Asia’s bourses have closed for the last time in 2008, a year during which they suffered their worst annual performance on record.
There was little to cheer about after a miserable year. In Tokyo one investor said: “I will do my best to keep healthy next year and hope for the same for my investments.” Another said: “I want to believe that the stock market has hit the bottom and I hope it will gradually recover in the coming year.” China’s Shanghai exchange suffered worst down by two thirds from the start of the year. India lost just over half its value, Singapore nearly half, Hong Kong 47 percent, Tokyo’s Japan’s Nikkei average was down 42 percent – the worst in its 58-year history – Sydney and South Korea also tumbled. Japan, the world’s second biggest economy, has been particularly badly hurt by the global economic crisis and the recent strengthening of its currency which has eroded exporters’ overseas earnings. Most of Asia’s markets will start the new trading year hoping that the worst is over and pledging to be more cautious. Market players are reconciled to a tough 2009 but said they were counting on further economic stimulus packages to stem the economic downturn.