BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks slid on Wednesday as Egypt's unfolding political crisis pushed the price of oil to its highest level in more than a year, adding to an uncertain global economic outlook.
Benchmark crude for August delivery was up $2.22 to $101.82 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since early May last year.
Japan's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.4 percent to 14,046.74 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.6 percent to 20,336.35. Seoul's Kospi was down 1.4 percent to 1829.33. In China, the Shanghai Composite lost 1.2 percent to 1,982.27. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell by 1.8 percent to 4,746.10.
The sell-off came as embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi vowed not to resign despite the demands of millions of protesters and a threat by military to suspend the constitution, disband parliament and install a new leadership. The crisis pushed the price of oil near $102 a barrel for the first time since May last year.
Egypt is not an oil producer but its control of the Suez canal — one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, which links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea — gives it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.
"Crude oil prices rallied up, and now some airline shares are down quite significantly," said Dickie Wong, executive director of research at Kingston Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.