Asian stock markets today caught a global selling fever after new warnings of world recession and as fears grew over the future of European banks with heavy exposure to sovereign debt.
Investors across the region picked up on the mounting anxiety evident in the United States and Europe, where the markets saw fresh carnage on Thursday.
Safe havens were the main beneficiaries, with gold hitting new highs and the yield on US 10-year Treasury bonds briefly touching a new low.
Adding to woes in the region were fears that a slowdown in the galloping growth seen in China – a key driver of the world economy – could hit equities.
“The bears returned aggressively overnight as very disappointing US economic data and fears over the stability of European banks had traders reaching for the sell button,” IG Markets analyst Ben Potter said in Australia.
“It looks like we’re set for a very ugly end to the week as fear and panic-driven trade once again dominate the market,” he said.
“We could have the added pressure of traders looking to close their positions ahead of the weekend given the high levels of uncertainty.”
In Tokyo, the Nikkei index tumbled 2.51 percent, shedding 224.52 points to close at 8,719.24 on Friday.
Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 slumped 3.51 percent or 149.3 points to end the day at 4,101.9.
In Seoul, the benchmark KOSPI plunged a hefty 6.22 percent to finish at 1,744.88 points with South Korean exporters such as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor hit hard.
In afternoon trading, Hong Kong had dived 2.38 percent to 19,540.60 while Singapore’s headline share index was off 3.15 percent at 2,738.57.
The worldwide selloff came after Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley warned that the US and eurozone economies were “dangerously close” to a double-dip recession.
It’s like 1 piece of bad news outweighs 10 pieces of good news. Wish everyone would stop panicking. In the meantime, buy some equities!