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Asia slumps ahead of OPEC meet
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(CNN) -- Asian stocks have closed sharply lower Thursday after crude oil prices pushed back above $40 a barrel ahead of a key OPEC meeting.

South Korea posted the biggest fall, plunging more than 4 percent. Taiwan, another economy heavily dependent on imported energy, dropped 3.5 percent.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average ended the day down 1.91 percent at 11,027.05, extending the previous day's 0.48 percent fall.

The broader Topix index lost 1.52 percent to 1119.56.

Markets in Hong Kong and Singapore were also well into the red heading towards the close.

Oil, which earlier had fallen about 5 percent to close below $40 on the New York market Wednesday, began climbing in after-hours trade.

NYMEX July crude rose to an intraday high of $40.67 a barrel on Asian electronic trading, before settling back at $40.51.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets in Beirut from 0900 GMT Thursday and is expected to agree to raise formal output limits. (Full story)

In Tokyo, embattled Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi Motors led the day's declines, tumbling 6.5 percent to close at 200 yen, near a record low, after admitting it had covered up defects in thousands of cars. (Full story)

Nissan fell 1 percent, but Honda rose 0.6 percent and Toyota closed 1 percent higher at 4030 yen.

Tech-related issues were also lower, with Tokyo Electron down 3.8 percent to 5850 yen and Advantest off 4 percent to 7000 yen ahead of earnings from U.S. tech bellwether Intel.

Consumer electronics leader Sony slipped 1.25 percent to 3940 yen and market heavyweight NTT DoCoMo lost 3.5 percent to 195,000 yen.

Toshiba, Fujitsu, Hitachi and NEC all closed well in the red.

Among the banks, UFJ rose 3 percent to 513,000 yen, recovering some of Wednesday's 7 percent plunge.

South Korea down

In Seoul, the Kospi closed 4.27 percent lower at 770.06. Among the big losers were Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom and Kookmin Bank, all of which fell more than 5 percent.

Hyundai Motor dropped 2.1 percent to 42,000 won.

In Taiwan, the Taiex lost 3.48 percent to finish at 5671.45. Tech-related shares bore the brunt of the decline, with the market's biggest stock, TSMC, down 4.5 percent to T$53.00.

Rival chip foundry UMC lost almost 6 percent to close at T$25.60.

Australia's S&P/ASX200 eased 0.27 percent to 3467.3 after hitting a two-year intraday high Wednesday. Media group News Corp. put on 0.85 percent to A$13.08.

New Zealand's Top 50 moved against the trend, up 0.6 percent to 2613.59. Air New Zealand jumped 2.5 percent to NZ$0.41 after announcing a major fleet upgrade.

Singapore's Straits Times index is down about 1.36 percent to 1767.64.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index is off 1.68 percent to 11,997.24 near the close.

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