Asian markets mostly down after IMF forecast cuts


HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly slipped on Wednesday following a US and European sell-off that came in response to more weak German data and the IMF’s decision to cut its growth forecast for the global economy.

The dollar clawed back some of the losses it suffered in New York but with caution taking over among traders it is struggling to return to the six-year highs above 110 yen it touched last week.

Tokyo fell 1.19 percent, or 187.85 points, to finish at 15,595.98, while Seoul lost 0.39 percent, or 7.66 points, to 1,965.25 and Sydney eased 0.81 percent, or 42.9 points, to 5,241.3.

Hong Kong broke a three-day winning streak to end 0.68 percent lower, giving up 159.19 points to 23,263.33.

However, Shanghai, which has been closed since Wednesday for the Golden Week holiday, ended 0.80 percent higher, adding 18.92 points to 2,382.79.

Shares across Europe and on Wall Street sank Tuesday after the International Monetary Fund lowered its 2014 global growth estimate—to 3.3 percent from 3.4 percent tipped in July—warning of stagnation in advanced economies. It also forecast 2015 growth of 3.8 percent, against 4.0 percent previously.

It warned that the world economy faced increased risks from the crisis in Ukraine, ongoing Middle East woes and the spread of Ebola. The damaged inflicted by the economic crisis that began in 2008 is “proving tougher to resolve,” especially in Europe, it added.

The Fund also slashed its outlook for Japan this year from 1.6 percent growth to 0.9 percent, underscoring the damage of April’s sales tax hike, while it left its forecast for China unchanged but warned of “near-term growth risks,” especially in the real estate sector.

Germany shows more weakness
On Wall Street, the Dow shed 1.60 percent, the S&P 500 fell 1.51 percent and the Nasdaq lost 1.56 percent.

Earlier London’s FTSE 100 ended 1.04 percent lower, the CAC 40 in Paris tumbled 1.81 percent and Frankfurt’s DAX slipped 1.34 percent.

Adding to the selling pressure was data showing industrial production in Germany, the eurozone’s biggest economy, slumped 4.0 percent in August. That came a day after statistics office Destatis said the country’s factory orders dived 5.7 percent in the same month.

On currency markets the dollar tumbled in New York to 108.02 yen, well off the 109.22 yen touched earlier in the day in Tokyo. However, it edged up slightly to 108.20 yen Wednesday afternoon.

The euro bought $1.2646 compared with $1.2667, holding up despite the disappointing German figures.

The single currency was also at 136.76 yen, up from 136.84 yen in New York.

The downbeat assessment by the IMF fuelled concerns over demand for oil, sending prices of the black gold tumbling on Tuesday.

And those losses continued Wednesday in Asia. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell $1.09 to a 17-month low of $87.76 a barrel and Brent crude for November tumbled $1.01 to $91.10—lows not seen since mid-2012.

Gold was at $1,217.32 an ounce against $1,206.14 on Tuesday.



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