No happy start to CNY for markets

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index is displayed on an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan 20, 2016.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index is displayed on an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan 20, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Asian markets continued to decline yesterday, with Singapore joining in the sell-off, falling 1.57 per cent as the bourse reopened for trading after the Chinese New Year break.

Japanese shares fell to their lowest level since October 2014, while Australian stocks dropped into a bear market, having fallen 20 per cent from their recent high.

Regional markets have been roiled by a sharp drop on Wall Street since last Friday and worries about the health of the global banking sector, as negative interest rates in Japan and easy monetary policy in the euro zone will dampen banking profits.

The underlying weakness in oil prices remains a concern as well.

"The only consolation we have is that China is still closed," said remisier Desmond Leong. Chinese stock markets will reopen next Monday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'No happy start to CNY for markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe