–          Heavy reliance on exports that has driven Asia’s powerful growth is now turning into the its worst enemy. Exports accounted for 46.7% of gross domestic product in Asia, excluding Japan, in 2007. That is a jump of 11 percentage points more than the comparable figure in 1998, during the last economic crisis in the region. In other words, Asia is now 30% more reliant on exports than it was less than a decade ago.

–          Feeble corporate profit reports

–          Sinking commodities prices

Japan

–          Japanese giants Sony and Toyota, as well as South Korea’s Samsung, the world’s largest maker of memory chips, flat-screen televisions and liquid crystal displays, posted weakened profits and sales outlooks. Toyota’s quarterly sales fell for the first time in seven years.

–          Canon, the world’s biggest maker of digital cameras, dropped 9 percent.

–          Japanese companies’ plight has been exacerbated by the resurgent yen, which rose faster against the dollar in the past week than it has in the past 10 years. The currency’s value is rapidly eroding the competitiveness of Japanese exports, which were already plummeting due to collapsing demand in the United States and Europe.

Korea

–          Samsung fell 14 percent yesterday alone.

–          The South Korean government has injected $130 billion into the country’s banks, but that failed this week to stabilize markets or prop up the country’s currency. Stocks have fallen about 35 percent this month, and the won continues to be the worst-performing major currency in the world, down about 35 percent against the dollar this year.

–          Much of the decline in the won and in Korean shares has been triggered by foreign investors pulling their money out of the country’s stock market. Foreign ownership of Korean stocks has fallen to less than 30 percent after peaking at about 42 percent four years ago, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

India

–          In India, television news channels called it a “black Friday” as bearish investors were undeterred by the run-up to the most auspicious Hindu festival of good fortunes, Diwali, which is Tuesday.

–          Lower consumer and corporate spending in the United States is likely to ripple around the world. “The global turmoil has had an indirect knock-down effect on India,” Duvvuri Subbarao, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said at a news conference at which he lowered India’s growth projection to 7.5 percent for this year. “Consequently, trade for emerging economies is becoming difficult.”

–          India’s rupee fell to a record low against the dollar.

China

–          “When you look at worldwide supply and demand, China is the gorilla,” said Charles Bradford, metals analyst at Soleil Securities. “Near term, it looks like there is no bottom to the [metals] markets.”

–          China has also trimmed the importation of other materials that have fueled its spectacular run of growth. Bradford noted that ocean freight rates for iron ore from Brazil to China are down to $12 per ton today from about $108 last May.

Compiled from WSJ and Washington Post