Asian stocks fall as China slowdown bites

Asian stocks fall as China slowdown bites

Asian stock markets fell today, dragged down by reports of a manufacturing slowdown in China and a deepening economic malaise in Europe.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 1% to 10,027.72 as the country’s formidable export sector faded amid fears of slowing overseas demand.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.9% to 20,712.70 and South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.3% to 2,019.79.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.2% to 4,264.50 as the country’s mining and resource shares took a pounding over worries of reduced demand from China, the world’s biggest consumer of raw materials.

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, lost 1.3% in Sydney. Steel makers also took a hit. South Korea’s Posco lost 0.9% while Japan’s JFE Holdings dropped 2.2%.

Yesterday, data showed China’s manufacturing is contracting. An index compiled by HSBC fell to 48.1 in March from 49.6 in February. Figures below 50 indicate that manufacturing is shrinking.

That is a negative sign because growth in China has played a key role in shoring up the global economy since the financial crisis of 2008.

And in another sign of cooling growth in the world’s second largest economy, new home prices dropped in 45 Chinese cities in February as the government implemented measures to cool property speculation.

Worries about China’s deceleration were compounded by a survey showing slower growth in Europe.

An index of economic activity from financial information company Markit fell to 48.8 in March from 49.3 a month earlier. The index combines both the services and manufacturing.

Japanese exporters whose fortunes are closely linked with European demand came under pressure. Honda lost 2.3% and Mazda shed 2.1%. Sharp slid 2.9% and Sony lost 2.6%.

More in this Section

Huawei in US short reprieveHuawei in US short reprieve

No-deal Brexit tariffs could ‘massively reduce’ competitiveness, warn British farmersNo-deal Brexit tariffs could ‘massively reduce’ competitiveness, warn British farmers

UK brewer agrees £2.7bn sale to Hong Kong’s CKAUK brewer agrees £2.7bn sale to Hong Kong’s CKA

Abbey boss sees pay rise 15% despite profit collapseAbbey boss sees pay rise 15% despite profit collapse


Lifestyle

From Turkey to Vietnam, here’s where the chef and food writer has fallen in love with on her travellers.Sabrina Ghayour’s top 5 cities for foodies to visit

Dr Dympna Kavanagh, chief dental officer, Department of Health (University College Cork graduate)Working Life: Dr Dympna Kavanagh, chief dental officer, Department of Health

Like most Irish kids of our generation, chillies, spicy food, heat were never really big aspects of our formative eating experiences.Currabinny Cooks: Getting spicy in the kitchen

New Yorker Jessica Bonenfant Coogan has noticed a curious discrepancy between east and west when it comes to Cork county; arts infrastructure has tended to be better resourced in the west of Ireland’s largest county.Making an artistic mark in East Cork

More From The Irish Examiner