Amid concerns over the global economy

Asian shares slide in wake of commodities sell-off

GMT 16:05 2011 Friday ,06 May

Arab Today, arab today Asian shares slide in wake of commodities sell-off

The Sydney stock market closed lower on Friday as BHP Billiton and other mining shares fell.

The Sydney stock market closed lower on Friday as BHP Billiton and other mining shares fell. Most Asian bourses slipped Friday while gold and silver extended their recent heavy declines from last week's record highs amid concerns over the global economy, but oil edged up on bargain-hunting. Global investors have become nervous about the strength of the recovery after disappointing jobs data out of the United States and manufacturing figures in Europe.
Commodities prices have also been hit by a strengthening dollar after the European Central Bank (ECB) played down its concerns about inflation, lowering the prospect of another eurozone rate hike in the near future.
Tokyo's Nikkei, which has been closed for the past three days for public holidays, tumbled 1.45 percent, or 145 points, to 9,859.20 while Seoul slumped 1.52 percent, or 33.19 points, to 2,147.45.
Hong Kong was off 0.40 percent in the afternoon and Shanghai lost 0.17 percent.
Sydney dropped 0.23 percent, or 10.7 points, to 4,743.0.
Resource firms were the big losers regionally as the price of commodities has fallen.
Australia's mining giant BHP Billiton was down 2.13 percent and rival Rio Tinto fell 1.8 percent while Japan's Inpex lost 6.16 percent and South Korean firm S-Oil Corp. lost 5.12 percent.
Gold opened at $1,485.00-$1,486.00, well down from its Thursday close of $1,516.00-$1,517.00, and from its record high of almost $1,570 last Friday. Silver fell 3.8 percent to $34.84 a troy ounce in the afternoon after hitting a record above $49 last Friday.
Crude dived on Thursday, with New York's main contract sliding more than eight percent -- its heaviest one-day fall since September 2008 -- to dip below $100 a barrel for the first time since March 16.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in June slumped $10.39.
However, bargain-hunting pulled the cost of oil up in Friday afternoon Asian trade. New York's West Texas Intermediate rose 58 cents to $100.38 a barrel and Brent gained 92 cents to $111.72.
Markets have been rattled by poor economic data around the world.
On Thursday the US Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose to 474,000 in the week ending April 30, a 10 percent increase from the prior week and an eight-month high.
The figures heightened fears that key non-farm payroll data in the US later Friday will be dismal and sent Wall Street sliding. The Dow ended 1.10 percent off, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 0.48 percent and the broader S&P 500 shed 0.91 percent.
Despite the weak US data the dollar rose in Asia on expectations the Federal Reserve's bond purchasing programme -- known as quantitative easing -- will end next month and will not be renewed, taking liquidity out of the system.
That made dollar-priced commodities more expensive.
In late Tokyo trade the dollar fetched 80.53 yen, up from 80.04 yen late Thursday in New York. The euro rose to $1.4558 from $1.4541 in New York, where the greenback shot up from $1.4827 on the ECB signal.
The euro gained to 117.38 yen from 116.43.
The commodities-based Australian dollar edged up to US$1.0698 after sliding as low as $1.0529 overnight, although it was also well off its record high of $1.10 seen earlier this week.
The European Central Bank on Thursday kept its main interest rate unchanged at 1.25 percent after raising it last month for the first time since 2008.
However, bank president Jean-Claude Trichet said "the monetary policy stance is still very accommodative, we will continue to monitor very closely all developments" that pressure prices.
His omission of the phrase "strong vigilance" -- codewords used in the past to signal the bank's intentions for a rate increase -- hint that further hikes may be some time off, analysts say.
In other markets:
Taipei fell 41.38 points, or 0.46 percent, to 8,977.23.
TSMC was 0.27 percent higher at Tw$75.0 while Hon Hai fell 0.46 percent to Tw$107.5.
Manila closed 0.70 percent, or 29.61 points, lower at 4,219.07.
San Miguel Corp, which slumped almost 30 percent on Thursday, closed unchanged at 109.50 pesos while property giant Megaworld Corp. slipped 4.95 percent to 2.11 pesos.
However Lepanto Consolidated Mining saw its A shares buck the trend to rise 12.50 percent to 81 pesos.
Wellington closed 0.21 percent, or 7.36 points, higher at 3,506.35.
Telecom was up 1.4 percent at NZ$2.22, Sky City added 1.9 percent to NZ$3.68 but bathroom fittings firm Methven lost 4.6 percent to NZ$1.44.

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