Asia markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday, weighed by declines in the energy sector as oil prices continued to tumble.
Down Under, the ASX 200 fell 50.28 points, or 1 percent, to 4,993.30, extending declines after the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) decision to keep interest rates on hold at a record low of 2 percent. The energy sector saw the biggest loss, slipping 3.24 percent, following extended losses in oil prices.
Angus Nicholson, market analyst at spreadbetter IG, wrote in an afternoon note that equities sold-off despite prospects of further rate cuts providing greater stimulus. "If we had two more rate cuts by the RBA and inflation held at 1.7 percent, Australia would have negative interest rates," he wrote.
Nicholson added, "This provides no incentive to put one's money in bank deposits, and provides a strong incentive to seek out low-volatility, high-yielding stocks."
Chinese markets bucked the broad trend and were mostly in positive territory, with the Shanghai composite closing up 61.59 points, or 2.29 percent, at 2,750.44, after two consecutive sessions of declines. The smaller Shenzhen composite finished 57.18 points, or 3.42 percent, higher at 1,729.08. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index followed much of the rest of Asia to close down 148.66 points, or 0.76 percent, at 19,446.84.
Oil prices extended their overnight tumble as the optimism over a possible deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to reduce oversupply faded. Last week, expectations of a possible Russia-Saudi deal saw oil prices gain over 10 percent. Prices remain at multi-year lows.
In Asian trading hours, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell 1.74 percent to $31.07, after declining 5.95 percent overnight. Globally traded Brent April crude futures were down 1.61 percent at $33.69 a barrel, following losses of 4.9 percent in U.S. hours.
Energy plays across the region were mostly down, with Santos losing 4.26 percent, Oil Search down 2.75 percent and Woodside Petroleum lower by 3.26 percent. Inpex was 4.94 percent lower, while Japan Petroleum declined 3.67 percent and S-Oil closing down 2.09 percent.