Traders in Shanghai sold up for a second day after China's securities
Hong Kong - AFP
Australian miners led losses in Asian commodity firms Tuesday, with giant BHP Billiton sitting at a 10-year low, as metals prices slip further on slack demand and a strong dollar.
Traders tracked losses in New York and Europe as concerns about the global economy returned, particularly the sharp growth slowdown in China, a crucial buyer of commodities.
Producers took a hit as the price of copper sank to a six-year low below $4,500 a tonne Monday, nickel was at its lowest for more than a decade, and zinc and silver declined.
Oil prices saw a pick-up after Saudi Arabia said it was prepared to work with other producers to stabilise prices, although dealers remain subdued owing to a long-running supply glut, continued overproduction and anaemic demand.
"Wild gyrations in oil and another copper tumble could see further pressure on resource stocks," Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, told Bloomberg News.
BHP, the world's biggest miner, fell 1.8 percent and rival Rio Tinto lost 1.5 percent, while Fortescue Metals was off more than three percent.
Hong Kong-listed Jiangxi Copper shed 1.4 percent and Aluminium Corp of China was 1.6 percent off.
In Shanghai mining and processing firm Shanghai U9 Game tumbled by its 10 percent daily limit.
Weakness in commodity prices weighed on Wall Street Monday, where all three main indexes ended in the red, while London, Paris and Frankfurt were also lower.
In Asia Tuesday Sydney shed one percent and Hong Kong ended off 0.4 percent, but Tokyo enjoyed a late rally to close slightly higher.
- US data in focus -
Traders in Shanghai were spooked after China's securities regulator said Monday it would restart initial public offerings next week in the city as well as in Shenzhen.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission froze IPOs in July as part of efforts to staunch a market rout that saw a 40 percent plunge in prices and wiped trillions of dollars off valuations.
The market has stabilised since August, rising more than 20 percent. But investors fear the arrival of new firms will divert cash from existing listings and lead to another round of volatility.
Shanghai ended 0.2 percent higher Tuesday, with bargain-hunting fuelling a late rally after the market spent most of the day in negative territory.
Regional traders are awaiting the release of fresh US data, including on economic growth, before an expected Federal Reserve interest rate rise next month.
A series of figures from Washington in recent months has led the bank's policymakers to support a small increase in borrowing costs for the first time in almost a decade, sending the dollar rallying against its major peers.
However, it was lower against most emerging-market units as dealers bet that any increase would be small and gradual.
The Malaysian ringgit jumped more than one percent thanks to a rise in the price of oil, a key export for the country, while the South Korean won pushed 0.4 percent higher. The Indonesian rupiah, Australian dollar and Taiwan dollar were each up about 0.2 percent.
In opening European trade London dropped 0.4 percent, Frankfurt slid 0.3 percent and Paris shed 0.5 percent.
Key figures around 0830 GMT
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 19,924.89 (close)
Sydney: DOWN 1.0 percent at 5,226.4 (close)
Shanghai - composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,616.11 (close)
Hong Kong: DOWN 0.6 percent at 22,587.63 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP to $1.0639 from $1.0636 in late New York trade
Dollar/yen: DOWN to 122.60 yen from 122.83 yen
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.17 percent at 17,792.68 (close)
New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.12 percent at 2,086.59 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.05 percent at 5,102.48 (close)