Asian stock markets plunged Monday as weaker-than-expected economic data from the US and China raised concerns over the strength of global economic recovery.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei plunged 1.71 percent or 144.62 points to 8,295.63, Hong Kong's Hang Seng plunged 2.01 percent or 372.75 points to 18,185.59 and Chinese Shanghai Composite slipped 2.73 percent while Indian benchmark BSE Sensex was trading flat.
A slowdown in job creation for the third straight month suggests that US labor market conditions are deteriorating again and has heightened fears that the strength of economic recovery in the world's largest economy is losing steam. The US Labor Department said that only 69,000 jobs were added in May, far below Thomson Reuters' estimation of 150,000 job gains. The unemployment rate rose first time in 11 months to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in the previous month as people re-entered the workforce.
Meanwhile, the news that China's non-manufacturing sector grew at a slower pace in May compared to the previous month also added to the down trend. The country's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) declined to 52.2 in May from 56.1 in the previous month as continuing debt crisis in Europe and the government's efforts to curb the property market boom affected the services industries.
US jobs data at the end of last week which revealed a disappointing May payrolls added to other data including weaker than expected Chinese PMI and even more disappointing euro zone data highlighting intensifying downside risks to economic activity, said a note from Credit Agricole.
Exporter companies' shares led the declines in Japan. Toyota Motor Corp declined 3.52 percent and Honda Motor fell 3.7 percent while Sony Corp fell 1.68 percent to 996 yen, the lowest level since 1980.
Canon Inc plunged 5.15 percent after the company stock was downgraded to underweight rating from overweight rating at JPMorgan.
Financial and Insurance companies' shares were among the worst performers. Ping An Insurance Group slumped 5.49 percent and China Life Insurance plunged 4.91 percent in Hong Kong while Nomura Holdings fell 3.97 percent and Matsui Securities slipped 3.09 percent in Japan.