Asian markets mostly down, euro picks up

GMT 05:13 2015 Tuesday ,09 June

Arab Today, arab today Asian markets mostly down, euro picks up

Asian markets
Hong Kong - AFP

Most Asian markets edged down on Tuesday, with Shanghai and Hong Kong hit by another weak batch of indicators, but the euro was supported by upbeat German trade data.

Wall Street provided a negative lead as last week's strong jobs report fanned expectations that the Federal Reserve will increase borrowing rates soon.

Tokyo slipped 0.70 percent owing to a pickup in the yen, while Hong Kong lost 0.27 percent and Shanghai eased 0.12 percent, while Seoul was marginally lower. But Sydney gained 0.39 percent.

In the morning China's National Bureau of Statistics said the consumer price index, a country's main gauge of inflation, came in at 1.2 percent in May, down from April's 1.5 percent.

The figure is the latest showing signs of weakness in the world's second biggest economy and reignite worries about the country slipping into a painful spiral of deflation, which could further drag on any recovery.

Tuesday's data also come a day after a report showing a heavier-than-expected fall in imports, a seventh-straight drop, as Beijing struggles to get growth back on track.

In foreign exchange markets the dollar was at 124.64 yen early Tuesday, higher than 124.47 yen in US trade late Monday but still well below 125.52 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday owing to profit-taking.

The greenback also dipped Monday after media reports that US President Barack Obama had told Group of Seven leaders in Germany that the currency's recent strength "posed a problem".

But the White House denied that quickly, and Obama told reporters: "I did not say that. And I make a practice of not commenting on the daily fluctuations of the dollar or any other currency."

The euro was at $1.1295 and 140.71 yen Tuesday from $1.1293 and 140.57 yen on Monday in New York.

The single currency recovered most of its recent losses on the back of data showing a widening of Germany's trade surplus in April as exports grew 1.9 percent and imports fell 1.3 percent.

However, the euro remains fragile as traders watch stalled debt reform talks between Greece and its creditors, with the two unable to reach an agreement that will unlock much needed funds for Athens to avert a default and possible eurozone exit.

In New York the Dow lost 0.46 percent, the S&P 500 shed 0.65 percent and the Nasdaq fell 0.92 percent.

Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities Co. in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News: "We still have concerns over US monetary policy and Greece hanging over our heads.

"If the US moves towards raising rates, bonds will be sold, and if that turns into a big move, there'll also be consequences for stocks."

Oil prices were higher. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery rose 22 cents to $58.36 while Brent crude for July gained 20 cents to $62.89.

Gold fetched $1,176.01 compared with $1,174.47 late Monday.

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