Crude prices extended losses and have tanked more than 10%
Hong Kong - Arab Today
Most Asia markets sank again on Friday at the end of a painful week for global equities defined by an oil rout that analysts warn could continue for some time.
Crude prices extended losses and have now tanked more than 10 percent since last Friday when the OPEC grouping decided against capping output despite an oversupply and anaemic global demand.
Dealers are also keeping tabs on next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting, where it is expected to hike interest rates for the first time in nine years.
"It's difficult for shares to move much ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting," Hitoshi Asaoka, a senior strategist at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. in Tokyo told Bloomberg News.
"Oil prices haven't stabilised yet so we can easily enter a wait-and-see mood. I expect the market to continue to be unstable."
The OPEC decision last week has sent oil to around seven year lows, and with the global economy struggling, China's growth subdued and the dollar tipped to strengthen further, the commodity is expected to remain beaten down until possibly 2017.
Prices were hurt further by OPEC's announcement Thursday that its collective production rose in November to its highest level in three and a half years and beyond its 30 million ceiling target.
The figures are "reinforcing consternation that the global oil market is going to remain oversupplied for a longer time", said Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore.
Shares in Hong Kong sank 0.9 percent in the afternoon -- having fallen in the previous six sessions -- with CNOOC and PetroChina leading energy firms lower.
- Glencore surge -
But troubled mining giant Glencore surged almost eight percent in late trade after saying in London it would accelerate a plan to reduce debt and slash its 2016 capital budget to $3.8 billion from $5 billion previously.
London-listed shares in the firm ended up 7.7 percent.
On other markets Shanghai slipped 0.9 percent, Sydney was 0.2 percent lower and Seoul sank 0.2 percent.
In Shanghai, trading in Chinese conglomerate and Club Med owner Fosun International was suspended Friday as reports swirled that its billionaire chairman had become unreachable and could be under investigation.
Guo Guangchang, dubbed "China's Warren Buffett", had been out of contact since Thursday, respected business magazine Caixin reported.
It cited social media postings as saying police took Guo away at an airport in Shanghai, but it was not clear whether he was put under investigation himself or assisting an inquiry.
Authorities have launched wide-ranging probes into the financial sector following a market rout earlier this year when a debt-fuelled bubble -- encouraged by officials -- burst, wiping trillions of dollars off valuations.
Traders seemed to brush off gains in New York, which capped off three days of losses.
However, bargain-buying and a weaker yen helped Tokyo rally one percent by the break after three-straight losses that led the Nikkei to a one-month low.
The dollar edged up against its major rivals after suffering selling for most of the week, with the Fed meeting coming within a week and US monetary policy expected to be tightened.
The greenback bought 122 yen although it is still down from the levels above 123 yen seen Monday.
And the euro drifted to $1.0936 from above $1.10 in Asia Thursday although it has held most of the gains made after the European Central Bank last Thursday announced a stimulus revision that fell well short of expectations.
- Key figures around 0300 GMT -
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 19,230.48 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.5 percent at 21596.47
Shanghai - composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,434.58 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN to $1.0936 from $1.0939 late Thursday
Dollar/yen: UP to 122.00 yen from 121.62 yen
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 6,088.05 (close)
New York - Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 17,574.75 (close)