Seoul - Emerging-market stocks fell, led by the biggest tumble since 2008 for Chinese property companies, after the government ordered stricter real-estate curbs and service industries’ growth slowed.
Hungary’s forint declined to a five-week low against the euro.
Poly Real Estate Group sank the most in more than 3 1/2 years as the Shanghai Stock Exchange Property Index slid 9.3 percent.
Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, headed for a record low in Moscow on plans to cut output.
Ciech SA declined to the lowest level since November 16 after the Polish chemical producer’s loss widened.
The forint weakened 0.6 percent versus the euro on speculation the central bank may use foreign-currency reserves to stimulate the economy.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slipped 1.1 percent to 1,041.78 as of 1:10 p.m. in London, retreating for a second day.
China’s Cabinet on March 1 called for higher down payments and interest rates for second-home mortgages in some cities and ordered stricter enforcement of taxes on sales.
The nation’s services industries expanded at the slowest pace since September, a report showed yesterday as legislators gathered for an annual meeting set to start tomorrow.
“Concerns that China’s economic recovery may not be as strong as previously thought because of strict property policies are prompting investors to take profits,” Kim Dae Young, a fund manager at KB Asset Management, which manages about $28 billion in assets, said by phone from Seoul.
“There’s also a bit of caution” as Chinese legislators begin an annual conference tomorrow, during which the government usually announces economic targets, Kim said.
Benchmark gauges in Russia, Poland, Hungary and South Africa retreated at least 0.4 percent. Brazil’s Bovespa index lost 0.6 percent.
Rusal retreated 3.5 percent, leading declines in Moscow after saying it plans to proceed with output cuts in 2013.
Ciech lost 1.8 percent in Warsaw after reporting a fourth quarter loss of 88.8 million zloty ($27.91 million) from an 8.8 million-zloty loss a year earlier.
ArcelorMittal South Africa, an integrated steel producer, dropped 4.1 percent, the first decline in three days.
Impala Platinum slid 3.8 percent in Johannesburg.
The rand fell for a third day against the dollar to the weakest level since January 28.
The forint declined and Hungary’s BUX Index snapped three days of gains.
he country’s former economy minister Gyorgy Matolcsy began his six-year tenure as Magyar Nemzeti Bank president by rewriting the central bank’s founding document to concentrate power in his hands.
Mihaly Varga, who is taking over from Matolcsy in the government, said Hungary has “ideas” for using the reserves for stimulus or helping foreign-currency borrowings.
Varga was speaking in an interview with TV2 today.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index lost 1.9 percent.
Arabtec, a construction company, dropped 10 percent, falling for a fifth day.
Orascom Construction Industries, the Cairo-based company transferring to Amsterdam, dropped 2.7 percent, the biggest decline since December 6.
The company said Egyptian authorities haven’t informed it of new tax claims after imposing a travel ban on billionaire Chief Executive Officer Nassef Sawiris.
Turkey’s benchmark index gained 0.6 percent, rising for a sixth day, the longest winning streak since January 24.
Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, a Turkish state-run lender, gained 1.4 percent to the highest since February 4.
Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said he believes Turkey’s antitrust regulator will be “fair and measured” in its probe against 12 banks.
Turkish Airlines, surged 2.5 percent.
The company said it is still in talks with Airbus SAS and Boeing regarding purchasing airplanes.
MSCI’s emerging-markets gauge has declined 1.2 percent this year, compared with a 4.7 percent gain in the MSCI World Index of developed-country stocks.
The measure of developing nations trades at 10.2 times projected 12-month earnings versus a multiple of 13.2 times for the MSCI World, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“For the first time since June 2012, there are now more bearish investors than bullish ones,” Benoit Anne, head of emerging-markets strategy at Societe Generale, said in an e- mailed note, citing the bank’s monthly survey.
Considering that the bullish sentiment was extremely high just a couple of months ago, this represents a dramatic change, he said.
The extra yield investors demand to hold emerging-market debt over US Treasuries was little changed at 290, according to the JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index.
Nine out of 10 industry groups in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell, with the gauges of material and financial companies losing at least 1.3 percent.
Posco, Asia’s biggest steelmaker by output, sank the most since January 28, and LG Chem. dropped 3 percent, leading the materials index to its lowest level in three months.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong sank 2.1 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 3.7 percent, the most among major benchmark indexes in Asia.
Taiwan’s Taiex index lost 1.2 percent.
Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite index retreated 1 percent from a record high, while the rupiah weakened for a second day.
Vietnam’s VN Index slid 1.8 percent, snapping a three-day gain.
Trading volume for companies in the Shanghai Composite was 25 percent higher than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
About 17 percent fewer shares in the Kospi index changed hands.
China’s non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 54.5 in February from 56.2 in January, the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said in a statement yesterday.
Poly Real Estate slid 10 percent in Shanghai, its second day of declines.
China Resources Land and Sino-Ocean Land both retreated at least 8.9 percent in Hong Kong.
Guangzhou R&F Properties lost 11 percent in Hong Kong.
China property stocks accounted for the five biggest declines on the MSCI’s emerging-markets gauge today.
Chinese cities facing “relatively large” pressure from rising house prices must further tighten home-purchase limits, according to a statement from the State Council.
The government will study the experiences of cities that have piloted the property tax and will accelerate and widen the trials to “guide reasonable” housing consumption.
Hyosung Corp., a South Korean maker of synthetic and chemical products, fell 6.7 percent in Seoul, after its vice president resigned and sold his stake in the company.
NHN Corp., South Korea’s biggest Internet search-engine operator, rallied 4.6 percent, the best performer on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
A decision by the nation’s Regulatory Reform Committee to scrap a proposal to tighten regulations on web-board games should boost sentiment toward game stocks including NHN, Woori Investment & Securities wrote in a report today.
Pegatron Corp. advanced 3.4 percent in Taipei after the Commercial Times reported the company got Apple’s low-end iPhone orders.
UEM Land Holdings, a Malaysian property developer, rose 4.2 percent to the highest level since August 4, 2011.
The Employees Provident Fund, Malaysia’s largest pension fund, bought 1 million shares in the company, according to a stock exchange filing on March 1. - Bloomberg News