Oil prices tumble after OPEC refrains from cuts
Oil prices, oil-related shares and oil-linked currencies all tumbled in Asia on Friday, in the wake of OPEC's decision to refrain from cutting output despite a huge oversupply.
U.S. markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, leaving the spotlight on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' meeting in Vienna where Saudi Arabia blocked calls from poorer cartel members to cut production to stem a slide in global prices.
Crude prices had been under pressure ahead of the meeting, but the sharp dive afterward - the largest since 2011 - showed the decision was not fully priced in.
Brent crude settled at a four-year closing low of $72.82 a barrel. U.S. crude plunged 6.9 percent to $68.59.
"In the short term, given market scepticism that recent price levels are low enough to substantially slow U.S. output growth, we expect price levels to drop below $70/bbl for Brent and even lower for WTI (U.S. crude)," Barclays analysts said in a note.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.4 percent, on track for a weekly gain over 1 percent but a monthly loss of more than 1 percent.
Australian shares skidded 1.3 percent, with energy companies taking a hammering, led by Sundance Energy, Drillsearch, Santos Ltd falling 10-16 percent.
The Nikkei stock average bucked the regional downtrend and added 0.7 percent in early trading, on track for a slight weekly drop but a hefty monthly gain of over 5 percent.
A spate of Japanese data released earlier on Friday contained some positive economic news. Japan's industrial output unexpectedly rose 0.2 percent in October, marking a second straight month of gains. Core consumer prices rose 2.9 percent in October, in line with forecasts, while the jobless rate fell and the availability of jobs edged higher last month.
The dollar rose about 0.3 percent against the yen to 118.08 yen, while the euro drifted down about 0.1 percent to $1.2452.
But the greenback made dramatic moves against the currencies of oil-rich countries. The dollar rallied to 6.9501 Norwegian crowns, a high not seen in over five years, and was last at 6.9442.
The U.S. dollar spiked to a one-week high against its Canadian counterpart at C1.1355, before steadying at C$1.1339 in Asia.
The euro fell against the dollar on Thursday, after data showed German inflation sinking to its lowest since February 2010, reinforcing bets the European Central Bank will ease monetary policy more aggressively.
The European Commission will tell France, Italy and Belgium on Friday their 2015 budgets risk breaking EU rules, but it will defer decisions on any action until early March, when France could face a multi-billion euro fine and Italy and Belgium be put on a disciplinary program.
According to draft documents seen by Reuters, Spain, Portugal, Austria, and Malta are also at risk of busting budget limits.
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