Most of the Asian stock markets ended lower Tuesday after data showed that foreign direct investment (FDI) into China declined for the fifth month in a row.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei edged down 0.06 percent or 5.93 points to 9,464.71 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 23 percent or 48.33 points to 20,562.31. Chinese Shanghai declined 0.94 percent while Indian stock gained after the central bank rate cut.
China drew in $11.76 billion as FDI in March, which is 6.1 percent lower than the year-earlier period. The country received $29.5 billion for the first quarter as FDI, which is 2.8 percent down from a year ago.
The data still showed a 6.1 percent drop on annual basis, the fifth in a row. This highlights declining attractiveness of the country for foreign businesses amid a stronger currency and higher labour costs, a note from Credit Agricole said.
The weak foreign direct investment (FDI) data raised further concerns over slowing economic growth in the world's second biggest economy and added to expectations of a hard-landing in the region.
The investment in China from Europe has decreased by a third in the first two months of the year, according to ministry data, which could be as a result of the growing concern that the debt crisis in eurozone is going to worsen. The International Monetary Fund has warned that escalation of eurozone debt problems could slash China's gross domestic product growth for 2012 in half.
Meanwhile, concerns over eurozone crisis particularly in Spain also weighed on the sentiment. Spain's cost of borrowing soared to the highest level since before the European Central Bank launched its first liquidity operation. The yield on benchmark 10-year government bond jumped above 6 percent Monday as doubt spread among bond investors that Europe's fifth-biggest economy will be able to service its expanding debt.
In Japan, Hirose Electric gained 1.48 percent and Kyocera Corp. advanced 0.14 percent after the technology companies' price targets were raised at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Among the exporters, Toyota motor Corp. declined 0.92 percent and Honda Motor declined 1.88 percent, while Sony Corp plunged 2.31 percent.
In China, financial sector shares led the decline after the FDI data. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China fell 0.46 percent in Shanghai and China Construction Bank Corp. plunged 1.96 percent in Hong Kong.
Airlines stocks continue to decline for the second day after issued profit warnings last week. China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd plunged 3.88 percent and China Southern Airlines Co declined 3.45 percent.
In India, stocks gained after the central bank cut the main interest rate for the first time in three years while announcing the annual credit policy Tuesday. The Reserve bank of India (RBI) has cut the repo rate by 50 basis points to 8 percent, which will mean that loans will get cheaper. From October 2011, the repo rate of RBI, which is the signaling rate at which it lends to other banks, has remained at 8.5 percent.
The benchmark BSE Sensex gained 1.21 percent or 206.99 points to 17,357.94. The 50 share NSE Nifty advanced 1.22 percent or 63.50 points to 5,289.70.