Sydney/Taipei/Beijing/Tokyo – Australian stocks plunged almost 4 per cent Monday wiping 60 billion Australian dollars (43.4 billion U.S. dollars) or two years of gains from the market.
Mining, energy and finance stocks were the hardest hit amid fears concerning the ongoing plunge of shares in China.
August is turning out to be the worst month for Australian shareholders since October 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis.
The ASX 200 index hit a two-year low by the close on Monday, down 194 points and 3.9 per cent on the day.
The Australian dollar fell to the lowest level since April 2009 to reach 0.7225 U.S. cents.
In Taipei, Taiwan, Stock Exchange closed down 4.8 per cent Monday, on global economic concerns and a weekend tumble on Wall Street.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange’s main index was down 376.58 points at 7,410.34 at the close of normal trading at 1:30 p.m. local time.
It fell by up to 583.5 points, or 7.5 per cent during trading, before rallying from its largest intra-session drop.
Media reports quoted Liang Kuo-yuan, president of Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute, as saying the drop could be attributed to China’s economic slowdown.
In Beijing, China shares dived on Monday as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was down 8.49 per cent at closing amid fears of economic slowdown.
It was the sharpest daily decline since Feb. 27, 2007, and followed last week’s losses of 11 per cent for the week.
The smaller Shenzhen Component Index closed down 7.83 per cent and the ChiNext Index, tracking the country’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, closed down 8.08 per cent.
Chinese government on Sunday moved to allow pension funds to invest in the stock market, hoping to bolster share prices.
Share prices across Asia were being hammered on Monday, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index down more than 4 per cent.
Analysts say China is struggling to meet its growth target for 2015 of about 7 per cent, a figure that is itself, a marked slowdown from GDP growth levels of recent years amid sluggish investment growth and falling exports.
The country’s GDP grew 7.4 per cent in 2014, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years.
Reports from Tokyo indicate that Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunged 4.6 per cent Monday following heavy losses on Chinese, U.S. and European markets.
The Nikkei lost 895.15 points, or 4.61 per cent, to close at 18,540.68, falling below 19,000 for the first time in five months.
The broader Topix index fell 92.14 points, or 5.86 per cent, at 1480.87.
Exporters traded broadly lower as the yen rose against the dollar. A stronger yen makes Japanese products less competitive abroad and hurts repatriated earnings. (dpa/NAN)