Asian stocks fell this week, with the regional benchmark index falling by the most in six weeks, as US economic data and plunging commodity prices added to signs the global economic recovery is weakening.
“Fears of the US economy grew,” said Peter Elston, a strategist at Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, which oversees about US$282 billion. “I haven’t been convinced by these recoveries in the developed world as I just see them being driven by stimulus and the major structural trend is one of deleveraging.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.4 percent to 137.57 this week.
Taiwan’s TAIEX fell 0.3 percent to 8,977.23 this week, which was a smaller drop than most of its Asian peers.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1.7 percent this week, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index lost 2.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which completed its longest streak of daily losses since 2003 this week, dropped 2.4 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 1.6 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.1 percent.
Markets in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam were closed on Monday for a holiday. Vietnam was also closed the following day. Japan’s stock market was closed from Tuesday through Thursday. South Korea and Thailand’s stock market also closed on Thursday.
Service industries in the US expanded last month at the slowest pace in eight months, as companies cut back in response to higher energy costs, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s index of US non-manufacturing companies published on Wednesday.
Applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly jumped by 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the most since August last year, US Department of Labor figures showed on Thursday.
In other markets on Friday:
Manila closed 0.70 percent, or 29.61 points, lower from Thursday at 4,219.07.
Wellington closed 0.21 percent, or 7.36 points, higher from Thursday at 3,506.35.
Mumbai shares bucked the regional trend, rising 1.69 percent from Thursday to 18,518.81