Asian stocks fell as tumbling commodity prices dragged raw-materials shares lower, with BHP Billiton Ltd. on course to close at the lowest since 2008.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.1 percent to 134.16 as of 9:00 a.m. in Tokyo, as Japanese markets opened after a holiday. Material shares led losses among the regional measure’s 10 industry groups. The increased likelihood of a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase this year is sending the dollar higher, making industrial metals more expensive for buyers holding other currencies. Copper fell below $4,500 a metric ton for the first time in six years and nickel touched the lowest in more than a decade. U.S. crude rose back above $42 per barrel after Saudi Arabia pledged to help stabilize markets.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.4 percent. BHP Billiton fell 1.7 percent in Sydney, the biggest drag on the regional benchmark gauge. Rio Tinto Group lost 1.1 percent.