Asian shares decline after S&P 500 logs monthly fall

Asian markets tumbled on Friday on the tail of Wall Street’s worst monthly loss since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taipei fell 2.2 percent, Tokyo skidded 2.3 percent and Australia’s benchmark sank 2.2 percent.

Markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for holidays.

The S&P 500 ended last month down 4.8 percent, its first monthly drop since January and the biggest since March last year.

After climbing steadily for much of the year, the stock market has become unsettled in the past few weeks with the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, surging long-term bond yields and word that the US Federal Reserve might start to unwind its support for the US economy.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index on Friday fell 1.1 percent 194.99, down 2.9 percent for the week.

Japan lifted a pandemic state of emergency on Friday after seeing COVID-19 caseloads decline as vaccinations picked up pace. A quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan found business sentiment among Japanese manufacturers has risen to its highest level in nearly three years.

The results of the Tankan survey found that sentiment among large manufacturers rose to 18 from 14. That is the highest level since late 2018. The reading for non-manufacturers edged up only slightly, to two from one.

However, it and various other surveys have found manufacturers struggling with shortages of computer chips and other components, amid disruptions to supply chains and shipping that might crimp the recovery from the pandemic.

The TAIEX on Friday lost 2.2 percent, or 363.88 points, to 16,570.89, falling 4 percent for the week.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 on Friday lost 2.3 percent, or 681.59, points to 28,771.07, plunging 4.9 percent for the week. The TOPIX fell 2.2 percent on Friday, taking its weekly loss to 5 percent.

Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 2 percent to 7,185.50, down 2.1 percent weekly.

The KOSPI in Seoul on Friday lost 1.6 percent to 3,019.18, down 3.4 percent for the week.

India’s SENSEX fell 0.6 percent on Friday, and lost 2.1 percent for the week.

“The markets are likely to remain volatile as [the fourth quarter] begins, with October another historically choppy period after September’s wild ride for the markets that saw the S&P 500 snap a seven-month winning streak,” analysts at Charles Schwab Corp said.

Additional reporting by AFP, with staff writer

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