Asian markets lower on growing Iraq crisis sent oil prices to nine-month highs
HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly lower on Monday as a positive lead from Wall Street was trumped by fears over the growing crisis in Iraq that has sent oil prices to nine-month highs.
The uncertainty fuelled by the insurgency that has seized a swathe of Iraq sent traders into safer assets, with the yen ticking higher against the dollar and the euro while gold also rose.
Tokyo fell 0.65 percent, Hong Kong was 0.13 percent lower, Sydney slipped 0.27 percent and Seoul was 0.12 percent down. However, Shanghai was 0.14 percent higher following another batch of upbeat economic data last week.
Investors are nervously tracking events in Iraq as militants sweep though the country, taking over key cities and moving towards Baghdad as US-trained Iraqi government forces crumble.
US President Barack Obama raised the prospect of possible air strikes on the militia, saying his national security team “is looking at all the options” but while an aircraft carrier group has been deployed to the Gulf, he has ruled out any return of combat troops.