Japanese Stock Market Falls Along With Rest of Asia

Japanese shares led losses across Asian markets on Wednesday as investors continued to fret over falling oil prices.

In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 1.7% at 16,795.96, marking its lowest close since 17 December.

Oil-related shares led the fall on the index with top refiner JX Holdings falling 4% and Showa Shell losing 2.8%.

A flight into safer investments saw the US dollar weaken to 117.84 yen, from 117.90 yen in New York trade.

Oil prices continued to slide to near six-year lows. Brent crude dropped below $46 a barrel to $45.80, while US crude fell to $45.34 a barrel.

Analysts said the sell-off in energy shares amid the oil slump was seen by some investors as a sign of weaker global economic growth.

However, the World Bank said lower oil prices would benefit some countries.

In its bi-annual report, the bank predicted global growth of 3% this year and 3.3% next year, below its June forecast of 3.4% and 3.5% respectively.

Australian shares closed lower, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 1% at 5,353.6 points.

Miners were the heaviest hit with shares of giant Rio Tinto finishing down 3.3%.

Meanwhile, shares of oil and gas exploration firm Santos were up more than 2% after its chief executive David Knox said he was considering an asset sale in the wake of falling oil prices.

via BBC

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency
trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza