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Singapore shares extend fall on concerns over China, oil; STI tumbles more than 2%

A nervous silence reigned in most dealing rooms on Tuesday, as markets kept wary eyes cocked in China's direction and as traders stayed away in droves, worried that China's stock market plunges of the past week are not yet over.

SINGAPORE shares extended their decline amid a global sell-off in equities on Monday as China continued to spook investors despite the regulator guiding the yuan sharply higher in the morning.

The Straits Times Index (STI) tumbled 2.13 per cent, or 58.66 points, to 2,692.57 at 10:26am. About 481.9 million shares, valued at S$310.6 million, changed hands, with 42 gainers to 247 losers.

Blue chip stocks like DBS, OCBC, Singtel, Keppel Corp and Capitaland were among the losers.

DBS was trading around S$15.35, down 37 cents, or 2.35 per cent. More than 2.76 million shares were traded.

OCBC was trading around S$8.23, down 17 cents, or 2.02 per cent, with more than three million shares changing hands.

Singtel was trading around S$3.51, down four cents, or 1.13 per cent. More than six million shares were traded.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index tumbled 2.10 per cent to 374.20 as of 9:44am in Hong Kong, heading for its lowest close since October 2011, after sinking about 7 per cent last week. Markets in Tokyo are closed on Monday for a holiday.

The People's Bank of China on Friday ended an eight-day run of reductions to the reference rate that sent shockwaves through financial markets. It set the mid point for the yuan at 6.5626 per US dollar, confounding analysts who had looked for something around 6.5860, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, crude oil extended declines from the lowest close in 11 years amid further signs of weakness in China, the world's second-biggest crude consumer. The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery fell as much as 73 cents to US$32.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at US$32.57 at 8.47am Hong Kong time.