BANGKOK – Asian stock markets fell further Wednesday as oil prices recovered some of their record-setting losses amid anxiety about the coronavirus pandemic's mounting economic damage.
Benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia retreated while Shanghai was little-changed after Wall Street suffered its biggest decline in weeks.
Benchmark U.S. crude slipped but still was near this week's all-time low. Brent crude, the international standard, retreated further. The fall has rattled investors because it adds to evidence of the depth of a global economic downturn with factories idled and consumers ordered to stay home.
The plunge in oil prices “has stirred wider concerns of a sharp economic slowdown,” Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank said in a report.
Global oil demand is set to drop to levels last seen in the mid-1990s. Producers can’t slow their production fast enough. Storage tanks are running out of room.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 1.2% to 19,050.33 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.7% at 23,626.04. The Shanghai Composite Index was off 2 points at 2,824.91.
The Kospi in Seoul tumbled 1% to 1,861.04 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.7% to 5,185.10.
New Zealand's main index fell 1.4% and Singapore was down 1.3%.