.223 apiece.

The fund-raising exercise will finance Ascendas Reit's move to acquire One@Changi business park for S$420 million via a joint venture.

Sembcorp Marine, shrouded in the gloom of contract woes, pared seven cents or 3.88 per cent to S$1.735.

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust gained the most on the other end of the STI, up 1.5 US cents or 2.83 per cent to 54.5 US cents. Telcos SingTel and Starhub were both up, with SingTel rising four cents or 1.05 per cent to S$3.85 while Starhub put on four cents or 1.12 per cent to close at S$3.61.

Outside the STI, China Environment continued to dominate the scene as the market's top active counter with 67.33 million shares changing hands. It closed up 0.2 cents or 2.33 per cent at 8.8 cents.

The green tech firm announced the resignation of independent director Wu Yu Liang, who was also a member of China Environment's audit committee.

Investors also learned that Singapore Post chief executive Wolfgang Baier has resigned, an announcement after market close said. Mr Baier is credited for his strategies to boost SingPost's ecommerce unit.

SingPost dropped two cents or 1.13 per cent to S$1.755, ahead of the announcement.