JAKARTA, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul sit forlornly at the bottom of a list of top-performing indices for the three years to November 2. According to figures from TrustNet, their respective performances during the period in sterling terms were-82.8 per cent, -82.4 per cent, -79.8 per cent and -77.5 per cent respectively. Manila's Composite, by contrast, fell by only 56.9 per cent over the same period, the Nikkei by 33.8 per cent, Singapore's DBS 50 by 33.3 per cent and the Taiwan Weighted Index gained 18.8 per cent. The Hang Seng Index fell by 1.2 per cent and stood at 10,170 on November 2. Asian markets have certainly been routed, especially when measured against the 41.3 per cent gain in the MSCI World Index in sterling terms during the same period. Europe was where the best returns were made, according to the TrustNet list. Top spot among the 100 indices was taken by the Madrid SE, which gained 120.1 per cent over the three years, followed by Portugal's BVL with a gain of 119.1 per cent and Budapest, up 102.8 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrials also had a good three years, registering a sterling gain of 71.6 per cent. What now for Asian markets? Fidelity Investments says, given the economic uncertainties, more volatility can be expected. 'To some extent, much of the bad news is reflected in share prices and funds investing in the region have built up large cash positions. In fact, we are probably seeing some of this money being invested in the markets now. Taking a longer term view, we believe that some of the reforms being implemented by governments should ultimately boost economic growth in the region,' a Fidelity report says. Two recent cuts in US interest rates and losses by hedge funds has taken a lot of the pressure off Asian currencies and the weakness of the US dollar against the yen should allow interest rates to come down further. Templeton Franklin Investment Services believes the recent bounce in the Thai and mainland China markets were signs that 'international investors may be seeing the start of an economic recovery in Asia'. Hongkong Bank's economic research team estimates Indonesia's economy will shrink by 20 per cent this year, and by 9.5 per cent next year. The bank estimates that Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) will fall by 9 per cent this year and by 2.3 per cent next year. Other GDP forecasts by Hongkong Bank are South Korea (-7 per cent this year and -4 per cent next year), Malaysia (-3.5 per cent, 0.7 per cent), Philippines (-0.5 per cent, -1.0 per cent), Taiwan (5 per cent, 5.5 per cent), Singapore (0.5 per cent, -1.5 per cent).