By Ritvik Carvalho
LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks were set for their longest losing streak in more than six months on Wednesday as weaker commodities weighed, while the euro hit its highest levels in three weeks.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, fell 0.2 percent and was set for its fifth straight day of declines, its longest run in the red since March.
A slide in crude oil prices on worries over the outlook for demand and weaker metals prices weighed on mining and energy stocks across Asia and Europe, which took their cues from the previous day's stock declines in the United States.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 1 percent and at its lowest level since Sept. 13. The index is still up nearly 6 percent so far this year.
The UK's top share index, the FTSE 100, declined half a percent while Germany's export-oriented DAX fell 1 percent, weighed down by a stronger euro, which had risen nearly half a percent in European trading hours.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had earlier fallen 0.6 percent.
China's Shanghai index was down 0.55 percent, Australian stocks dropped 0.6 percent and South Korea's KOSPI shed 0.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei lost 1.5 percent.
"It was nearly a week ago when we had that sharp and unexpected selloff in the Nikkei and given that we've lost over a percent in Japan yet again overnight, it appears this negative move has yet again spread to this part of the world," said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets in London.
"I think it's a combination of people just viewing it (last week's selloff) as a wake up call that even though the political and economic outlook haven't changed a whole lot, equity markets just don't go up forever."
Lifted by steady economic growth, supportive monetary policies and solid corporate earnings, global equities have rallied hard, with those in the United States, Germany and South Korea scaling record heights recently, while Japan's Nikkei climbed to a 26-year peak.
Analysts also said the rising euro, which on Tuesday got a boost from strong German economic growth data, also put some pressure on euro zone stocks. The single currency hit its highest against the dollar since Oct. 20 on Wednesday.
With the euro zone's annual economic growth rate outstripping that of the United States in the third quarter, led by Germany, markets are increasingly optimistic about the regional outlook.
Pressured by the euro's surge, the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies lost about 0.3 percent to 93.578..
The greenback was over half a percent lower at 112.755 yen after pulling back from a high of 113.910 the previous day.
U.S. inflation data is due later in the day.
Crude oil prices stretched losses, weighed by forecasts for rising U.S. crude output and a gloomier outlook for global demand growth in a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). [O/R]
U.S. crude futures were down 1.2 percent at $55.05 per barrel and on track for their fourth day of losses. Brent lost 1.2 percent to $61.45 per barrel.
Shanghai nickel and zinc tumbled alongside steel, extending losses from the previous session, with the commodities still reeling after the previous day's indicators pointed to slowing industrial production growth in China. [MET/L]
Base metals slid sharply on Wednesday as data from China stoked fears of a slowdown in the world's top commodities consumer, with falls in oil and global stocks indicating broad-based risk aversion amongst investors.
Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,285.62 an ounce, taking gains this week to 0.7 percent.
(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Catherine Evans and Janet Lawrence)