Bangkok: Asian markets tumbled Thursday as investors dumped riskier assets like stocks amid growing evidence the world economic recovery is stumbling.
The third day of losses in Asia came after steep falls on Wall Street and in Europe that were triggered by troubling economic news.
The US trade deficit widened in June to its highest level in 20 months as exports fell, a sign of a slowdown in manufacturing and sputtering recovery in the world’s No. 1 economy.
Indicators from China, a key driver of growth within Asia, have also been discouraging. Growth in imports, factory production, retail sales and new investment have all slowed, suggesting China’s rapid rebound from the global recession is cooling.
The bad news from the US and Asia combined with a moribund European economy has contributed to fears that the world economy will slip into recession again.
“The global economy is uncertain but it is not to the extent that a recession as deep as the one in 2008 will return,” said Lim Ji-won, economist at JP Morgan in Seoul.
In Japan, a strong yen that is adding to the challenges faced by the country’s exporters continued to weigh on stocks. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was off 80.26 points, or 0.9%, at 9,212.59.
South Korea’s Kospi dived 2.1% to 1,721.75, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.2% to 4,404.10 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 1.4% to 20,987.10.
The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.7% to 2,589.70. Taiwan, India, Singapore, and Indonesia were among other losing markets.
The Dow Jones industrial average on Wednesday fell 2.5% to 10,378.83, its largest slide since 29 June. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index tumbled 2.8%, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 3%. All the major US indexes are now showing losses for the year.
In currencies, the dollar regained some ground against the yen, rising to 85.31 from 85.16 in New York late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.2895 from $1.2850.
Benchmark crude for September deliver was down 39 cents at $77.63 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slid $2.23 to settle at $78.02 on Wednesday.