World Markets

Asia's meltdown: How policymakers are reacting

Neelabh Chaturvedi and Ansuya Harjani
Investors look at computer screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Qingdao, Shandong province, China.
China Daily | Reuters

Authorities in Asia are stepping up efforts to limit the damage from Monday's vicious selloff, which left markets across the region nursing heavy losses.

China's led the declines, ending down 8.5 percent - its biggest one-day percentage fall since February 2007 - and erasing its gains for the year. But no market has been spared the turmoil triggered by a host of concerns ranging from China's slowdown to the Federal Reserve's impending rate hike.

After China, the worst hit markets were Philippines, Vietnam and Japan, where stock indexes plunged between 5 and 6.5 percent. The mounting losses prompted mixed reactions from policymakers.

Here is what authorities have said and the actions they have taken so far.


On Sunday China gave pension funds managed by local governments the green light to invest in the stock market for the first time. Pension funds, which could previously only invest in bank deposits and treasuries, will now be able to invest up to 30 percent of their net assets in the country's stocks, equity funds and balanced funds.

Together the funds have assets of more than two trillion yuan ($322 billion) that can be invested, meaning about 600 billion yuan ($97 billion) could theoretically go into the stock market, according to state media.


The financial regulator unveiled a rule on Sunday that discouraged investors from short-selling local stocks, in the hope of propping up the local market.

The new rule from the Financial Supervisory Commission, which came into effect Monday, prevents investors from selling short a stock at a price lower than the previous session's closing price. The regulator also said it would encourage local financial services companies to buy back their own shares and buy other Taiwanese stocks.

South Korea

South Korea's foreign exchange authorities were suspected of selling dollars early on Monday as part of efforts to reduce market volatility, several foreign exchange dealers told Reuters. The won touched 1,200.0 against the dollar shortly after markets opened on Monday, after which authorities were thought to have dumped the greenback to support the local currency, dealers said.


Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said he would not have any hesitation in using foreign exchange reserves as appropriate to reduce volatility in currency markets. He added that relative to other countries, India was in a good position.


Indonesian central bank governor Agus Martowardojo said Bank Indonesia was always in the market and added that he believed the rupiah was undervalued. He noted that the central bank would not follow competitive devaluation of the currency.

- Reuters contributed to this report.

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