Investors’ risk appetite was also curbed by a lacklustre performance in global equity markets overnight.
Wall Street suffered its worst performance in nearly a month, while European stocks also softened, led by a slump in Italian banks as political risk resurfaced in Europe ahead of a referendum in Italy this weekend.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet in Vienna to discuss a planned production cut in an effort to curb overproduction that had dogged markets and more than halved prices since 2014. The uncertainty has prompted oil price to fall.
Sentiment was also dampened by falling coal prices. China’s thermal coal futures lost nearly 3 per cent to a 5-1/2-week low. Index heavyweight China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd slid 1.5 per cent.
Sector performance was mixed, with energy and raw material shares sliding and industrial and utilities gaining.