Asia markets in retreat as Greece talks go to wire

GMT 04:35 2015 Friday ,26 June

Arab Today, arab today Asia markets in retreat as Greece talks go to wire

Asia markets
Hong Kong - AFP

Asian markets suffered a second successive day of selling on Friday after another round of Greek debt reform talks ended without agreement just days before it must repay a debt to avoid default and possible eurozone exit.

The euro also turned lower as investors look ahead to the weekend, when finance ministers said they will hold more last-minute negotiations to break a five-month impasse.

Tokyo fell 0.54 percent, Hong Kong lost 1.02 percent and Sydney shed 1.64 percent while Shanghai tumbled 2.85 percent as investors cash in after a year-long rally. However, Seoul added 0.24 percent.

Despite marathon talks on Thursday Greece and its EU-IMF creditors were unable to reach an agreement to overhaul its bailout terms that would unlock billions in much-needed cash for Athens.

The talks had meant to pave the way for European Union leaders to endorse an accord at a full summit but ended abruptly, deciding to try again on Saturday.

"We have not made the necessary progress. In some areas one even gets the impression that we have moved backwards," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters as she arrived for the Brussels summit.

With both sides blaming the other and neither willing to budge on key issues -- mostly tax and pension reform -- investors fear Greece will not get its cash by a June 30 deadline, leaving it in default and likely crashing out of the eurozone or even the European Union.

The deadlock once again hit US shares. The Dow fell 0.42 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.30 percent and the Nasdaq eased 0.20 percent.

European shares mostly retreated although Athens ended slightly higher.

Early on Friday Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said Saturday's meeting would be crucial to finding a deal.

"We have to keep working because time is pressing and the Eurogroup on Saturday will have a decisive importance," Merkel told a news conference in Brussels.

"All the leaders supported the idea that everything must be done to find a solution on Saturday."

The euro slipped to $1.1182 and 138.05 yen in Tokyo Friday from $1.1206 and 138.53 yen in New York

The dollar was at 123.43 yen against 123.62 yen in US trade

In China, markets were again in retreat after last week's more than 13 percent plunge as retail investors began to cash in shares they had bought on margin -- borrowing cash to trade. Such trades sent Shanghai soaring more than 140 percent in a year.

Adding to selling pressure were recently introduced rules tightening up on margin trading and a slew of new listings that have diverted cash.

On oil markets prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery fell six cents to $59.64 while Brent crude for August gained 19 cents to $63.39.

Gold fetched $1,174.36 compared with $1,175.88 late Thursday.

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