World Economy

Asian Shares Skid

Asian Shares SkidAsian Shares Skid

Asian shares fell sharply on Friday after commodity prices tumbled to multi-year lows on worries that slower global growth may worsen a supply glut, while US Federal Reserve officials kept drumming up the case for a rate hike next month.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.5%, led by losses in resource shares. It was set for a weekly decline of 3.2%, Bloomberg reported.

Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.5%, snapping a seven-day winning streak, but remained on track for a weekly gain of 1.7%.

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 1.1%, and was poised to end the week flat.

The gloom in Asia is seen extending to European markets, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain’s FTSE 100 to open about 0.5% lower, Germany’s DAX 0.6%, and France’s CAC 40 0.7%.

Copper CMCU3, often seen as a good gauge of the world’s economic health because of its extensive industrial use, tumbled to a six-year low of $4,795.50 per ton, below its August trough.

It was set for a 3.8% loss for the week, its fourth consecutive weekly drop. Oil prices tumbled to near the 6 1/2-year lows touched in August, when financial markets were gripped by fear of a hard landing for the Chinese economy.

US crude futures CLc1 hovered around a 2-1/2 month low of $41.54 per barrel on a persistent rise in US stockpiles, and were poised for a 6.3% decline for the week.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell 3.9% on Thursday to $44.04 per barrel, edging near their 6 1/2-year low of $42.23. They last stood at $44.05, eyeing a weekly drop of 7.1%.

Gold edged back up to $1,082.06 from a six-year low of $1,074.30 per ounce, extending its loss so far this month to 5.3%.