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25 April 2024

Fall in wages, exports push Asian stocks down

By Agencies

Asian stocks tumbled yesterday with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average Index coupled with the US futures falling drastically.

Registering the deepest fall since January 15, Nikkei 225 fell 3.8 per cent and closed at 7,280.15. The fall in Japanese wages and South Korean exports fuelled concerns that the global recession is deepening further worse.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sank 3.7 per cent, in the steepest drop since December 12, while South Korea's Kospi slid 4.2 per cent. All markets open for trading, except Vietnam, declined yesterday.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan's largest bank, retreated 6.8 per cent as bond risk rose. Hynix Semiconductor, Asia's second-biggest maker of memory chips, slumped 5.8 per cent in Seoul after the country's exports dropped for a fourth month in February. BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, lost 3.1 per cent in Sydney as metal and oil prices slumped. Treasuries rose for the first time in a week.

"We don't know yet, how long this global recession will last," said Hisakazu Amano, head of fund management at Tokyo-based T&D Asset Management Co.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 3.4 per cent to 72.65 in Tokyo. The gauge has fallen 19 per cent in 2009, extending last year's record 43 per cent tumble, as recessions in the world's largest economies hurt earnings at companies from BHP to Toyota Motor Corp, the world's largest automaker.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 4.6 per cent after Moody's Investors Service lowered its ratings outlook for the nation's three biggest banks. Macquarie Group, Australia's number one investment bank, sank 7.1 per cent, as it said it had no outstanding capital commitments to its listed funds. HSBC Holdings was halted from trading in Hong Kong on speculation it may raise funds to bolster capital. Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 1.7 per cent.