News / Asia

    Fears Grow Over Chinese Economic Slowdown

    China Markets Suspended As Stocks Plunge; Fears Grow Over Slowdowni
    X
    January 04, 2016 9:30 PM
    It’s been a turbulent start to 2016 for world financial markets with big drops in the value of shares across the world Monday. The sell-off began in China – where concerns are growing over the quickening pace of the slowdown, as Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Henry Ridgwell

    It’s been a turbulent start to 2016 for global financial markets, with big drops in the value of shares Monday. The sell-off began in China – where concerns are growing over the quickening pace of the slowdown.
     
    Stock markets in the cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen were suspended Monday after falling more than 7 percent on the opening day of 2016 trading.
     
    The sell-off triggered the so-called circuit-breaker mechanism for the first time – a system designed byt the Chinese government to prevent volatility by halting trades.

    A 64-year-old trader believes the government intervention was unnecessary. He says he is in favor of the 'circuit breaker' mechanism - but the government implementing it on the first day is like testing the market.
     
    It’s the millions of individual Chinese investors – many of them pensioners – that drive volatility, says analyst John Driffill of Birkbeck College University of London.

    “The Chinese stock market is populated by a large number of small investors who are very prone to panics and booms and crashes," he said. "They are exchanging information and rumors. These are stock market players with a very short-term perspective. They’re gambling with small amounts of life savings.”

    A man walks past a panel displaying the benchmark Hang Seng index during afternoon trading in Hong Kong, China, Jan. 4, 2016.
    A man walks past a panel displaying the benchmark Hang Seng index during afternoon trading in Hong Kong, China, Jan. 4, 2016.


    The market drops were driven by a survey showing that activity in Chinese factories contracted for the 10th straight month in December, and at a sharper pace than in November.
     
    "It's just renewed the same fears that dogged a lot of last year's trading, namely that the slowdown in China's economy could be set to speed up,” said Jasper Lawler, who is with the investment group CMC Capital Markets.
     
    Those fears were echoed in European and U.S. markets – which also saw falls of several percent.
     
    Figures due out later this year are expected to show that China posted its weakest economic growth for 25 years in 2015 - slipping to around 7 percent.
     
    Analysts say concerns over worsening tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are also weighing on stock markets – and driving up the price of oil.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora