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Asian markets fall as oil slump resumes
January 26, 2016, 10:51 am

Markets in Asia have followed US markets lower as further falls in the price of oil have unsettled investors. Brent crude prices fell 6.3 percent to $30.15 a barrel, ending a short-lived rebound as persistent concerns of oversupply were exacerbated by news that Iraq's output reached a record high last month.

Wall Street also fell, wiping out most of its gains from the past two days. Asia's biggest index, Japan's Nikkei 225 followed the US, dropping 2.4 percent to close at 16,708.90 points.

The ongoing slump in the oil price has investors worried that slowing growth in the global economy, and China in particular, is far from any substantial recovery. Chinese markets also fell in line with global losses, doing little to reassure investors. The benchmark mainland index, the Shanghai Composite, fell by 3.7 percent to 2,831.20 points, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.9 percent to 18,963.98 in afternoon trade.

Korean stocks also fell, with the Kospi index closing 1.2 percent lower at 1,871.42 points. Investor sentiment in Seoul was also dampened by data showing the country's economy grew at a slightly lower rate in the last quarter of 2015 from the previous three months.

Fourth-quarter growth rose 0.6 percent in seasonally-adjusted terms from the third quarter, slowing from its 1.3 percent expansion in the previous quarter.
In Australia, markets remained closed for a national holiday.

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