Asian markets down on US fears
Market watch top headlines
HONG KONG, Nov 12 AFP
November 12 2012, 9:50PM
Asian markets were mixed as news that Japan's economy shrank in the July-September quarter and fears over the US "fiscal cliff" offset another round of healthy Chinese data.
The euro on Monday lost the gains it made earlier in the day after Greek MPs said they had approved a 2013 budget that would secure the latest batch of bailout cash that will help it avoid bankruptcy.
Tokyo fell 0.93 per cent, or 81.16 points, to 8,676.44, Sydney lost 0.31 per cent, or 14.0 points, to end at 4,448.0 and Seoul shed 0.19 per cent, or 3.54 points, to 1,900.87.
Hong Kong added 0.210 per cent, or 45.92 points, to 21,430.30 and Shanghai was 0.49 per cent, or 10.21 points, higher at 2,079.27.
Recent indications that the Chinese economy is emerging from a drawn-out slumber were reinforced on Saturday when figures showed exports rose 11.6 per cent year-on-year in October, following a near 10 per cent jump in September.
The numbers, which were released as the Communist Party holds its 18th congress and prepares for a once-a-decade leadership transition, came a day after officials said industrial output surged last month, while government asset investment also saw a healthy rise.
Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the growth slowdown, which has impacted the global economy, had been "effectively curbed".
However, while the world's No.2 economy continues to show signs of a resurgence, Japan on Monday said gross domestic product had shrunk 0.9 per cent in the July-September period from the previous three months.
It comes after Japan posted its worst September trade figures for 30 years as exports slumped, with analysts blaming the continued strength of the yen, a territorial spat with Beijing and the debilitating debt crisis in Europe.
In forex trade the euro bought $US1.2712, compared with $US1.2709 in New York late on Friday. It also edged up to Y101.97 from Y100.99.
The dollar was trading at Y79.44 against Y79.47.
The euro was given a little support from the news out of Athens that the parliament had passed a 2013 budget full of swinging cuts deemed necessary to meet creditors' demands for its next round of rescue money.
The vote passed with a comfortable majority of 167 deputies in favour from the 300-seat chamber but markets are still edgy until a decision is finally made by Greece's lenders on whether to release the much-needed money.
Eyes are also on the United States, where rival politicians must reach a deal to avoid a fiscal cliff of deep spending cuts and huge tax hikes which would come into force on January 1 and which observers say would tip the country back into recession.
The package was put together after a protracted but possibly reckless compromise was reached last year - with the expectation a less painful plan could be agreed - to raise the country's borrowing cap.
Oil prices were mixed, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, gaining seven US cents to $US86.14 a barrel in the afternoon, while Brent North Sea crude for December delivery shed eight US cents to $US109.32.
Gold was at $US1,733.50 by 1905 AEDT, compared with $US1,730.30 late on Friday.
In other markets:
- Taipei fell 0.35 per cent, or 25.47 points, to 7,267.75.
Smartphone maker HTC ended up by its seven per cent daily limit at $Tw241.5 after reaching a global patent settlement with US giant Apple. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.55 per cent higher at $Tw91.3.
- Manila closed flat, edging up 1.91 points to 5,470.70.
Ayala Corp gained 0.45 per cent to 450 pesos while Metro Pacific Investment rose 3.04 per cent to 4.40 pesos.
- Wellington added 0.66 per cent, or 26.08 points, to 3,983.99.
Fletcher Building rose 3.3 per cent to $NZ7.48 and Telecom was 1.04 per cent higher at $NZ2.44.
By Danny McCord