MELBOURNE May 12 Asian share markets fell on
Thursday after a second big sell-off in commodities in less than
a week sparked a retreat from riskier investments, including
stocks, although oil and silver managed to claw back some of
Oil prices tumbled over 4 percent on Wednesday after an
unexpected rise in gasoline stocks and concerns about slowing
demand triggered a rout across the commodities complex that
pushed the Reuters/Jeffries CRB index , a broad measure of
commodities performance, down 3 percent.
Silver fell 8 percent, dragging down gold. Copper crumbled
to its lowest level since December, and the euro fell to
a three-week low versus the dollar, hurt also by bubbling
concerns about a Greek debt restructure.
Oil prices partly recovered in early Asian trade, with U.S.
crude futures CLc1 up 1.3 percent at $99.47 and Brent crude up
1.2 percent at $113.88.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was trading down 0.8
percent by 0050 GMT, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200
slipped 1.3 percent to a six-week low, and South Korea's Kospi
was down 1.4 percent.
Miners such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto
led the decline in Australia, while Japan's biggest oil and gas
developer Inpex Corp fell 3.0 percent.
The abrupt fall in commodity prices after last week's
near-record slump knocked about 1 percent off U.S. stock
indices, and boosted the U.S. dollar on safe-haven buying.
The euro fell back to a six-week low against the yen and was
little changed in early Asian trade, holding around $1.4218, and
at 115.11 against the yen.
Speculation over whether Greece will receive more bailout
funding kept risk appetite volatile as investors continued to
price in a high probability that the country will eventually
need to restructure its debt.
Gold partly retraced its losses in Asia, adding 0.3
percent to $1,504.65 an ounce, while volatile spot silver
jumped 2.3 percent after sinking nearly 9 percent in the
U.S. corn futures extended Wednesday's 4 percent plunge on
the expectation of higher near-term stocks.
* For Reuters Global Investing Bldg, click on
* For the Macro Scope Bldg, click on
* For Hedge Fund Bldg, click on
(Reporting by Richard Pullin; Editing by Andrew Marshall)