Asia Minute: Volatile Markets, Sturdier Economies

Feb 7, 2018

Credit Allan Ajifo / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a volatile week for global stock markets. That’s also true in the Asia Pacific. Today markets are up again—but in the early part of the week, some markets were hit harder than others—despite what remains an encouraging economic outlook. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Japan’s Nikkei Index was one of the most volatile in the region over the early part of this week—sliding more than 7 percent in two days. Just last month the Nikkei reached a 26-year high—gaining 25 percent since September.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index had fallen a little more than 6 percent by Tuesday, but elsewhere the losses were more modest.

Credit Lorenzo Cafaro / Pexels

Main indices were down about 3 percent in South Korea, about two and a half percent in China and India, and a little less in Indonesia.

A country’s stock market is not the same as its economy. And regional opinions on growth prospects remain largely positive.

The International Monetary Fund expects overall growth of 5.5 percent across Asia this year – mostly coming from emerging markets and developing economies. The IMF forecast for China is 6.5 percent growth—nearly 7.5 percent for India.

Expectations for the Philippines are between those two—and for Indonesia a little less than 5.5 percent.

The IMF sees slower growth for advanced economies in the region. That breaks down to about 3 percent for South Korea, Australia and New Zealand—a little bit slower for Hong Kong and Singapore. And the IMF forecasts Japan will grow a little less than 1-percent.