Asia’s financial equities declined on Thursday, pushing down the broader markets, as Credit Suisse’s troubles raised fears of a global banking crisis.
The severity of the losses has been mitigated by the news that the troubled megabank has accepted the Swiss central bank’s offer of financial support in order to remain solvent.
The lender announced it would borrow up to 50 billion Swiss Francs from the Swiss National Bank ($53,7 billion). Wednesday, investors drove shares of Switzerland’s second-largest bank down by as much as 30 percent.
The bank described the loan as a “decisive measure to enhance its liquidity in advance.”
The Topix Banks Index, a key index that measures Japanese financial institutions, fell as much as 6.4% during the morning session. It eventually reduced its losses and was trading 3.7% lower at its closing price. This week, the index has dropped more than 8%.
Standard Chartered (SCBFF) fell over 4% in Hong Kong. HSBC Holdings (HSBCPRA) declined 2.5%. The local bank BOC Hong Kong fell 3.1%.
Shinhan Financial Company and KB Financial Group fell 1.2% and 0.5%, respectively, in South Korea.
Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities, a Sydney-based online broker, stated, “We are witnessing a definite erosion of investor confidence in both the technology and banking industries.” It is quite improbable that these concerns will just dissipate in the near future.
“Regardless of balance sheets, a loss of investor and depositor confidence can bring any bank to its knees,” he continued.
In early trading, the Nikkei 225 (N225) was down as much as 2.2%. Last trading was 0.9% lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI) dropped 1.3%. The Shanghai Composite Index declined by 0.4%.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) dipped as high as 1.4% before reversing course and closing flat.
When investors flocked to conventional safe-haven currencies such as the greenback, the Korean won plummeted against the U.S. dollar, falling about 1% in morning trading. The Chinese yuan weakened against the dollar by 0.1%.
Investors were already suffering from the fast collapse of two U.S. banks within a week when Credit Suisse shares plunged to a new record low on Wednesday, sending banking equities in Europe and New York tumbling.
The bankruptcies of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank had already prompted US regulators to adopt emergency measures on Sunday to protect deposits at both institutions.
Marty Dropkin, head of equities for Asia Pacific at Fidelity International, stated, “Markets may become disorderly as a result of the aftermath from Silicon Valley Bank’s failure, as well as persistent concern over the future course of the global economy and interest rates.”
He saw that businesses had started to provide more cautious counsel. There have been an increasing number of announcements of layoffs.
“There are clear signals that companies’ profit margins are beginning to experience pressure,” he said. We anticipate a fall in earnings this year.