Asian stock markets stumbled on Thursday, with fears of a global borrowing crisis resulting in renewed selling of bank shares. However, an optimistic outlook on China’s economy provided some relief and limited losses in certain regional markets.
China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes experienced the smallest losses, each falling 0.5%. This was after Goldman Sachs increased its economic growth projection for the country to 6% from 5.5%. The bank cited improving trends after China reopened after three years of COVID lockdowns and stated that the country’s largest economy was set for a rebound this year.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slid 1.5% as a bank stock sell-off spilled over into technology, while Taiwan’s weighted index and South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1.1% and 0.3%, respectively. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was also among the worst performers for the day, falling 1.1%, with major financial stocks facing renewed selling pressure.
Australia’s ASX 200 index declined 1.5% on losses in the country’s big four bank stocks. A stronger-than-expected employment reading for February also pushed up concerns over more interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank.
The rout in Asian markets that briefly paused on Wednesday resumed on Thursday due to renewed concerns over a global banking crisis. This was triggered by a sell-off in the shares of Credit Suisse, which had stated that it would borrow up to $54 billion from the Swiss National Bank to support liquidity, easing concerns over an imminent banking collapse.
China emerged as a relative bright spot in an otherwise negative market, with recent data showing a steady, albeit mixed, economic recovery in the country, helping to spur some optimism. However, fears of a global borrowing crisis continue to weigh on Asian markets, with bank shares facing renewed selling pressure.
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