Tokyo: Asian stocks slipped on Tuesday on growing investor concerns of slower economic growth in the United States and China, the main pillars of the world economy, and fading risk appetite sent the yen up against the dollar and the euro.
After data showing the US labour market shrank for the first time this year in June, slower Chinese manufacturing activity and euro zone austerity policies fuelled concerns over prospects for the global economy and sent European shares to their lowest close in nearly six weeks on Monday.
In early Asia trade, S&P 500 futures were down nearly 1%, after Wall Street was closed for a holiday. Some market players said comments from ex-IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff that China’s property market is beginning a “collapse” that would hit banks was contributing to the stronger yen.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there, the Chinese real estate issue is just one,” said Hiroaki Osakabe, a fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management. “The yen strengthened suddenly and exporters were sold. In addition, we’ve seen some pretty strong selling of Nikkei futures.”
Financial markets reflect a slide in risk taking as a result of perceptions of the global economy. The MSCI index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.5%, after earlier touching its lowest in a month, particularly weighed down by falls in shares of materials and information technology firms.
The euro slipped 0.3% to $1.2500 on the trading platform EBS, while the single currency fell 0.6% to ¥109.40, as caution set in.
Yen also gained ground helped by a report that China has expanded JGB buying. The Nikkei business daily said China has boosted its purchases of Japanese government bonds this year, snapping up a net ¥541 billion ($6 billion) of mostly short-term JGBs in January-April, double the record amount logged for all of 2005.
September 10-year JGB futures rose 0.14 point to 141.71. The buying has so far been mostly in short-term T-bills.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei fell more than 1% to hit its lowest in seven months, well below one support at a key retracement level. It faced pressure from sliding US stock futures and a stronger yen, hurting shares of Japanese exporters such as Canon Inc.
US crude prices extended losses to a four-week low near $71 as risk aversion related to the health of European banks sent the dollar higher and commodities down.