Share sell-off spreads to Asia with crude oil price at fresh five-year low

THE latest share sell-off has spread to Asia, with Japanese shares falling 1.7 per cent in early trade this morning, as the price of crude oil touched yet another five-year low.

Overnight, Wall Street stocks tanked, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average nose-diving 1.51 per cent or 268.05 points to close at 17,533.15. The technology-heavy Nasdaq fared even worse, falling 1.73 per cent.

One factor in the sell-off is the continuing slide in the price of crude oil, which is sitting around US$60 a barrel, on fears of a global glut.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index shed 1.7 per cent, as investors wondered how far the oil price will fall, and as the Japanese yen gained the most in 18 months, hurting Japanese exporters.