Asian stocks opened lower, following U.S. markets, as oil fell below $40 a barrel, dragging energy and mining shares down. Oil prices fell because of speculation that OPEC won't agree to cut production to boost prices when it meets in Geneva starting Friday.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.2 percent, Korea's KOSPI index fell 0.7 percent, Australia's ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent and New Zealand's NZ 50 dropped down to 0.3 percent.
Australian mining company BHP Billiton, which also has oil reserves, fell 1.6 percent.
"There’s been an avalanche of bad news for crude oil," said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA in New York, as Bloomberg reported. "The Saudis are cutting prices to the U.S. and Asia, U.S. inventories continue to rise and the dollar is getting stronger."
“The decline in commodity prices is reflecting the downturn in global economic conditions, with emerging countries at the center of that,” said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.1 percent, the S&P 500 1 percent and the Nasdaq Compsite Index 0.6, dragged by oil and energy stocks as well as a shooting in California that left at least 14 dead.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she was looking forward to rising interest rates for the first time in nine years to confirm that the economy has recovered from the global financial crisis, cementing bets the Fed will do so at its Dec. 15-16 meeting.