Asia stocks mostly down, euro sinks as Greece delays payment

GMT 03:42 2015 Friday ,05 June

Arab Today, arab today Asia stocks mostly down, euro sinks as Greece delays payment

Asia stocks
Hong Kong - AFP

Asian markets mostly sank on Friday, following Wall Street shares lower as the IMF cut its US growth outlook, while traders nervously watch events in Europe after Greece tied up a deal to delay its latest debt repayments.

While the delay gives Athens until the end of the month to reach an agreement with its creditors as it looks to reform its bailout terms, the euro retreated against the dollar and yen on concerns that stumbling blocks remain.

Tokyo fell 0.44 percent by lunch, Hong Kong lost 0.20 percent and Seoul gave back 0.38 percent, but Sydney was flat and Shanghai rose 1.54 percent.

Wall Street retreated after the International Monetary Fund slashed its forecasts for US growth this year to 2.5 percent from a previous estimate of 3.1 percent, citing a ports strike, bad winter weather, a strong dollar and the oil downturn.

Fund head Christine Lagarde also called on the Federal Reserve to refrain from hiking interest rates until 2016, saying conditions were not supportive of a move this year.
Her comments come as markets await the release Friday of US jobs growth for May, which is used by the Fed to guide rate policy.

The OPEC oil cartel will also hold a meeting later in the day to determine production levels, with expectations that it will continue pumping at the current high levels, which would put downward pressure on crude prices.

The Dow fell 0.94 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.86 percent and the Nasdaq shed 0.79 percent.

On currency markets the dollar was at 124.48 yen against 124.37 yen late Thursday in New York.

The euro slipped to $1.1206 and 139.50 yen from $1.1239 and 139.79 yen in US trade.

The single currency is well off the $1.1283 and 140.25 yen seen earlier Thursday in Tokyo as Greece and its creditors struggle to reach a solution to overhaul its bailout.

Late Thursday the country bought some time for further talks by agreeing with the IMF to bundle four looming loan payments into one totalling 1.6 billion euros.

The move gives Athens until the end of the month to hammer out a deal that will unlock billions of euros needed to service its debts. There is a fear that a default could eventually force the country to leave the eurozone.

However, a Greek government source said there were key differences between the two sides, describing the creditors' position as "extreme" and "unacceptable".

Greece is seeking less harsh fiscal and reform requirements while the creditors are unhappy with efforts by Athens to roll back some earlier reform promises.

"The proverbial can has been kicked down the road toward the end of the month," said Raiko Shareef, markets strategist at the Bank of New Zealand, according to Bloomberg News.

Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery fell five cents to $57.95 while Brent crude for July gained four cents to $62.07.

Gold fetched $1,177.96 compared with $1,183.30 late Thursday.


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