Asian stocks fall further amid oil market turmoil

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Oil tank train cars sit idle Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in East Chicago, Ind. The world is awash in oil, there's little demand for it and we're running out of places to put it. That in a nutshell explains this week's strange and unprecedented action in the market for crude oil futures contracts, where traders essentially offered to pay someone else to deal with the oil they were due to have delivered next month. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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%.