10/31/2008, 00.00
ASIA
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Almost all Asian markets edgy and down

Tokyo closes 5 per cent lower even though the central bank cut interest rates. October results are the worst since 1997. Fears of recession are widespread.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Most Asian markets lost on Friday as concerns over how deep the recession will be are proving stronger than every attempt to ease capital flows.

Tokyo's Nikkei stock index closed down 5.01 per cent today despite the central bank's decision to lower its key lending rate to 0.3 per cent. It has lost 22 per cent so far this month and 43 per cent this year.

In Seoul, shares edged back with Korea Composite Stock Price Index up 0.96 per cent after losing more than 2 per cent earlier in early morning trading.

Taiwan stocks rose 1.1 per cent after a report showed semiconductor sales picked up in September.

Stocks opened 0.2 per cent lower in Singapore. Hong Kong slipped by 1.5 per cent. Share prices in Shanghai fell by 1.56 per cent by midday.

October thus ends as the worst month since the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

Thus even though central banks in the United States, Europe, China, Taiwan and Japan have reduced interest rates to pump money into the economy, investors are still spooked by the drop of exports to the United States and Europe, fearing a global recession.

Many Japanese companies expect their earning to drop by up to 50 per cent this year.

Oil prices dropped by another dollar after US economic data were released showing the economy’s worst contraction in seven years.

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