Asian stocks fall on weak trade figures

<p>Stocks in Japan turned lower this morning (September 20th) following weak trade figures in Japan.</p>

Asian stocks fell in early trading this morning (September 20th) after Japanese exports fell for a third consecutive month, adding to concerns the economic downturn is worsening.

With the regional benchmark retreating from its highest recorded close since May, the markets were also weakened due to signs China's manufacturing could contract for an 11th month.

Japanese data showed the country's export sector was continuing to feel the effects of the slowdown in Europe, totaling 5.05 trillion yen (£39.7 billion) in August – down 5.8 per cent from one year ago.

As a result, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.4 per cent to 9,108.71, while South Korea's Kospi shed 0.9 per cent to 1,990.65 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 per cent to 20,721.78.

Benchmarks in Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore and mainland China also fell, while New Zealand's bucked the trend and rose.

Peter Elston, Singapore-based head of Asia Pacific strategy at Aberdeen Asset Management, told Business Week: "There's some fairly significant weakness just around the corner and that's going to have a fairly big impact on corporates and markets. We're fairly cautious."

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