Asian markets extended their rout and the dollar hit 15-month lows against the yen Thursday after Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen raised concerns about the global economy, essentially quashing the chances of another US rate hike any time soon. Hong Kong led a broad sell-off across the region, while an ongoing supply glut and production splurge saw oil prices sink below $27 a barrel. Dealers continued their flight to safe investments that has played out across trading floors from Asia to the Americas this week as they fret about a possible global recession.
Rio Tinto on Thursday posted an annual net loss of US$866 million in what the world's number two miner said was a "highly challenging environment" as commodity prices plunge and a growth slowdown in key market China bites deep. The dire result compared with a US$6.53 billion net profit in 2014 and comes as markets -- particularly commodities -- are hammered by a collapse in global demand, chiefly from China where economic growth is at a 25-year low. The company, which is heavily reliant on iron ore, said it was dumping its progressive dividend policy, in which shareholders are given gradually higher payouts.