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03 March 2024

Asian stocks plummet amid worsening outlook

By Agencies

Asian shares fell to a three-month low and Japan's Nikkei index flirted with a 26-year low, as concerns grew about the global financial system, helping send safe havens such as the dollar higher.

The decline in Asian stocks also dragged the regional benchmark index to the lowest in more than five years. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.6 per cent to 75.03 in Tokyo, set for its lowest close since August 28, 2003.

The MSCI World Index declined for an 11th day. The slump has wiped at least $2.7 trillion (Dh10trn) off the value of global stocks even as the US, China and Australia passed stimulus policies to bolster their economies.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan is now down about 13 per cent for the year, and about 10 per cent above its post-financial crisis low of 194.03 hit in November 21, which had marked a five-year low.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 1.5 per cent to close at 7,268.56, after touching the lowest closing level since October 1982. South Korea's Kospi Index dropped 3.2 per cent. All markets fell except Pakistan.

Hong Kong stocks fell, led by shipping companies and oil producers, on heightened concern the global recession will worsen. The Hang Seng Index slid 376.58, or 2.9 per cent, to close at 12,798.52. The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index, which tracks so- called H-shares, slipped 3.3 per cent to 7,068.21.

Banking and financial shares led the declines across Asia. Shares in Japan's Nomura Holdings, the country's biggest brokerage, slumped 9.3 per cent to 420 yen, the lowest since October 7, 1982, after it announced a big share sale to shore up its balance sheet. Nikko Citigroup cut its share price estimate for Nomura by more than a third to 530 yen with a "hold" rating.

Orix slid 10 per cent to 1,854 yen. Takefuji Corp fell 7.9 per cent to 362 yen, extending its nine-day slump to 50 per cent.