Asian stocks suffered heavy losses on Thursday amid fresh signs of a contraction in China’s economy and following the Federal Reserve’s decision to continue reducing its stimulus.
The final China HSBC purchasing manager’s index (PMI) fell to a new six-month low of 49.5 in January, from last week’s preliminary estimate of 49.6, confirming expectations of a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.
China’s Shanghai Composite shed 0.36 percent or 7.41 points at 2,042.50 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 1.46 percent or 324.16 points at 21,817.45. Japan’s Nikkei tumbled 3.18 percent or 488.68 points at 14,895.23 and Singapore’s Straits Times fell 1.11 percent or 33.81 points at 3,014.12. Seoul Composite and Taiwan Weighted shut today.