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Asian markets edge down as oil prices tumble

On Thursday, stocks in Asia mostly headed south as a surge in crude oil inventory as well as expanding production in Saudi Arabia brought crude prices lower.  

Australian S&P/ASX 200 slumped 1%, Singapore’s Straits Times Index dropped 0.6%, while Korean Kospi was deprived of 0.3%. As for Japan’s cash market, it was unavailable for a holiday Thursday.

Overnight, American crude oil prices sank 2.5% to $41.71 per barrel, after the Energy Information Administration reported inventories of crude surged, contrary to expectations of a dip. Crude oil was trading down a further 1% during early Asian trade on Thursday.

Separately, Saudi Arabia, the world’s number one crude producer, expanded its output to maintain market share. The move actually suggests a pragmatic effort to maintain export profits just to pay the bills and a solid determination to maintain market share.

Among commodities-linked shares in Australia, Rio Tinto Ltd. descended 0.8%, being worth A$49.57, while Fortescue Metals Group ticked down 1.1% at A$4.53.

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