Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest two-day decline since August 2011, amid concern the Federal Reserve will reduce stimulus and China’s economic slowdown may deepen as a cash crunch worsens.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s biggest mining company, dropped 1.8 percent as oil, copper and gold futures slid. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s No. 1 bullion producer, slumped 6.8 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Inc., Japan’s largest lender, fell 2.9 percent after a unit agreed to pay $250 million to the state of New York to settle claims it transferred billion of dollars for countries facing sanctions including Iran, Sudan and Myanmar.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.3 percent to 125.98 as of 9:37 a.m. in Tokyo, with all 10 industry groups on the gauge falling. Global markets tumbled yesterday after Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said on June 19 the central bank may start dialing down its stimulus effort this year if the economy achieves the sustainable growth the Fed has sought since the recession ended in 2009, and as money market rates in China surged to record highs.
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