|War cries spark Asia sell-off
Asian markets fell sharply today, while oil prices gained and emerging-market currencies sank, as US-led military strikes on Syria appeared possible.
The losses extended falls Tuesday and followed drops on Wall Street and in Europe as investors ran for cover. Stocks and currencies in developing Asia came under renewed pressure.
Tokyo tumbled 1.51 percent, or 203.91 points, to 13,338.46 as the US dollar eased against the yen and Sydney shed 1.05 percent, or 54.0 points, to close at 5,087.2, AFP reports.
Seoul clawed back some early losses to end flat, edging down 1.32 points to 1,884.52.
Shanghai was off 0.11 percent, or 2.27 points, at 2,101.30 while Hong Kong slipped 1.60 percent, or 350.12 points, to 21,524.65.
Emerging markets in Asia also suffered.
Jakarta was down 2.28 percent, Kuala Lumpur was off 1.42 percent and Mumbai slipped 1.82 percent.
Manila ended down 3.02 percent, or 178.93 points, at 5,738.06 as traders grew jittery before the release of economic growth data Thursday. However, it managed to pare earlier losses when the market slipped almost 6 percent.
The possibility of more turmoil triggered increases in crude prices.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October, jumped US$1.25 to US$110.26 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade. The contract hit an intra-day high of US$112.23.
Brent North Sea crude for October was up US$1.59 at US$115.95 after spiking at US$117.22.
In forex trade, the US dollar sat at 97.44 yen in Asia today, up from 97.01 yen late in New York but well down from levels above 98.00 yen in Tokyo yesterday.
The euro bought US$1.3379 and 130.37 yen compared with US$1.3391 and 129.88 yen.
India's rupee continued to suffer, slumping almost 4 percent to 68.74 against the US dollar – another record low. The unit later picked up slightly to 68.45.
The Indonesian rupiah dived to 11,418 against the US dollar from 10,925 rupiah, while the greenback was at 44.79 Philippine pesos from 44.43 pesos.
Gold cost US$1,425.50 an ounce, near a three-month high, up from US$1,410.75 late Tuesday.