China has awoken to the unpleasant news today (31 March 2016) that the nation's sovereign credit rating has been downgraded by international ratings agency Standard & Poor (S&P).
The body has cut the country's rating from stable to negative, although it has maintained china's AA- standing.
A statement from S&P read: "Our outlook revision on Hong Kong reflects our similar action on the People's Republic of China ... which reflected economic imbalances in China that are unlikely to diminish at the pace we previously expected."
In its latest full trading session, the Chinese Shanghai Composite Index delivered a marginal upturn of 0.12% in value, although this session was completed prior to S&P's announcement.
Elsewhere, Australia's ASX All Ordinaries Index delivered a concerted uplift of 1.38%. However, the positivity for major Asian markets stopped there, as losses were recorded for both the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index (down 0.13%) and the Japanese Nikkei Stock Average 225 (down 0.71%) on Thursday.
This brings a close to a somewhat topsy-turvy quarter, with hopes of a positive start to the new year dashed with heavy losses across Asian markets. This was followed by something of a recovery from mid-February to mid-March, and a final slump in trading as the first three months of 2016 have come to an end.
However, all attention now turns to April and the new financial year, with many high-profile company announcements expected in the coming weeks that could help to once more lift investor confidence and deliver a lasting upturn for Asian market trading.