Asia wilts after OPEC refrains from cuts
Oil prices seized the Asian spotlight on Friday, as related shares and currencies plunged in the wake of OPEC's decision to refrain from cutting output despite a supply glut.

With U.S. markets shut on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, investors focused on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' meeting in Vienna, where Saudi Arabia blocked calls from poorer cartel members to cut production to stem a slide in global prices.

Financial spreadbetters expect major European bourses to open modestly weaker, as investors await data for clues as to whether the European Central Bank might include sovereign bond purchases in its easing measures. The November euro area flash CPI report is slated for release, as well as German, French and Spanish retail sales readings.

"While falling oil prices are a boon for the hard pressed consumer who has seen their incomes squeezed in the last five years, they are anything but for central bankers who worry about the effects a continued slide will have on their cherished inflation targets," said Michael Hewson, chief strategist at CMC Markets in London.

"It certainly doesn't make ECB President Mario Draghi's job any easier as he looks to try and prevent a deflationary effect on prices in the euro area," Hewson said in a note.

Spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 to each open around 0.1 percent lower.

Brent crude stood at $71.30 a barrel, down 1.8 percent on the day, after settling at a four-year closing low on Thursday, and was poised to shed more than 15 percent for November. U.S. crude was last down 7.7 percent at $68.02.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slumped 0.5 percent, on track for a weekly gain of around 1 percent but a monthly loss of about 1.4 percent.

Australian shares dropped 1.6 percent as energy companies took a hammering, with the energy sub-index giving up 7.6 percent.

But Chinese stocks rallied, with the Shanghai Composite Index headed for its biggest monthly gain in nearly two years after last week's surprise interest rate cut from Beijing, in a month that also marked the launch of Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect scheme.

The Nikkei stock average also bucked the regional downtrend and added 1.23 percent, rising 0.6 percent for the week and 6.4 percent for the month.

Japanese data out earlier on Friday showed Japan's industrial output unexpectedly rose 0.2 percent in October, marking a second straight month of gains, the jobless rate fell and the availability of jobs edged higher.

But Japan's annual core consumer inflation slowed for a third straight month in October due to falling oil prices.

"Japan is amidst a perfect positive storm," said Stefan Worrall, director of equities cash sales at Credit Suisse.

"The oil price decline is stimulatory to world demand for Japanese exports, and offsets the impact of the weak yen on domestic energy costs."

Two-year Japanese government bonds traded at a negative yield for the first time in history on Friday, as the Bank of Japan's massive bond buying quest to vanquish deflation crushed short-term debt yields.

The dollar rose about 0.3 percent against the yen to 118.10 yen , while the euro drifted down about 0.1 percent to $1.2451 .

But the greenback made dramatic moves against the currencies of oil-rich countries. The dollar rallied to 6.9570 Norwegian crowns , a high not seen in over five years, and was last at 6.9469.

The U.S. dollar spiked to a one-week high against its Canadian counterpart at C$1.1355 , before steadying at C$1.1349 in Asia.

Spot gold extended losses into a third session on expectations that plunging oil prices could sap inflationary pressure and curb the metal's appeal as a hedge. Gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,185.96 an ounce, down about 1 percent for the week and ready to snap a three-week rally.

(Additional reporting by Thomas Wilson in Tokyo; Editing by Eric Meijer & Shri Navaratnam)