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Singapore shares join regional slide, falling 0.7% on Wednesday

THE days leading up to the US-China trade talks have seen more mines scattered along the road towards a resolution. And if the effect of which wasn't noticeable during Tuesday's Asia session, it was certainly felt on Wednesday.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) started the day 0.4 per cent lower before closing at 3,089.90, a retreat of 20.95 points or 0.7 per cent.

Most other Asia-Pacific markets fared similarly, with benchmark indices in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Korea ending lower. Bucking the trend was China, which was lifted by banks and real estate firms. The Shanghai Composite Index added 11.29 points or 0.4 per cent to finish at 2,924.86.

Following news on Monday of the US imposing commercial restrictions on 28 Chinese entities due to the "repression" of Muslims in China's Xinjiang province, Beijing has said it will retaliate.

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The issues have gotten thornier after Washington said it would curb visas for Chinese officials, and reports claiming discussions around restricting capital flows into China have resumed.

In Singapore, trading volume stood at 899.66 million securities, three-quarter of the daily average in the first eight months of 2019. Meanwhile, total turnover clocked in at S$936.54 million, 87 per cent of the January-to-August daily average.

Across the market, decliners beat advancers 207 to 156. Twenty-four of the blue-chip index's 30 counters ended in the red.

Golden Agri-Resources remained the STI's most active counter with 68.7 million shares traded. The counter dipped 0.5 Singapore cent or 2.3 per cent to close at 21 cents.

The banking trio were also in the red. DBS Group Holdings fell S$0.16 or 0.7 per cent to close at S$24.60, OCBC Bank lost S$0.07 or 0.7 per cent to S$10.61 while United Overseas Bank finished at S$25.36, down S$0.18 or 0.7 per cent.

Among second-liner counters, Penguin International added S$0.02 or 3.2 per cent at S$0.64. UOB Kay Hian initiated coverage on the company with a "buy" recommendation with a target price of S$0.85.