From Asia to Wall Street: China’s stock market meltdown goes global in one of the worst trading days for eight years
Investors spooked as big stocks sell-offs in the mainland hit US and European markets while Dow Jones falls 1,000 points at opening of trade
Investors had nowhere to hide as panic selling in mainland and Hong Kong stocks markets spread to the US and Europe, with the Dow Jones yesterday losing an unprecedented 1,000 points at the opening Bell.
The S&P 500 Index was down nearly 2.5 per cent, paring an opening drop of 5.3 per cent as Wall Street continued to reel from the shock in China.
Alibaba was among the major names that tumbled in the US market. Its shares fell nearly 5 per cent, sliding below their initial public offering price of US$68 for the first time, a far cry from the US$119.15 in November.
The global sell-off began in the morning when US$692 billion was wiped off mainland and Hong Kong benchmark indices in one of the worst trading days for eight years.
The Shanghai Composite Index plunged 8.52 per cent to 3,208.93, erasing all its gains this year. The Shenzhen Composite Index closed down 7.7 per cent at 1,882.46 while the Hang Seng Index closed 5.17 per cent weaker.
The tremors spread to the rest of the Asian markets, with Australian, Singaporean and Korean bourses all ending in the red. Japan's Nikkei 225 index slid 4.61 per cent, its biggest one-day fall in more than two years.
There is a huge panic across emerging markets as currencies and commodities all tumbled, said Stephen Innes, a senior trader at Oanda in Singapore. "Emerging markets climb stairs on the way up but take elevators on the way down," Innes said.
But as European markets began to open for trade, it was clear the rout was not an exclusively emerging-market problem. Stoxx Europe 600 sank more than 5 per cent while Germany's DAX, the UK's FTSE 100, Madrid, Paris and Amsterdam stocks all plunged around 5 per cent.
Other asset classes were sucked in, with copper and crude oil prices hitting six-year lows along with other commodities. US treasuries and the Japanese yen rose as investors sought out safe-haven assets.
The yuan weakened sharply against the US dollar, by 1.1 per cent, in offshore trading even though the dollar itself weakened in expectation the crisis in China and the global markets will force the US Federal Reserve to postpone plans to raise interest rates.
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah warned the sell-off might impact the property market and the wider economy but said the government had no plans to intervene.
Intervention is expected in the mainland, however. After last week's steep falls, analysts had hoped Beijing would cut bank reserve ratio requirements, and possibly interest rates, to boost market liquidity and confidence. But the State Council merely announced plans to allow let the 3.5 trillion yuan national pension fund boost its equity holdings, which failed to revive confidence.
"The government got badly burnt last time…Now the government doesn't want to underwrite a particular level. It doesn't want to be dictated to by market pundits," said veteran market watcher Fraser Howie.