Tokyo: Asian stock markets fell in early trading Monday, pressured by worries over a slowing global recovery as oil prices rose to their highest level in more than two years as the conflict in Libya escalated.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average lost 124.49 points, or 1.2%, to 10,569.17. Sentiment in Tokyo was downbeat on growing political uncertainty after Japan’s foreign minister resigned Sunday over illegal political donations, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s embattled administration.
South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.3% to 1,998.78, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7% to 4,922.50.
Investors were worried that soaring oil prices could stifle global economic growth by increasing transportation and production costs.
Crude oil gained $2.51 to settle at $104.42 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since September 2008, after fighting in Libya escalated.
Soaring oil prices spooked investors on Wall Street Friday with the Dow Jones industrial average losing 88.32 points, or 0.7%, to 12,169.88.
In currencies, the dollar rose to 82.36 yen in Tokyo Monday from 82.27 yen in New York late Friday. The euro edged up to $1.3990 from $1.3984.