Asian stock markets largely recovered in late trade, with trading volatile in the wake of the ECB’s latest stimulus measures.
On March 10, markets had initially cheered the European Central Bank’s move to cut rates and expand its quantitative easing plan.
However, hints later that the ECB might not cut rates further saw European and US markets go into reverse.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 1% at first, but then recovered to end the day up 0.5% at 16,938.87.
In China, investors were looking ahead to some fresh economic data expected out of Beijing on March 12.
Analysts said retail sales may show some improvement over the combined January and February period, but that they were expecting industrial production and fixed-asset investment numbers to support the outlook for a continued overall economic slowdown in China.
March 12 numbers will combine January and February activity on the mainland in order to avoid any irregularities that could appear due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed up 1.1% at 20,199.60, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2% to 2,810.31.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 fell at first, but then recovered to close up 0.3% at 5,166.39.
South Korea’s Kospi index ended the day 0.1% higher at 1,971.41.
China stock market resumed its downward trend as the yuan weakened further.
The Shanghai Composite index shed 2.7% to 2,687.9 points, dashing hopes that February 26 brief recovery could be sustained.
The index was down as much as 4.4% in the morning, hitting a 15-month low.
The losses came despite the G20 meeting in Shanghai over the weekend pledging to work towards boosting growth both in China and globally.
The yuan edged lower against the dollar as the central bank set a softer midpoint of 6.5452 per dollar – the lowest in almost one month.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also lost ground, but fared better than the mainland, closing down 1.3% at 19,111.9 points.
Japanese shares also failed to extend their gains from February 26, trading flat as the government released mixed economic data.
The latest figures showed industrial output rose by 3.7% in January, the first increase in three months.
However, retail sales disappointed, falling by 0.1% in January, compared to forecasts for a 0.5% rise.
The Nikkei 225 index closed 1% lower at 16,026.7 points.
Gaming giant Nintendo’s shares finished the day 0.5% down after dropping sharply by 5% at one point in early trade.
The drop came after February 26 announcement that its full-year profit would be half of its original forecast.
Due to a stronger yen and disappointing sales of its handheld gaming consoles and software, the company slashed its full-year profit outlook to 17 billion yen, down from the previously expected 35 billion yen.
In Sydney, the ASX 200 closed flat at 4,880.9 points.
In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index also finished the day flat at 1,916.6 points.
Samsung shares rose by 1.3% following February 26 decision by a US appeals court to overturn a verdict against the company in a longstanding patent dispute with Apple.
China stock market extended losses in a volatile session, following January 4 suspension of trading which led to a global equities sell-off.
The Shanghai Composite fell 0.3% to close at 3,287.71 points, although it had opened more than 3% lower.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also fluctuated through the day, and ended 0.7% lower at 21,188.72.
Trading in Shanghai was suspended on January 4 under a new rule designed to limit dramatic falls in markets.
However, regulators said on January 5 they may restrict stock sales to stem falls.
Photo AFP/Getty Images
The China Securities Regulatory Commission said it would consider restricting the proportion of shares that major shareholders could sell during a given period of time.
The Chinese central bank also injected an unexpected 130 billion yuan ($19.94 billion) into the market to keep borrowing costs down – in a move to reassure retail investors.
The measures, however, did little to prevent Chinese shares from falling in afternoon trade.
Analysts said investors were waiting to see if Beijing could stem the latest selling in Chinese stocks and whether more measures would be introduced.
The new “circuit breaker” rule that suspended trading nationwide for the first time on January 4 was created after sharp falls last summer and was meant to curb market volatility in China.
Yesterday’s 7% fall in China spooked global markets.
Overnight, US benchmark indexes lost up to 2% as concerns grew that the dive in the Chinese stocks was the start of another volatile period after last summer’s dramatic market rout.
Escalating tensions in the Middle East, which affected oil prices, also dented investors’ confidence.
Oil prices were flat after rising as much as 4% on Monday following the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index ended 0.4% lower at 18,374.00, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed down 1.6% at 5,184.43.
Only South Korean shares bucked the downward trend after a senior finance ministry official said the government would take action to stabilize the market if needed, following January 4 steep plunge. The Kospi finished up 0.6% at 1,930.53.
The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ indexes have opened more than 2% down as Wall Street has continued the rout on global share markets on January 4.
It followed sharp falls in China, where trading on the main stock markets was halted early after indexes tumbled 7%.
A survey indicating China’s manufacturing sector contracted again last month was blamed for the falls.
Other Asian markets also fell, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 closed down 2.6% and Germany’s Dax index dropped 4.3%.
Meanwhile, news that Saudi Arabia had severed diplomatic ties with Iran sent oil and gold prices higher.
On Wall Street, all 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the 2.4% fall in the technology sector. Bank stocks were also hard hit, with Goldman Sachs down 3.2%.
On January 4, trading on China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges was halted for the first time under new “circuit breaker” rules, which are designed to curb market volatility.
The share price falls came after more signs of trouble in the world’s second-largest economy.
The Caixin/Markit purchasing managers’ index slipped to 48.2 in December, marking the 10th consecutive month of shrinking factory activity in the sector. A reading below 50 indicated contraction.
Some analysts also attributed the decline in share prices to the imminent end of a six-month lockup period on share sales by major institutional investors, a policy implemented to shore up indexes. Big shareholders may start dumping shares once the ban is lifted on January 8.
The January 4 sell-off in China had a knock-on across the region. Japan’s Nikkei 225 tumbled 3.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 2.6%.
Markets were also rattled by growing tensions between Middle East powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iran over the execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
The execution in Saudi Arabia led to protests in Tehran. Saudi has cut diplomatic ties with Iran and given diplomats 48 hours to leave.
The price of Brent crude jumped more than 3% at the start of the day on the back of heightened tensions, but then fell back sharply after US stock markets opened. In late afternoon trading, Brent was down 1% at $36.96 a barrel, while US crude was down 1.4% at $36.52.
Analysts said the underlying trend of oversupply would continue to weigh on prices over the longer term.
Oil prices are down by two-thirds since mid-2014, with analysts estimating that producers are pumping between 0.5 million and two million barrels of oil every day in excess of demand.
Worries about the impact of Middle East tensions were underlined in the gold price, which rose more than 1% on January 4 to $1,070.20 an ounce.
Gold is frequently seen as an alternative investment during times of geopolitical and financial uncertainties. The gold price lost 10% in 2015.
Another traditional haven is the Swiss franc, which gained about 0.8% against both the dollar and the euro in January 4 trading.
China stock market closed down by more than 5% after several major brokerage companies announced they were under investigation.
The Shanghai Composite index ended the day 5.5% lower at 3,436.3 points – marking its biggest drop since August.
On November 26, it was announced that China’s securities regulator was investigating the country’s largest brokerage, CITIC Securities.
CITIC Securities is being probed over the possible breaking of market rules.
Rival brokerage Guosen Securities is also being investigated, and shares in both CITIC and Guosen fell by 10%, the maximum allowed in one day.
In addition, trading in China Haitong Securities shares was halted and later in the day the company also confirmed it was under investigation.
Chen Xingyu, an analyst at Phillip Securities, told the AFP news agency: “The biggest reason for such a sudden drop today is because of regulator’s investigation of the top brokers. It has triggered a broader sell-off.”
Analysts said there was little information on the specific reasons for the probes other than violations of securities regulations.
Reuters reported that the Chinese regulator was urging brokerages to stop financing investors’ stock purchases through swaps in an attempt to curb leveraged trading.
A crackdown on leveraged and margin trading has been underway since the Chinese market’s dramatic plunge over the summer.
Market sentiment was already wavering ahead of a new batch of initial public offerings set to make their debut next week.
More negative economic data on the Chinese economy also did little to boost investors’ confidence, with government figures showing that industrial profits in October fell 4.6% from a year ago.
The fifth consecutive decline in profits earned by Chinese industrial companies added more fuel to concerns over a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
Asian markets traded lower on Wednesday, October 14, as investors digested disappointing economic data from China.
Chinese inflation figures came in weaker than expected, and came a day after trade figures showed a steep fall in imports.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index closed down 1.8% at 17,907.39.
China’s main index Shanghai Composite edged up 0.2% to 3,299.51, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index was down 0.61% at 22,460.16.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.56% to 5,173.80, while South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index dropped 0.55% to 2,007.72.
The latest official data from China – the world’s second largest economy – showed consumer inflation slowed to 1.6% in September from 2% in August. Wholesale inflation was 5.9%, unchanged from the month before.
The wholesale numbers were in line with expectations, but consumer inflation was expected to rise 1.8%. China’s target for consumer inflation is about 3%.
Economic data released on October 13 showed that imports in September fell by a more-than-expected 17.7% in yuan-denominated terms, while exports fell 1.1% from a year earlier.
As it continues to face a slowdown in economic growth, China is trying to move away from an export-led economy towards one led by consumer demand.
The sharp fall in imports posted on October 13 raised concerns around the world that domestic demand in China is weakening.
China’s imports fell a more-than-expected 17.7% in yuan-denominated terms in September 2015, while exports fell 1.1% from a year earlier, official figures show.
The new figures leave China with a trade surplus of 376.2 billion yuan ($59.4 billion).
The steep fall in imports compares with a fall of 14.3% in August and continues to reflect lower commodity prices globally.
China recently revised down its 2014 economic growth from 7.4% to 7.3%.
The revision marks its weakest growth for almost 25 years. After decades of double-digit growth, the government is expecting to see growth of about 7% in 2015.
China is attempting to shift from an export-led economy to a consumer-led one.
Exports in September held up better than expected, after some had forecast a fall of as much as 7%.
However, the significant fall in imports means domestic demand is not as strong as the government would have hoped.
China’s official trade numbers in US dollar denominated terms were reported shortly after the yuan-denominated numbers.
They showed exports fell a less-than-expected 3.7% in September, while imports slumped 20.4% from a year earlier. The numbers leave the country with a surplus of $60.34 billion for the month – which the government said was higher than expected.
Currency conversion factors based on US dollar and Chinese yuan movements over the last year mean some official numbers from the mainland are now reported in both currencies.
China’s CITIC Securities stocks fell as much as 4% after the state-owned brokerage said three executives, including its president, were under police investigation.
The executives of China’s largest brokerage are being investigated for suspected insider trading and “leaking inside” information.
The investigation comes as Beijing intensifies the scrutiny on irregular stock trading that has rocked Chinese shares.
Mainland Chinese shares have lost about 40% of their value since mid-June.
Those being investigated are Cheng Boming, the general manager and president of CITIC since 2012, Wang Jinling, the vice manager of information technology, and Yu Xinli, the head of operational management, the company said in a statement on the Shanghai stock exchange website.
In August 2015, four other senior executives admitted to insider trading, according to state media.
CITIC’s Shanghai and Hong Kong listed shares were down over 2% on the news on September 16. Its Shanghai listed shares have lost over 60% of their value so far this year.
Chinese regulators have been cracking down on alleged market manipulation intensely among other restrictive measures since mainland shares started their steep slide downwards in June.
China’s stocks fell on September 14 after economic data released on the previous day underlined fears growth is slackening.
Growth in both fixed-asset investment, up 10.9% in August from a year ago, and factory output, at 6.1%, came in below expectations.
The Shanghai Composite index closed down 2.67% at 3,114.80, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat, up just 0.16% at 21,538.97.
The Shanghai index has lost nearly 40% since its peak in mid-June.
Shares of four of China’s largest brokerages tumbled as much as 7% following news of fines and penalties from the securities regulator for failing to conduct proper checks on clients.
The four were fined 178.5 million yuan ($28 million) and had 62.4 million yuan of profits confiscated, according to the securities filings by the companies.
Regulators have been cracking down on trading firms to stem the volatility that has rocked the markets for the past few months.
Photo Getty Images
The rest of Asian shares traded mixed, despite Friday’s positive finish on Wall Street, with investors cautious in advance of the Federal Reserve meeting this week.
All eyes are on the US policy meeting, which ends with a decision on September 17 on whether to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.
Economists are split on whether the long-awaited move will happen.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index finished down 1.6% to 17,965.70 points.
Japanese investors are also looking ahead to the conclusion of the Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, where they are expected to maintain their easing program.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.6% to 5,102.30.
Shares in Oil Search reversed earlier losses to close up 0.2% after it rejected an $8 billion takeover proposal from Australia’s biggest energy company Woodside Petroleum, saying the offer was too cheap.
South Korea’s benchmark Kospi ended down 0.5% to 1,931.46.
Asian stock markets were mostly lower on September 10 as economic data from Japan and China made investors cautious.
After surging almost 8% on September 9, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed down 2.5% at 18,299.62, among Asia’s big losers.
Worries about a slowdown China and the impact of a US interest rate hike also dented investors’ confidence.
Analysts said losses were to be expected considering Wednesday’s significant gains – particularly in Japan.
Core machinery orders in Japan, which are a key indicator of capital expenditure, fell by 3.6% in July compared with June.
The renewed decline suggested that business investment may fall yet again this quarter, economists said.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed down 2.4% at 5,098.40, following Wall Street lower and after two sessions of gains.
The Australian dollar fell together with the New Zealand dollar on Thursday after New Zealand’s central bank cut interest rates to 2.75% and said it may introduce further easing measures to boost its flagging economy.
In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite ended down 1.4% to 3,197.89, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.6% to 21,562.5 points.
Official figures released on September 10 showed China’s consumer price index (CPI) unexpectedly rose to 2% in August from a year ago marking a one-year high.
The rise was due to higher food prices. Pork prices, which weigh heavily on consumer prices in China, rose from 16.7% last year to 19.6% in August.
China’s producer price index (PPI) fell 5.9% – marking its 42nd consecutive month of declines – and the biggest drop since 2009.
The one bright spot in Asia was South Korea’s Kospi which closed up 0.7% to 1,947.30 points.
Japan’s stock market closes up almost 8% on September 9 in its biggest one-day jump since late 2008.
Nikkei 225 index closed up 7.71% at 18,770.51 points.
On September 8, the benchmark index saw all the gains it had made this year wiped out.
Remarks by newly re-elected PM Shinzo Abe suggesting company tax cuts were on the way helped the mood.
Also positive were September 8 rebound for US shares and an improving Chinese share market.
Investor sentiment was up across the rest of Asia.
Tuesday’s weak economic data from China has also raised hopes of more stimulus for that economy and its markets.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index finished up 4.1% at 22,131.31 – marking its biggest one-day percentage gain in almost four years.
China’s government said on September 9 that it would strengthen fiscal policy, boost infrastructure spending and speed up reform of its tax system to support the economy.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite closed up 2.3% at 3,243.09 – moving into positive territory for the year.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed up 2.07% at 5,221.10, taking its lead from US markets.
Analysts said resource and commodity shares, together with some of the big bank stocks, had buoyed the Australian index.
Numbers out on September 9 showed consumer confidence slid in September which led to revived hopes of another rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
South Korea’s Kospi benchmark index also closed up 2.96% at 1,934.20 points. Official data released on September 9 showed the country’s latest unemployment figures for August sitting at their lowest since January this year.
According to latest trade figures, China’s August imports fell 14.3% in yuan-denominated terms from a year ago, while exports fell by 6.1%.
The steep fall in the value of imports reflects lower commodity prices globally, particularly crude oil.
The numbers mean China’s monthly trade surplus expanded by close to 40% from the month earlier to 368 billion yuan ($57.8 billion).
China recently revised down its 2014 economic growth from 7.4% to 7.3%, its weakest for almost 25 years.
In US dollar denominated terms, exports for the month of August fell 5.5% from a year earlier – slightly less than expected – while imports fell by 13.8%, leaving China with a surplus of $60.24 billion.
Currency conversion factors based on US dollar and Chinese yuan movements over the last year mean some official numbers from the mainland are now reported in both currencies.
A fall in both import and export figures had been expected as China’s economy slows, though analysts said the drop in imports was greater than forecast.
The Chinese markets were volatile for much of September 7 as mainland stock exchanges reopened following a four-day weekend.
The Shanghai Composite traded erratically, but closed down by 2.5% to 3,080.42 points.
The market volatility in China came as the country’s National Bureau of Statistics revised its annual economic growth rate for 2014 to 7.3%, down from 7.4%.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index closed down 1.2% to 20,583.52.
Mainland shares have fallen 40% since mid-June when the sell-off began, while Chinese regulators continue to take more steps to stabilize erratic trading.
China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiochuan, told financial leaders at the G20 summit over the weekend that the markets had almost completed their correction after a steep rise in the first half of the year.
Photo Getty Images
“The stock market adjustment is already roughly in place and financial markets can be expected to be more stable,” Zhou Xiochuan said in a statement from Turkey.
Other Asian markets were mixed on September 7 despite stocks in the US, which headed lower on before weekend after US jobs figures were released.
Friday’s much-anticipated jobs figures showed unemployment fell to 5.1% last month, the lowest since April 2008.
The jobs report is the last before the Federal Reserve meets later this month to decide whether to increase interest rates.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei opened lower on September 7, down 0.65%, but finished the day closing up 0.38% at 17,860.47.
In Australia the S&P/ASX 200 closed down 0.2% at 5,030.40, while South Korea’s Kospi benchmark index closed down 0.15% at 1,883.22 points, after closing down 1.5% on September 4.
According to fresh economic data, the Chinese factory activity contracted at its fastest pace in three years in August, confirming the slowdown in the country’s economy.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 49.7 from 50 in July.
A figure below 50 indicates contraction.
The weak data is likely to add to global concerns over China’s economy losing steam and could send Asian and global shares down further.
A separate private Caixin/Markit index also released on Tuesday puts the PMI number even weaker, at 47.3, the weakest reading since 2009.
The fresh economic data is also likely to undermine efforts by Beijing to reassure investors and calm markets.
Chinese mainland stocks have been on a steep downward slope over the past months, shedding almost 40% since June.
Authorities have injected money into the markets, allowed the state pension fund to start buying up shares and lowered lending rates.
So far though, none of those measures have managed to push the markets back into positive territory and analysts have warned that the more Beijing’s intervention fails to have an impact, the more likely it is that future ones will be shrugged off by investors.
A total of 197 people have been arrested in China for spreading rumors online about the recent stock market crash and fatal explosions in Tianjin, according to state news agency Xinhua.
A journalist and stock market officials are among those arrested, Xinhua said. It gave no other details.
Chinese shares fell by nearly 8% after a week of volatile trading that spread fear to global markets.
The Tianjin explosions killed 150 people – with 23 still missing.
A total of 367 people remain in hospital after the August 12 blast at a Tianjin warehouse where large amounts of toxic chemicals were stored. Twenty are in critical condition, according to Xinhua.
Separately, the UK’s Financial Times says Chinese leaders feel they mishandled their stock market rescue efforts.
The publication, quoting an account of a meeting of senior regulatory officials on August 27, said the government had decided to abandon attempts to boost the stock market and instead step up efforts to punish people suspected of “destabilizing the market”.
Chinese authorities tightly control information online and have previously prosecuted internet users for spreading rumors.
The rumors described by the latest statement include reports that a man had jumped to his death in Beijing due to the stock market slump and that as many as 1,300 people were killed in Tianjin blasts, Xinhua said.
The news agency said “seditious rumors about China’s upcoming commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II” were also among the offences.
A journalist was also arrested along with several stock market officials, according to a Xinhua report. The journalist, Wang Xiaolu, is accused of “spreading fake information” about the market slump, the report said.
Xinhua said Wang Xiaolu confessed that he “wrote fake report on Chinese stock market based on hearsay and his own subjective guesses without conducting due verifications”.
In 2013 China introduced a possible three-year sentence for spreading rumors – the sentence was supposed to apply to anyone who posted a rumor that was reposted 500 times or viewed 5,000 times.