Asian stocks slide after US debt downgrade

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GMT - 3 Hours Asian stocks slide after US debt downgrade

Post by εﺓз• » ιη∂αġι яσ¢χ « • on Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:27 am

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HONG KONG: Asian stocks fell on Monday after last week's historic downgrade of the United States' credit rating, which compounded concerns over the world's biggest economy as well as the global outlook.

The falls were echoed by big losses in oil while gold surged to another record as investors moved out of risky assets.

They also follow a huge sell-off on Friday caused by mounting problems in the eurozone amid growing expectations that Italy and Spain could need a bailout.

The combination of the eurozone debt problem and Standard & Poor's downgrade led to frantic talks between financial chiefs and central bankers of the G7 and European Central Bank at the weekend as they tried to prevent another day of market turmoil.

Tokyo slipped 1.31 percent by the break, Hong Kong shed 3.59 percent, Sydney fell 1.28 percent and Wellington slumped five percent, while Seoul was 1.73 percent lower and Shanghai lost two percent.

Global markets dived Friday -- before the S&P announcement -- after a fresh batch of weak US economic data and a warning from the head of the European Commission that the eurozone crisis had likely spread to other economies.

"Like others, we had been concerned about the Lehman-like risks of a Greek default," Brown Brothers Harriman said in a note to clients, referring to the Wall Street bank whose collapse in 2008 ushered in the financial crisis.

"Compound this with marked weakness of the US economy, a distracting debt ceiling debate, and now the downgrade and the worsening of the European debt crisis, and... by a number of metrics, financial conditions are the worst since the Lehman debacle," it added, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

However, IG Markets analyst Ben Potter said he expected shares to stage a recovery from the devastation on Thursday and Friday, which saw the Dow Jones suffer its biggest fall since 2008. "We feel there is a reasonable chance for some buying interest as the market begins to realise that it has overreacted to the downside," he said.

"No one really fully understands the full implications of this credit downgrade, which is why we have seen the market sold off hard. It's a classic case of sell first, ask questions later."

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Friday cut the US debt rating to AA+ with a negative outlook from the top notch triple-A for the first time. The decision sparked criticism from Washington, with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saying the agency had shown "terrible judgment" and assuring investors US Treasuries were as safe as ever.

With fears running high that eurozone debt could plunge the world into a new financial crisis, the European Central Bank promised to make major purchases of eurozone government bonds.

Fears of a global meltdown, which some see as potentially worse than the 2008 collapse, sent leaders into a flurry of phone calls between Berlin, London, Paris and Washington to stem the tide.

Officials from G7 nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- pledged to "take all necessary measures to support financial stability and growth" as nervous global markets re-opened.

The euro briefly rose past $1.4370 at 2200 GMT Sunday on the ECB announcement of the major purchases plan. It was trading at $1.4329 in Tokyo afternoon trade.

The euro was changing hands at $1.4281 in New York late Friday, before the Standard & Poor's downgrade. But against the yen the euro was at 109.41 from 111.01 in New York Friday, while the dollar slipped to 78.10 yen from 78.48 yen.

Gold opened at a record $1,686.00-$1,687.00 an ounce in Hong Kong, well up from Friday's close of $1,655.50-$1,656.50, with investors piling into the safe-haven in times of economic uncertainty.

On oil markets New York's main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery dived $2.34, or 2.69 percent, to $84.54 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for September sank $2.80, or 2.56 percent, to $106.57.

On other markets Singapore fell 2.88 percent, Taipei was 0.79 percent lower and Manila fell 2.31 percent. (AFP)
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