Hong Kong: Asian stock markets fell across the board on Thursday largely on the back of declines in the US triggered by concerns over a strengthening dollar and falling oil prices.
The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, failed to buoy markets when it repeated its pledge to remain "patient" regarding the US`s first interest rate increase since 2006, signalling a June move remains in play.
Tokyo shares dropped 0.54 percent, Hong Kong fell 0.60 percent, and Shanghai lost 1.00 percent. Seoul declined 0.31 percent, but Sydney was largely flat.
Oil prices falling below $45 a barrel, close to their lowest level in six years, renewed concern of inflation slowing as well as declining global demand, have spooked investors who are already nervous about the impact of political uncertainty in Greece on the 19-member euro area.
As a result, all three benchmark US indices fell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 1.13 percent, the broad-based S&P 500 slumped 1.35 percent, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.93 percent.
"The risks surrounding international developments... are things like a global economic slowdown or lower inflation as represented by cheaper oil, and geopolitical risks triggered by the fall in oil prices," Mistushige Akino of Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. told Bloomberg News.
Oil prices edged higher in Asian trading but gains were capped amid fresh concern over the growing global supply glut as US crude reserves soared to a record high, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery rose five cents to $44.50, after suffering a sharp decline in New York, while Brent crude for March gained 11 cents to $48.58.
Samsung Electronics, the world`s largest smartphone maker, posted a 27 percent decline in net profit for the fourth quarter Thursday, days after arch rival Apple reported the biggest corporate profit in history.
The South Korean tech giant also announced it was raising its dividend, while the profit fall was cushioned by a boom in high-margin chip sales that helped offset the downturn in the key mobile sector.
Samsung shares were hardly changed, edging down 2,000 won, or 0.07 percent, to 1,376,000 in early trading in Seoul.
The dollar, meanwhile, was at $1.1288 against the euro from $1.1284 in US trading. It was also at 117.99 yen, from 117.53 yen.
The euro was worth 133.21 yen from 132.62 yen.
Gold fetched $1,279.95 an ounce, against $1,287.20 late Wednesday.