Asian shares down amid new fall in oil prices

<p>Asian stocks dropped after US markets tumbled on oil prices.</p>

Asian stocks dropped today (December 15th) after US markets tumbled amid concerns over plunging oil prices. The West Texas Intermediate crude continued its slump today, down 1.9 per cent to $56.69 (£36.19) a barrel.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democrats won an election on Sunday and now have up to four more years to pursue economic and political reforms. But investors were still worried about the outlook for the world's third economy.

"While the (Japan election) result was largely expected, I still feel there is room for buying dips in USD/JPY and the Nikkei given prime minister Abe is only likely to ramp up his strategy," market strategist Stan Shamu at IG in Melbourne told AP. 

"The fact that many continue to doubt whether Mr Abe is capable of delivering a successful economic strategy goes a long way toward contributing to the subdued price action. This only means Abe has to be even more aggressive to prevent failure."

Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 1.2 per cent at 17,159.15. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.1 per cent to 23,003.02 and Seoul's Kospi edged down 0.3 per cent to 1,915.91. 

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.4 per cent to 5,196.80 and the China's Shanghai Composite was down 0.8 per cent at 2,915.36.

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