World Economy

Chinese, Japanese Stocks Fall Again

Chinese, Japanese Stocks Fall AgainChinese, Japanese Stocks Fall Again

Following Tuesday’s falls on world stock markets, markets in China and Japan again fell Wednesday, as weak manufacturing figures from both China and the US continued to depress investor sentiment. In a volatile day’s trading, several other Asian markets also fell–though Australia and South Korea bucked the trend.

In China the main Shanghai Composite Index fell more than 4% on opening. It later recovered into positive territory, led by banking stocks, but fell back to close 0.2% down at 3,160. The secondary Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 2%, while the Nasdaq-like ChiNext index for high-tech shares closed 1.8% lower, adding to its fall of more than 5% Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The continuing drop in Chinese share prices came in spite of reports that the government had persuaded some of the country’s biggest brokerages to contribute a further 100 billion yuan (about $15 billion) to a fund that will invest in blue-chip stocks in an attempt to stabilize the market.

Analysts said investors were still concerned about Tuesday’s manufacturing data, which saw the official Purchasing Managers’ Index, a measure of factory output, fall to 49.7–its lowest level in three years–and also about data from the US, which showed factory activity at its lowest point for two years.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index also fell, after rising earlier in the day on bargain hunting following a decline of almost 4% Tuesday. Concerns about both China’s growth and US interest rate hikes saw it close 0.4% lower at 18,095. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also fell again, ending the day down 1.2%.

The only major markets that saw stocks move into positive territory were Australia, where the ASX200 closed 0.1% higher; South Korea, where the Kospi Index finished fractionally higher; and Singapore, where the Straits Times Index was up 0.04% in mid-afternoon trading.