SYDNEY, Australia - Stocks in Asia tumbled on Tuesday with fears about a divided America, ahead of the president's impeachment trial, and concern over a new outbreak of the coronavirus in China.
In addition the IMF revised lower its global economic outlook as a slowdown in India and other emerging markets begins to bite.
The main concern was the coronavirus, with markets aware of the damage the SARS epidemic had on the Asian region.
"It's an essential enough development that markets will monitor it on the risk radar as, if things turn critical, it could provide a massive blow to the airline industry and a knockout punch to local tourism," Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiCorp., was quoted as saying Tuesday by the Reuters Thomson news agency.
At the close of trading Tuesday, the Nikkei 225 in Japan was down 218.95 points or 0.91% at 23,864.56.
China's Shanghai Composite fell by 43.65 points or 1.41% to 3,052.14.
The Australian All Ordinaries slipped 15.80 points or 0.22% to 7,180.50.
But the real damage was in Hong Kong, the epicentre of the SARS crisis. The Hang Seng dived 776.06 points or 2.70% to 28,019.85.
On the currency markets, the euro was little down slightly at 1.1092. The British pound was barely clinging to the 1.3000 handle, last trading at 1.3008.
The Japanese yen edged higher to 109.96.
The Swiss franc was little changed at 0.9679.
The Canadian dollar was slightly lower at 1.3067. The Australian and New Zealand dollar, large recipients of Asian tourists, dropped sharply to 0.6857 and 0.6598 respectively.
Markets in the U.S. were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Memorial Day.