Asia Slump Continues

Major Asia-Pacific stock markets slumped on Thursday afternoon, as Wall Street fell sharply with inflation data triggering fears of a rate hike.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 cratered 699.5 points, or 2.5%, to 27,448.01. Shares of Softbank Group dropped more than 7% after the company declined to extend its buyback program.

The Japanese yen weakened, trading at 109.61 per U.S. dollar, compared to levels around 108 earlier this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 512.37 points, or 1.8%, to 27,718.67,

Investors will be looking to tech giant Alibaba’s first-quarter and full fiscal year results that will be released on Thursday night local time. Its Hong Kong-listed shares were down more than 2% in the afternoon, ahead of the earnings release.

The Australian dollar slipped, trading at $0.7715 against the dollar, from around $0.78 reached in the previous session.

In other markets

Markets in Singapore, the Straits Times index were shuttered for holiday.

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 subtracted 51.58 points, or 1%, to 4,992.97.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index lost 232.27 points, or 1.5%, to 15,670.10.

In Korea, the Kospi index dropped 39.55 points, or 1.3%, to 3,122.11

In New Zealand the NZX 50 fell 136.09 points, or 1.1%, to 12,428.12

In Australia, the ASX 200 slumped 62.15 points, or 0.9%, to 6,982.72.