Asia Minute: Uneven Quarter for Asia Pacific Stock Markets

Apr 1, 2016

Credit Karn Bulsuk / Flickr

US stocks are trading today on the news of the latest jobs report out this morning. The US market closed an active first quarter of 2016 just about where it started the year.  But for many Asian markets, it was a very different story. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Volatility is one word for Asia Pacific stock markets in the first quarter of 2016.  You may recall how a tumbling Chinese market helped send relative panic through global markets in the early part of the year…driving most US indices down more than 10% by mid-February.

Since then, there’s been a rebound around the world---but an uneven one.  The Shanghai Composite closed the quarter down 15% from the start of the year.  That’s an improvement since late January —when the index was down 24%.

Japan has had a rough corporate quarter—the yen strengthened about 7% against the dollar—making Japanese products more expensive overseas.  That was a big factor in driving down Japan’s Nikkei Index—off 12% in the first quarter.

More modest losses included Hong Kong—slipping more than 5%…Australia about 4% and India nearly 3%.  Slight gains on the quarter included Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea—all up about 2%.  Indices in the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia closed the quarter up between four and five percent.

And the biggest regional winner may be a bit of a surprise.  Thailand’s SET—up more than 9% since the start of the year.