Asian stocks fell for a fifth day, extending the worst start to a year since 2000, as concern about Chinese economic growth wiped more than $ 2.5 trillion from global shares this week.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.2 percent to 123.81 as of 9:08 a.m. in Tokyo, taking this year’s slide to 6.1 percent. The focus again will be the opening of mainland China’s market, after authorities backtracked on a new circuit breaker system that lasted all of four days. Officials suspended the rule after it triggered trading halts Monday and Thursday, saying it was only exacerbating declines.
The flip-flop on circuit breaker is adding to investor sentiment that authorities are improvising as they try to stabilize markets and shore up the economy. Policy makers have weakened the yuan for eight days straight and the authorities repeatedly intervened in the local equity market. Less than one month after the U.S. raised interest rates, investors are questioning the strength of global growth and corporate profit expansion.