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Singapore shares tumble to lowest in more than 4 years


SINGAPORE'S blue chip Straits Times Index tumbled to its lowest in more than four years on Wednesday amid nagging concerns over crude oil prices and the faltering Chinese economy.

The STI was trading around 2,562.43 at 1:11pm, down 76.04 points, or almost 3 per cent, from the previous day's close. By the end of the trading session, the index had fallen to 2,559.77 - down 78.7 points or 2.98 per cent. This was the lowest level seen since late-2011. Losers outnumbered gainers 355-to-79. 

Sembcorp Marine and its parent company Sembcorp Industries were in active trading in the morning following rumours of a full takeover by the parent firm or just an injection of funds into Sembcorp Marine. Other losers included DBS, SingTel and property-related Capitaland.

Crude oil prices are currently trading near 45 year lows, with Brent around US$27 a barrel.

"Prices have been lower in everyday (nominal) terms of course, but adjusted for inflation, a barrel of Brent now costs less than at anytime since 1973, save for late-1998 when Brent briefly sold for US$16 a barrel in today's prices,'' David Carbon, an analyst at DBS said.

As for China, uncertainty over its stimulus measures remain a key wild card that could add more volatility to global risk appetite and keep the markets in a cautious mood, market watchers said.