World Economy

Japan Shares Drag Asia Lower

Japan Shares Drag Asia LowerJapan Shares Drag Asia Lower

Shares in Japan led most markets across Asia sharply lower Wednesday, amid ongoing volatility in the oil market and concerns that global growth is slowing.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 559.43 points, or 3.15%, to 17,191.25, while the Topix fell 45.77 points, or 3.15%, to 1,406.27. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi slumped 15.93 points, or 0.84%, to 1,890.67, CNBC reported.

Australia’s ASX 200 extended losses, finishing down 116.56 points, or 2.33 percent, at 4,876.75. The energy sector saw the biggest loss, shedding 3.95 percent, while financials and materials fell 2.66 and 2.74 percent, respectively.

Chinese markets followed rest of Asia lower, but the Shanghai composite retraced losses to close down 9.72 points, or 0.35%, at 2,739.84. The smaller Shenzhen composite erased its earlier losses of as much as 1.11% to gain 8.11 points, or 0.46%, to 1,737.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 2.28%, after falling as much as 3.32% at market open. Taiwan’s Taiex closed down 68.24 points, or 0.84%, to 8,063.

The losses on the mainland came despite China’s Caixin purchasing managers’ index for the services sector showing activity expanded at its fastest pace in six months in January. The index rose to 52.4 in January from a 17-month low reading of 50.2 in December.

But after the global market rout since the beginning of the year, some are seeing glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. John Woods, chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific for private banking and wealth management at Credit Suisse, told CNBC’s Squawk Box that markets are heavily oversold currently and will likely exercise a powerful technical rally.


During Asian trade, West Texas Intermediate futures fell 0.33% to $29.78 a barrel, after dropping 5.5% in US trading hours. Global benchmark Brent futures for April delivery slipped 0.55% to $32.54, following a 5.23% decline overnight.

Oil got a boost last week on comments from Russia that OPEC’s largest producer, Saudi Arabia, was considering a 5% production cut.

Energy plays were broadly negative across the board. In Australia, Santos lost 5.14%, Oil Search was down 1.10% and Woodside Petroleum shed 5%.

Japan’s Inpex fell 1.56% and Japan Petroleum declined 3.11%, while South Korea’s S-Oil was down 1.13%.

Hong Kong-listed shares of CNOOC were down 4.37%, while Petrochina fell 4.38%.