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Singapore shares close lower after China releases mixed economic data

A man passes a stock index board showing the Straits Times Index falling 4.3 percent at the Singapore Exchange in the central business district Aug 24, 2015.

The Straits Times Index on Monday lost 6.11 points at 3,024.5 in low volume of 1.7 billion units worth S$747.3 million. China's weak third quarter GDP numbers probably played a part, as did mixed sessions for Hong Kong, China and the Dow futures.

Turnover in the 30 STI components amounted to S$456 million or about 61 per cent of the whole market's business. Excluding warrants there were 269 rises versus 187 falls.

Brokers said the momentum of the past fortnight - which was probably also embellished by large doses of short-covering - appears to have stalled.

"China is still a concern and so is the threat of US interest rate rises," said a dealer.

Market voices on:

"If China avoids a hard landing and reports healthy growth, this means a greater chance of a rate hike and this would cap any rally. If China slows too much, the need for a rate hike is less but so is the incentive for stocks to run up because of growth concerns. Markets are caught between a rock and a hard place."

Offshore oil and gas firms were among the more noticeable plays. These included Loyz Energy, Ezra and Ezion, all of which featured in the top volume list. In Loyz's case, the stock surged S$0.029 or 63 per cent to S$0.075 with 124 million traded, drawing a query from the Singapore Exchange.

China on Monday reported 6.9 per cent GDP growth for the third quarter, better than the 6.8 per cent that economists had been expecting but other indicators hinted at lingering weakness - industrial production, for instance, rose only 5.7 per cent versus the expected 6 per cent, whilst fixed-asset investment which is a crucial driver of China's economy, came in at 10.3 per cent in the first nine months of 2015, also below estimates for 10.8 per cent growth.