News / Economy

Asian Stock Markets Recover Some from Heavy Early Losses

Asian equity markets plummeted again at the start of trading Tuesday, amplifying fears of an imminent repeat of the 2008 global financial crisis. Despite early declines that were seen as reactions to Monday’s Wall Street sell off, Asian stocks managed to recover some of their huge losses by the time the exchanges closed.

Analysts are saying the Asian sell-off defies market fundamentals. But their assessment has done little to stem what is described as panic selling, especially among the region’s individual investors.

South Korea’s key stock index plunged as much as 10 percent. The Korea Stock Exchange briefly suspended programmed trading to halt the free fall. At the close, the benchmark KOSPI was off more than 3.6 percent. Banking stocks were especially hard hit.

Trading was totally halted for a time on the small caps Kosdaq exchange when the index dropped below ten percent.

Lee Jong-woo, head of research at Solomon Investment and Securities, says foreign investors are selling their holdings in South Korea, while domestic pensions funds, insurance companies and official foundations, at the encouragement of the government, are the major players purchasing stocks.

Lee cautions individual investors from selling into the market panic, contending stock prices here are already very low and it is best to hold on because shares values will rise again in the fourth quarter of the year.

Media reports quote officials of the Korea Exchange saying a ban on all short-selling is under consideration if the situation further deteriorates.

A steep plunge was also seen in Hong Kong where the Hang Seng index finished the day five-and-two-thirds of a percent lower.

Japan’s benchmark index, the Nikkei, closed off one-and-two-thirds a percent after steep losses earlier in the day.

This is its lowest finish since mid-March, in the days just after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami which also triggered a meltdown of some reactors at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

Amid the dramatic selling in Tokyo, the Finance Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, emerged to deny media reports he would be resigning later in the day. There is speculation Noda plans to run in an upcoming Democratic Party election to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Noda told reporters now is not the time for him to make any political moves.

The finance minister says he is not quitting today as it is a crucial moment for the markets and he needs to do his job. He says he is watching the equity and currency markets with a sense of alarm. Noda adds economic steps are also needed to stem the rise of the Japanese currency.

When the U.S. dollar saw a sharp but brief spike against the yen Tuesday, there was speculation among currency traders that Japanese authorities had again intervened and perhaps even coordinated buying among the Group of Seven nations. Nothing has been confirmed and the dollar quickly erased the momentary gains, continuing its decline against the yen and other currencies.

Meanwhile, gold reached fresh record highs in Asia.

The director of the retail Jongro Gold Exchange in downtown Seoul, Yoon Jung-hoon, says demand far exceeds the store’s inventory.

Yoon says he has never seen a day like this. The phones were ringing off the hook before noon with so many callers wanting to immediately purchase gold. But he says he cannot keep gold on hand to meet the demand.

Oil contracts also continued to sink in Asian trading, with various types of crude falling between four and seven percent.

Analysts say oil prices have been dropping since Friday’s unprecedented downgrade of U.S. long-term sovereign debt. They say higher inflation in China (the world’s largest energy consumer) and stock market sell-offs are also putting pressure on oil prices.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.