Asian markets remained in a tight range Tuesday as investors continued to maintain a cautious mode to find where the global economy is heading following the announcement of the stimulus measures announced this month by the policymakers around the world.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite fell 0.10 percent or 1.96 points to 2031.23. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.06 percent or 12.67 points to 20682.03. Among the major losers were PetroChina Co Ltd (0.79 percent) and Li & Fung Ltd (1.16 percent).
South Korea’s KOSPI Composite Index dropped 0.32 percent or 6.37 points to 1997.07. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 0.08 percent and those of LG Electronics Inc fell 4.74 percent.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.29 percent or 25.99 points to 9095.28. Among the major gainers were Suzuki Motor Corp (4.31 percent), Shinsei Bank Ltd (2.88 percent) and Olympus Corp (2.57 percent).
India's BSE Sensex gained 0.31 percent or 57.15 points to 18730.49. Among the major gainers were Tata Power Co (2.37 percent), Reliance Power Ltd (1.61 percent) and Suzlon Energy Ltd (1.57 percent).
Investors feel that the disappointing trade across countries is another reminder that the underlying economic conditions remain weak regardless of the recent monetary policy announcements. The new export orders component of the flash manufacturing Purchase Managers Index for the U.S. fell from 48.8 in August to 47.9 in September. The equivalent readings for the euro zone (44.7) and China (46.3) are also consistent with further falls in export volumes.
“Much of this year’s slowdown in trade is due to the weakness of the euro zone economy, which accounts for around 35 percent of world trade. Falling sales to Europe also explain the poor export performance in recent months in Japan, China and the rest of emerging Asia,” Andrew Kenningham, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
Meanwhile, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered Monday the economic growth rates for Asia Pacific, citing the reasons as the slowdown in China, continuing debt troubles in the euro zone and the weaker recovery in the U.S.
S&P reduced base case forecasts of 2012 real GDP growth by about half a percentage point for China to 7.5 percent, Japan to 2.0 percent, Korea to 2.5 percent, Singapore to 2.1 percent and Taiwan to 1.9 percent. They also revised their forecast down by about one percentage point each for Hong Kong (to 1.8 percent) and India (to 5.5 percent).