Asian markets fell Thursday over the revival of investor concern on the intensifying euro zone debt crisis and the deepening economic downturn.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite fell 1.39 percent or 30.95 points to 2196.36. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.22 percent or 44.28 points to 19665.47. Major losers were Bank of China Ltd (1.36 percent) and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (1.25 percent). HSBC Hong Kong Purchasing Managers' Index rose 49.8 in June up from 49.4 in May. But the reading of less than 50 indicated that manufacturing activity continued to shrink.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.08 percent or 7.57 points to 9096.60. Among major losers were Sumco Corp (3.33 percent), Japan Tobacco Inc (1.85 percent) and Toyobo Co Ltd (1.82 percent).
South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index declined 0.14 percent or 2.55 points to 1871.90. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd fell 0.76 percent and those of Hyundai Motor Co declined 1.49 percent.
India's BSE Sensex fell 0.07 percent or 12.06 points to 17450.75. Major losers were IndusInd Bank (1.20 percent), ONGC (0.90 percent) and Unitech Ltd (0.83 percent).
Market players anxiously await central banks to come up with monetary easing measures to strengthen the global economy. Investors are hoping for an announcement of the main refinancing rate to be nipped below 1 percent at the ECB meeting in Frankfurt Thursday.
The downbeat euro zone and UK PMIs have added to the expectation that the ECB and Bank of England will inject more stimuli into their struggling economies. The euro remains firmly under pressure from worries about the region's growth outlook.
There is concern that the ECB is unlikely to announce more long-term lending, as it believes that the financial system, on the whole, has enough liquidity. The ECB could probably also argue that undertaking large sovereign bond purchases falls within the purview of the EU bailout funds and not the central bank.