Asian trade: Asian markets declined for the first time in the last two days of trading, as the global route continues. Earlier in the day, the U.S. markets touched the lowest value since September 1996, having the major indexes shed a little more than 50% from their peak values.

A number of negative news reports struck investors in the last day of trading. Firstly, it was the Chinese Premier that rephrased some earlier comments, saying the stimulus bill would be expanded. According to Mr. Wen, the Chinese economy will reach an 8% growth rate in 2009, helped by the current $585 billion plan and he is not looking to expand this sum. Shortly after, Moody’s downgraded BoA and Wells Fargo, while it lowered JP Morgan’s outlook to negative on weak capital levels. The final punch probably came from GM’s auditors, which said they have doubts if the company can continue any more. Over the last few years, GM gathered $80 billion in liabilities.

The declines were widespread on the Japanese Nikkei, starting from banks, to tech-companies and housing developers. Out of the 225 companies listed in the Nikkei index, only 15 moved higher tonight, from which only three gained more than 1%. A similar situation was seen in the U.S. markets where, as expected, banks led the selling wave. Citigroup, once the biggest bank in the world fell slightly under the $1 benchmark, down 85% this year alone. Some say Citigroup might be heading towards bankruptcy.

These days, the world’s equity markets are experiencing the biggest market decline since the Great Depression. Tonight, the Nikkei fell 228.54 points (3.07%) to 7,204.95. The Australian S&P lost 59.10 points (0.59%) to 3,185.00.

Crude oil moved very little in the Asian session. Crude oil for April delivery added $0.05 to $43.60.

Gold was sent higher tonight by its safe haven outlook. Bullion for immediate delivery gained $7.40 to $935.20.