Asia Slumps on Bank Fears

Asia-Pacific markets dropped on Thursday, but largely pared losses as the trading day went on as turmoil around Credit Suisse added onto banking fears in the region.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan faltered 218.87 points, or 0.8%, to 27,010.61, as the country saw its trade data for February come in lower than expected.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index withered 335.96 points, or 1.7%, to 19,203.91.

Shares of Credit Suisse plunged to a new all-time low Wednesday for the second consecutive day after its top investor ruled out further assistance.

Australian markets were down, dragged by miners and the banking sector. Investors also digested unemployment numbers, which came in at 3.5% in February.

South Korea said Japan has agreed to lift export restrictions on three semiconductor materials to Seoul, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.

Seoul also said it will drop its dispute against Tokyo with the World Trade Organization once the lift takes place, the ministry said.
Japan in 2019 removed South Korea from its “white list” of favored trade partners, after South Korea’s court rulings ordered Japanese firms to compensate for wartime forced labourers.

In other markets

In China, the CSI 300 removed 47.75 points, or 1.2%, to 3,939.15.

In Singapore, the Straits Times erased 17.38 points, or 0.6%, to 3,155.54.

In Taiwan, the Taiex lost 166.47 points, or 1.1%, to 15,221.12.

In Korea, the Kospi nicked 1.81 points, or 0.1%, lower to 2,377.91.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 advanced 81.75 points, or 0.7%, to 11,699.02.

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 103.38 points, or 1.5%, to 6,966.54.