Asian Shares Extend Losses amid Libya Chaos

Manila Bulletin, February 23, 2011 | Go to article overview

Asian Shares Extend Losses amid Libya Chaos


BANGKOK (AP) - Asian shares extended losses Wednesday as the unrest in Libya pushed oil prices higher and sent Wall Street sharply lower.Oil prices rose to fresh two-year highs near $96 a barrel in Asia amid trader concern a violent power struggle in Libya could disrupt crude supplies. In currencies, the dollar fell against the yen and the euro.Sentiment in the region remained fragile after a defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed in a televised speech Tuesday to fight to his "last drop of blood" and roared at supporters to strike back against Libyan protesters to defend his embattled North African regime.Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average shed 0.8 percent to 10,574.62. A stronger yen hurt exporters, with Nissan Motor Co. losing 2.3 percent, Toyota Motor Corp. down 1.3 percent and Canon Inc. dropping 1.3 percent.South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.4 percent to 1,962.02, dragged down by high-tech giants. Samsung Electronics Co. lost 0.6 percent, Hynix Semiconductor slumped 3.8 percent and LG Electronics Inc. was down 1.3 percent.Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.4 percent to 22,906.91, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.3 percent to 4,842.60. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore also retreated.New Zealand's main stock index rose 0.4 percent to 3,372.07 a day after a powerful earthquake devastated the city of Christchurch. Prime Minister John Key declared a state of national emergency and said at a news conference that 75 people were confirmed to have been killed, with 55 of them identified.Benchmarks in Shanghai and Bangkok also rose.Political turmoil in the Arab world, rising oil prices and increasing costs of food combined to send traders out of equities in search of safer investments.Strategists at Nomura International Ltd. in Hong Kong said that the unpredictability of events and the potential for the unrest to spread "mean that equity markets settling back into equilibrium is still some way off. …

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