HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly recovered Thursday from the previous day´s sharp losses but Tokyo tumbled as investors returned from a long weekend to play catch-up, with auto giants hit by the Volkswagen scandal.
The dollar edged up against most emerging market currencies ahead of a closely watched speech later in the day by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen, during which markets hope she will provide more clarity on the bank´s plans for an interest rate hike.
Stocks and other high-yielding, or riskier, assets took a hit after the Fed´s decision last week to hold citing China´s woes and a developing market slowdown fanned concerns about the US and global economy.
Those worries were exacerbated Wednesday when a closely watched gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity for September hit a six-and-a-half-year low, the latest ion in a string of results highlighting a severe slowdown in the world´s number two economy.
The news sent shares in Asia plunging with Shanghai and Hong Kong down more than two percent followed by losses in New York.
On Thursday, however, investors in most stock markets turned buyers, with Shanghai up 0.75 percent, Sydney adding one percent and Seoul 0.42 percent higher. However, Hong Kong continued to drop, shedding 0.44 percent.
Tokyo tumbled 2.34 percent by lunch as trading began for the first time since Friday owing to a three-day public holiday.
“Japanese markets have still got some catch up to do after the uncertainty that´s been washing through global markets,” Tony Farnham, a strategist at Patersons Securities in Sydney, said.
“The issue is gauging the extent of the slowdown in China and the ongoing debate about whether the Fed is doing the right thing” on when to raise interest rates.