HONG KONG, China - March 1, 2009 - Asian stocks tumbled Monday after the U.S. economy withered at its fastest pace in more than a quarter century, heightening doubts that the global economy can recover later this year. Japan's benchmark fell 4 percent.
As in the U.S. and Europe, investors across the region were shaken after figures Friday showed gross domestic product in the world's largest economy shrank at a 6.2 percent annual pace at the end of last year.
The decline, worse than most economists had expected, was the country's sharpest since 1982.
Adding to fears that the world economic crisis won't end anytime soon were more troubling signs that banks may need still more capital to cope with crippling losses.
On Friday, Citigroup Inc. agreed to turn over a huge stake to the U.S. government. And European banking giant HSBC PLC is expected to unveil plans to raise 12 billion pounds ($17 billion) in a new rights issue when it reports results later Monday.
Meanwhile, faltering insurer American International Group is expected to get another massive bailout.
“You're seeing the U.S. is sinking lower and lower, and we're still desperately searching for a bottom,” said John Mar, co-head of sales trading at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. in Hong Kong. “It's death by a thousand cuts, a slow death right now.”