Asian stocks mostly down as oil prices slip further

  • Stocks in Asia were mostly lower on Wednesday as oil prices slipped further into negative territory.
  • Both U.S. and Brent crude prices slipped in the afternoon of Asian trade, after oil prices fell more than 7 percent on Tuesday to extend their losing streak to 12 straight sessions.

Stocks in Asia were mostly lower on Wednesday as oil prices slipped further into negative territory.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was lower by 0.74 percent in late-afternoon trade.

The mainland China markets, which have been closely watched by investors because of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, saw losses with the Shanghai composite shedding 0.85 percent to close at around 2,632.24 while the Shenzhen composite declined by 0.401 percent to finish the trading day at about 1,378.36.

The country reported industrial output for October was 5.9 percent higher than a year ago, higher than expectations from a Reuters poll. Fixed asset investment for October also came in above expectations at 5.7 percent higher as compared to a year ago. Retail sales in October, however, came in below expectations at 8.6 percent higher year-on-year.

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 1.74 percent to close at 5,732.8 while South Korea's Kospi was lower by 0.15 percent at 2,068.05.

In Japan, however, stocks bucked the overall downward trend for the day. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.16 percent to close at 21,846.48 while the Topix index rose 0.17 percent at 1,641.26.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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Crude prices continue to slump and Asian oil stocks fall

In the oil market, U.S. crude futures fell 0.29 percent at $55.53 per barrel during the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent traded fractionally higher at $65.49.

The moves in the crude markets came after oil prices fell more than 7 percent Tuesday to extend their losing streak to 12 straight sessions. Oil's decline on Tuesday came after Trump said he hoped OPEC would not cut oil production in order to lift prices.

"Oil prices have dropped sharply since peaking in early October as oversupply concerns have deepened," Vivek Dhar, a mining and energy commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a morning note.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih had said on Monday that OPEC agreed there was a need to cut oil supply next year by around 1 million barrels per day from October levels.

Commenting on the Saudi move, Dhar said it "demonstrates the kingdom's willingness to change strategy and lead from the front to address oversupply concerns."

Dhar, however, warned that "any output cut by Saudi Arabia will require participation from other allied nations. And that could be an uphill battle."

Australian oil stocks saw broad declines on Wednesday, with Santos falling 5.02 percent, Woodside Petroleum down 2.49 percent and Beach Energy dropping 5 percent.

Energy stocks elsewhere in the region also fell, with Japan's Inpex falling 1.86 percent, JXTG shedding 2.59 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration declining by 2.13 percent. South Korean oil stocks also declined: S-Oil declined 5.31 percent and SK Innovation was down 3.25 percent. Over in China, shares of Petrochina declined 2.73 percent while China Petroleum saw losses of 3.4 percent.

Renewed US-China trade talks

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 100.69 points to close at 25,286.49 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.15 percent to 2,722.18 by the closing bell — its fourth straight decline. The Nasdaq Composite closed largely flat at 7,200.87.

The major indexes had earlier hit their session highs after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed reports of renewed talks between the U.S. and China on trade.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had resumed trade talks. The report comes ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.136 after seeing highs above 97.600 yesterday.

The Japanese yen, which is widely seen as a safe-haven currency, was at 113.88 against the dollar after touching lows above 114 in the previous session. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7215 after rising from around the $0.717 handle yesterday.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Reuters contributed to this report.