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Singapore STI falls more than 1% on China woes

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) tumbled more than 1 per cent in mid-afternoon trade on Monday as concerns over China's economic slowdown weighs on sentiment.

At 3:44pm, the STI was down 1.13 per cent, or 37.73 points, at 3,314.92, dragged by blue chips stocks like SingTel, OCBC and DBS.

The latter, Southeast Asia's largest bank, posted a 15 percent gain in second-quarter profit to S$1.12 billion as its net interest margin rose to a three-year high and fee income climbed to a record. But this was not enough to spare it from the wider market's weaker sentiment. The stock fell more than 1 per cent to traded around S$21.12 a share.

Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG noted that global equities ended last week on a weaker note, as persistent sales of commodities and speculation ahead of FOMC weighed on risk sentiments.

"The surprisingly weak China flash PMI added to worries that there could be further weakness in the Chinese economy, after the patch of recent economic data showed signs of stability,'' he said.

On Monday, Chinese shares tumbled more than 8 percent amid renewed fears about the outlook for the world's No. 2 economy following the unprecedented government intervention earlier this month.

Reuters reported that the CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen plunged 8.6 percent, to 3,818.73, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 8.5 percent, to 3,725.56 points.

Elsewhere in Asia, stocks markets also fell, with the Thai index hitting a more-than-seven-month low after weaker-than-expected exports in June.

Malaysia hit a two-week low in line with a fall in the ringgit. Indonesia hovered around a more-than-two-week low and the Philippines retreated after four successive days of gains.