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Oil slump drags down Asian markets

A worker on an Iraqi oil refinery

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Asian markets started the week down after meeting of oil producers to discuss output cuts ended with a deal.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell by 3.04% – or 511.90 points – to 16,336.13, while in South Korea the Kospi was down by 0.65% to 2,001.59.

In Australia the commodities-heavy benchmark S&P ASX 200 index traded down 0.52% at the open to 5,130.50.

Oil prices fell after a meeting of the world’s leading oil exporters in Qatar failed to secure an agreement.

The international oil benchmark Brent traded down by more than 5% to about $40.87 a barrel. US crude futures were lower by 5.5% at $38.16 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, appeared willing to only freeze output if all Opec members agreed, including Iran.

But Iran maintained it would continue the increase in oil production it has followed since economic sanctions were lifted earlier this year. Iran was not at the meeting in Qatar. The next Opec meeting is scheduled to take place in June.

“Given the strong correlation between the oil price and equities, Asian markets are not looking like they will have a good start to the week,” said Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne.

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Today’s the deadline for preliminary bids for Yahoo’s media assets, which include Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports and a range of digital magazines.

According to various media reports, potential suitors range from private equity firm TPG to the owner of the UK’s Daily Mail. Yahoo has set a deadline for 18 April for interested parties to submit their offers.

Yahoo has been under pressure from shareholders to turn itself around. The company’s shares have fallen by about 30% since the end of 2014.

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