Asian shares lower on oil price slump

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Asian shares fell again on Thursday as plunging oil prices continued to fuel global growth fears.

Crude oil prices fell as much as 5% overnight on weak US demand and Saudi Arabia reaffirming that it has no plans to curb output.

Added to that, a key gauge of Japan's capital spending fell for the first time in five months in October.

Core machinery orders fell 6.4% month on month, well below forecasts of a 2.4% decline.

That led the benchmark Nikkei 225 to end down 0.9% to 17,257.40, pulling the index further away from the seven-and-a-half year highs hit at the beginning of this week.

The dollar was down to 118.165 yen, continuing its retreat from a seven-year high of 121.86 hit on Monday.

Rest of Asia

China shares traded lower following Wall Street's sharp losses overnight, with the S&P 500 falling to its lowest since early November.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 1% to 23,284.42, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.7% at 2,920.28.

Australian shares were lower on a mixed jobs report after data showed that the economy added more jobs than expected.

But, the unemployment rate still hit a decade high of 6.3% - the highest since 2002.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.5% lower at 5,231 points - marking its third consecutive decline.

In South Korea, shares were down after the country's central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a second consecutive month, in line with expectations.

The Kospi index ended down 1.5% at 1,916.59 points.

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