Asian markets slumped yesterday after disappointing US jobs data raised fresh fears about the world’s biggest economy and amid renewed concern about China’s slowing growth.
Investors are nervous ahead of the release of key Chinese economic indicators this week, with comments by Premier Wen Jiabao at the weekend adding to the concerns, which overshadowed positive news in the form of a sharp slowdown in inflation.
Hong Kong tumbled 1.88%, or 372.55 points, to end at 19,428.09, their largest percentage loss for more than a month, while Shanghai plunged 2.37%, or 52.77 points, to finish at 2,170.81.
Tokyo fell 1.37%, or 123.87 points, to end at 8,896.88, with a set of weak figures from its domestic economy adding to negative sentiment.
Seoul slipped 1.19%, or 22.07 points, to close at 1,836.13, and Sydney ended 0.95%, or 39.5 points, lower at 4,118.3.
Elsewhere, Taipei fell 0.80%, or 58.63 points, to 7,309.96; Wellington edged up 0.04%, or 1.49 points, to 3,480.19; Manila closed down 1.84%, or 98.94 points, at 5,263.74; Singapore closed down 1.66%, or 49.47 points, at 2,929.08 points; Jakarta closed 1.73%, or 70.15 points, lower at 3,985.05; Bangkok fell 1.09%, or 13.13 points, to 1,186.95; and Kuala Lumpur edged down 0.01%, or 0.24 points, to 1,620.31.
The drop in Sydney stocks “has predominantly been about our market following the leads of the US market and its disappointment in yet another sub-par jobs report”, said Cameron Peacock, an analyst at IG Markets.
In his comments at the weekend, Wen warned that “downward pressure is still relatively big” on the Chinese economy, although he also said that the economy was generally stable, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Combined with a surprise interest rate cut last week, the second in a month, the remarks heightened investor fears about China before the release of key data, including second quarter GDP, on Friday.
Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the consumer price index rose by 2.2% year-on-year last month, the lowest rate since the start of 2010.
While it gives the government a freer hand to act to boost growth, which slipped to an annual 8.1% in the first quarter, it did little to allay investor fears.
Meanwhile, official data released on Friday after Asian markets closed showed that the US economy added only 80,000 jobs in June, well below expectations, leaving the unemployment rate at 8.2%.
It was the latest disappointing economic report from the US and came shortly after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned that the fund would be cutting its global growth forecasts later this month.
from gulf times.