Singapore shares closed 1.6 percent lower on Monday, as investors tried to price in the Federal Reserve's plan to tone down its stimulus drive starting later this year.
Financial markets were sold off last week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that with the U.S. economy showing signs of recovery, the central bank may start scaling back its huge monthly bond-buying plan which was aimed at keeping bond yields down and supporting the economy.
Meanwhile, China's weighted average overnight bond repurchase rate, a measure of the cost of funds, fell to a low of 6.1 percent earlier in the day but crawled back up again to slightly above Friday's close at 8.89 percent.
China shares extended losses with banks leading the downward spiral on Monday after official news reports over the weekend suggested Beijing will crack down on shadow banking, blamed for the cash crunch in the mainland.
Phillip Securities Research said as long as the index does not decisively clear 3230 resistance a "downward bias will likely persist."
SIAS Research said with market tone unlikely to see any significant improvements, the index will consolidate around current levels with resistance pegged at 3,150 points.
The benchmark Straits Times Index shed 50.14 points to close 3, 074.31 points. Trading volume was 2.11 billion shares worth 1.47 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 401 to 77, while 469 stocks closed unchanged.
First Resources dropped 3 percent to 1.77 Singapore dollars. The Singapore-listed palm oil producer said Sunday that inferences from various media reports that the company or its subsidiaries are contributing to the haze in the region through irresponsible burning are inaccurate. It added that it adopts a strict "zero- burn" policy and deploys mechanical methods in its land clearing process.
Golden Agri-Resources fell 2.7 percent to 53.5 Singapore cents. The Singapore-listed palm oil producer said on Saturday there were no hotspots or fires in the concessions of the company and its subsidiary, PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology Tbk.
COSCO Corporation lost 1.3 percent to 75 Singapore cents. The Singapore-listed Chinese shipbuilder said it had secured contracts for two accommodation units valued at over 170 million U.S. dollars each.
Among the top gainers, Great Eastern Holdings rose 1.4 percent to 17.25 Singapore dollars, while UOB became one of the top losers by falling 2 percent to 19.40 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.28 Singapore dollars)