SINGAPORE (Oct 21): Singapore Exchange, operator of Southeast Asia’s biggest bourse, said first-quarter profit fell 16% from a year earlier as share trading volumes shrank, offsetting a gain in derivatives.

Profit dropped to $77.6 million in the three months ended Sept 30 from $92.3 million a year earlier, the company known as SGX said in a statement today. Operating revenue fell 8% to $168.9 million from a year earlier.

The exchange’s fourth straight quarterly profit decline came as trading volumes decreased after a slump in the share prices of three commodity companies erased US$6.9 billion in market value over three days in October last year.

Stock trading on the Singapore bourse dropped 28% to a daily average of $959.7 million in the three months through Sept. 30 from a year earlier, after slumping 30% in the previous quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Our securities market continued to be challenging, primarily due to low volatility which more than halved to 6% from 14% a year earlier,” Magnus Bocker, chief executive officer of SGX, said in the statement.

The outlook for markets remain “uncertain,” he said, resulting in a “challenging” business environment. He remains focused on new products, expanded distribution and technology. The Southeast Asia bourse has been rolling out new products to help counter slumping stock transactions. The bourse started trading a wholesale kilobar gold contract and has announced plans to introduce thermal-coal and electricity futures.

Derivatives trading volumes increased 9% during the quarter to 28.8 million contracts, SGX said today.