The sharp ups and downs of the football World Cup were reflected in stock markets globally last month, but investors seemed particularly anxious about Asia.
Despite a positive macro-level picture and stronger fundamentals than in the West, liquidity and turnover were down across major Asian markets, according to agency broker ITG. Liquidity fell by an average of 15% month-on-month and 5% compared to June 2009, and turnover saw a particularly sharp drop by 26% from May and 23% year-on-year.
In fact, several markets -- Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan -- hit their lowest average daily turnover in the past 12 months. That was a particularly striking swing for Japan, which posted annual turnover highs in May.
Turnover in Japan fell by 26% month-on-month to just over $15 billion, a 24% drop from June 2009, but spreads remained stable. Hong Kong posted a 26% drop from May and a 35% drop from last year to a daily average of $4.7 billion, with spreads dropping slightly to 27bp. Australia was down 29% from May to $3.5 billion, and spreads widened 4% to 24bp. Singapore fell 34% from May and 28% from June 2009 to $0.8 billion, while spreads widened 6.5% to 65bp. South Korean turnover dropped 23% from May and 8% from June 2009 to $5.5 billion, with spreads slightly narrower. Finally, Taiwan saw an 18% drop month-on-month and 34% from June 2009 to just under $3 billion, while spreads stayed almost flat.
Meanwhile, preliminary indications suggest that regional trading costs fell from the first to the second quarter of the year to a weighted average of 48 basis points, says ITG. Australia showed the largest drop, down 25%, followed by Taiwan (down 20% to 45bp), Hong Kong (down 10% to 54bp), South Korea (down 7% to 50bp) and Singapore (down 4% to 27bp).
Japan is the only market where transaction costs rose -- by a whopping 53% to 51bp -- but ITG says this figure seems high and is likely to be revised down as more client data comes in.