Thursday, 14 October 2004

Asian stocks hurt by falling metal prices

Asian stocks fell today as the overnight fall in metal prices rekindled fears of a China-led economic slowdown even as NYMEX crude oil went back to US$54 a barrel. Copper prices in particular had dropped 10 percent in London and New York.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 fell 161.70 or 1.4 percent to close at 11,034.29. Nippon Mining Holdings, Japan's largest copper smelter, plunged 7.5 percent to 541 yen while Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., a smelter of non-ferrous metals, fell 6.1 percent to 740 yen.

The Taiwan Weighted Index fell 2.2 percent to 5,831.07. The Korean, Hong Kong and Singapore markets all fell about one percent.

The fall in metal prices, however, have to be put in perspective. Copper prices had just hit 16-year highs on Monday. The pullback, while sharp, could be temporary, especially considering that oil prices remain high.

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