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Asia: Markets slip after IMF forecast cuts


[HONG KONG] Asian markets slipped on Wednesday following a US and European sell-off that came in response to more weak German data and the IMF's decision to cut its growth forecast for the global economy.

The dollar clawed back some of the losses it suffered in New York but with caution taking over among traders it is struggling to return to the six-year highs above 110 yen it touched last week.

Tokyo sank 1.22 per cent, Hong Kong lost 0.82 per cent after a three-day rally, Sydney eased 0.78 per cent and Seoul was off 0.17 per cent.

Shanghai, which has been closed since Wednesday for the Golden Week holiday, was 0.17 percent down.

Shares across Europe and on Wall Street sank Tuesday after the International Monetary Fund lowered its 2014 global growth estimate - to 3.3 per cent from 3.4 per cent tipped in July - warning of stagnation in advanced economies. It also forecast 2015 growth of 3.8 per cent, against 4.0 per cent previously.

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It warned that the world economy faced increased risks from the crisis in Ukraine, ongoing Middle East woes and the spread of Ebola. The damaged inflicted by the economic crisis that began in 2008 is "proving tougher to resolve", especially in Europe, it added.

The Fund also slashed its outlook for Japan this year from 1.6 per cent growth to 0.9 per cent, underscoring the damage of April's sales tax hike, while it left its forecast for China unchanged but warned of "near-term growth risks", especially in the real estate sector.

On Wall Street, the Dow shed 1.60 per cent, the S&P 500 fell 1.51 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 1.56 per cent.

Earlier London's FTSE 100 ended 1.04 per cent lower, the CAC 40 in Paris tumbled 1.81 per cent and Frankfurt's DAX slipped 1.34 per cent.

Adding to the selling pressure was data showing industrial production in Germany, the eurozone's biggest economy, slumped 4.0 per cent in August. That came a day after statistics office Destatis said the country's factory orders dived 5.7 per cent in the same month.

On currency markets the dollar tumbled in New York to 108.02 yen, well off the 109.22 yen touched earlier in the day in Tokyo. However, it edged up slightly to 108.34 yen early Wednesday.

The euro bought US$1.2634 compared with US$1.2667, holding up despite the disappointing German figures.

The single currency was also at 137.00 yen, up from 136.84 yen in New York.

The downbeat assessment by the IMF fuelled concerns over demand for oil, sending prices of the black gold tumbling on Tuesday.

And those losses continued Wednesday in Asia. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell 30 cents to a 17-month low of US$88.55 a barrel and Brent crude for November tumbled 37 cents to US$91.74 - lows not seen since mid-2012.

Gold was at US$1,211.70 an ounce against US$1,206.14 late Tuesday. - AFP

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