Asia extends losses as China woes spread, yen shoots up
TOKYO – Asian equities extended losses on Thursday as concerns over China’s market turmoil spread,while the safe-haven yen shot to a seven-week high as global risk appetite ebbed.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS shed 0.2 percent, hovering near a 17-month low struck the previous day.
Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dropped 1.8 percent, Australian shares .AXJO lost 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi .KS11 fell 0.9 percent.
The focus in Asia again turned towards how Chinese stocks would fare later in the session, with a series of increasingly aggressive attempts by authorities so far having failed to stem the massive exodus from a once booming market.
The country’s stock markets have plunged nearly 30 percent over the last three weeks.
“Fundamentally, China is coming back to a point of attraction –the monstrous P/E ratios have come back to more realistic levels. However, the bursting bubble means value is unlikely to factor into thinking in the interim. The repercussions haven’t completely played out yet,” Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote.
China’s securities regulator took the drastic step late on Wednesday of ordering shareholders with stakes of more than 5 percent from selling shares for the next six months in a bid to halt a plunge in stock prices.L3N0ZO5WX
U.S. shares slid sharply overnight on growing fears that nose-diving Chinese shares could destabilise the world’s second- largest economy and have global implications.
The doom-and-gloom mood – already heightened earlier in the month by prospects of Greece leaving the euro – benefited the yen, often sought in times of economic uncertainty.
The dollar stood little changed at 120.815 yen, within reach of a seven-week low of 120.41 touched overnight when it suffered a bruising 1.5 percent fall.
The greenback was weighed down further as U.S. Treasury yields continued falling on flight-to-safety bids and new signs that the Federal Reserve may be hesitant about raising interest rates, as shown by their policy meeting minutes.
The dollar’s tumble against the yen helped the euro, which climbed to $1.1075 EUR=, pulling further away from a one-month trough of $1.0916 plumbed on Tuesday.
Commodities, far from immune to the slide in global equities, remained subdued. U.S. crude CLc1 nudged up 0.4 percent to $51.86 early on Thursday but has shed nearly nine percent so far this week.
Copper received a reprieve overnight thanks to the dollar’s plunge, but the metal still remained within reach of a six-year low. Copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.4 percent at $5,495 a tonne after hitting the six-year trough of $5,240 a tonne on Wednesday. –Reuters