Asian stocks struggle amid recession worries
Led by the Tokyo stock exchange, Asian shares fell sharply in Monday's trading. Investors are bracing for more volatility after last week's massive sell-off. The Nikkei index today hit its lowest intraday level since 1982.
Panic has gripped the investors and they fear fresh moves expected from central banks this week will not be enough to stave off a deep global recession.
Asian stock markets buckled again Monday, with Japan's Nikkei index briefly hitting a 26-year low on fears emergency steps by world governments will be too late to prevent a global recession.
Investors were bracing for another tough week for markets as the worldwide financial crisis drags on, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) moved to bail out Ukraine and Hungary which have suffered badly in the turmoil.
In Japan, Prime Minister Taro Aso announced fresh measures to support the ailing stock market including boosting a government fund to pump capital into banks if needed.
As policymakers continued their efforts to contain the turbulence, South Korea's central bank cut its key interest rate by 75 basis points, its largest reduction yet.
The fresh sell-off began in Japan, where the Nikkei briefly fell to a level last seen in 1982 before the economic bubble era.
The index later rebounded to show a gain of 0.4 per cent by lunch on talk of possible intervention by the Japanese authorities to try to rein in the soaring yen.
Elsewhere Taipei lost 6.0 per cent and Shanghai shed 2.3 per cent. Sydney was down 1.35 per cent by midday while Hong Kong opened 2.0 per cent lower.
South Korea's KOSPI index was down 0.58 per cent despite the rate cut.
Trading was halted on the Philippine Stock Exchange after shares plunged 10 per cent, triggering an automatic cool-off period.
Financial markets in Singapore and Malaysia are closed due to public holiday and will resume trading on Tuesday.