Asia stocks sink, euro rebounds in late trade

GMT 09:29 2015 Friday ,05 June

Arab Today, arab today Asia stocks sink, euro rebounds in late trade

Asian markets
Hong Kong - AFP

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

The euro reversed morning losses to push higher late in the day after Germany's central bank raised its growth forecasts for the next three years.

Tokyo slipped 0.13 percent, or 27.29 points, to close at 20,460.90, Sydney shed 0.11 percent, or 5.80 points, to 5,498.50 -- a fifth-straight loss -- and Seoul was down 0.23 percent, or 4.76 points, at 2,068.10.

Hong Kong tumbled 1.06 percent, or 291.73 points, to 27,260.16 but Shanghai rose 1.54 percent, or 75.99 points to 5,023.10 -- above 5,000 points for the first time since January 2008.

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.

- Euro recovers -

On currency markets the dollar was at 124.52 yen against 124.37 yen late Thursday in New York.

The euro rebounded to sit at $1.1260 and 140.48 yen in late trade, from $1.1239 and 139.79 yen in the United States.

The single currency was given a boost after the Bundesbank upgraded said it expected Europe's biggest economy to grow 1.7 percent in 2015, by 1.8 percent in 2016 and 1.5 percent in 2017. That compares with previous estimates of 1.0 percent this year and 1.6 percent next year.

Adding to the upbeat sentiment was a report showing German factory orders climbed for a second month in April.

But eyes remain on Greece after it bought some time Thursday 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 slipped. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery fell 44 cents to $57.56 while Brent crude for July slid 34 cents to $61.69.

Gold fetched $1,176.56 compared with $1,183.30 late Thursday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei was slightly lower, edging down 8.50 points to 9,340.13.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co lost 0.71 percent to Tw$140.0 while Hon Hai Precision Industry eased 0.21 percent to Tw$94.3.

-- Wellington was marginally higher, adding 2.46 points to 5,867.90.

-- Manila closed 0.36 percent, or 26.95 points, lower at 7,526.70.

Universal Robina sank 3.26 percent to 187 pesos, SM Prime Holdings was down 0.51 percent at 19.40 pesos and Ayala Land fell 1.02 percent to 38.80 pesos.

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