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Major Asian Markets Continue Declines


Major Asian stock markets fell for the third straight session Thursday, because of ongoing concern about the global economy.

Stocks in China have been especially volatile this week. Thursday, the Shanghai index closed nearly three percent lower.

Shares in Hong Kong dropped one-and-a-half percent, while Japan's market closed about nine-tenths of a percent lower.

Smaller markets in New Zealand and the Philippines rebounded.

The current slump began on the Shanghai stock exchange Tuesday, when the main index dropped nearly nine percent and helped spark a worldwide fall in stock prices.

Investors continued to dump Asian shares and emerging market bonds on Wednesday, although U.S. stocks rebounded and the main indexes recovered some of the previous day's losses.

Some analysts blame the global sell-off on fears of a possible slowdown in the Chinese and U.S. economies. Others note the markets have recently hit record highs and Tuesday's stock market plunge could indicate a price correction.

The head of the U.S. central bank, Ben Bernanke, says officials are monitoring the markets closely. The chairman of the Federal Reserve told a congressional committee the markets seem to be working normally and well.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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