Asian stocks fell, with the regional index headed for a one-week low as the stronger yen sank Japanese shares. Emerging-market and commodity-linked currencies weakened as oil extended its drop and copper futures traded near a 43-month low amid concern over China’s economy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.9 percent by 9:57 a.m. in Tokyo, set for the lowest close since March 4 as Japan’s Topix Index (TPX) slid 1.4 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed. The yen traded at 102.93 a dollar after gaining versus major peers yesterday. The Australian and New Zealand dollars fell with currencies from South Korea to Malaysia. Oil in New York slid 0.6 percent on rising U.S. inventories, while copper futures declined 0.2 percent.
Disappointing Chinese data has fueled a rout in base metals this week as investors speculate over the outlook Asia’s largest economy while lawmakers mull policy in Beijing. Indian industrial output probably shrank a fourth month in January while consumer-price growth slowed in February, according to Bloomberg surveys before data today. Thailand may cut interest rates amid ongoing political friction. Germany told Russia to switch course on Crimea by next week or risk more sanctions.
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