Asian markets fell yesterday and the euro sat near multi-year lows amid growing fears Spain will need a full bailout.
Japanese shares were also hurt by news the country had posted a record trade deficit in the first six months of the year as energy costs soared and exports to key markets tumbled while the strong yen also weighed.
Tech shares were hit by Apple’s disappointing earnings report.
Tokyo closed down 1.44%, or 122.19 points, at 8,365.90, Seoul fell 1.37%, or 24.62 points to 1,769.31, and Sydney lost 0.23%, or 9.3 points, to close at 4,123.9.
Hong Kong closed 0.14% lower, shedding 25.87 points to 18,877.33, and Shanghai eased 0.49%, or 10.44 points, to 2,136.15.
Eyes are firmly on Europe, where Madrid remains in focus as its borrowing costs for benchmark 10-year bonds reached 7.621% on Tuesday, well inside the danger zone considered too much to sustain.
The figure is also around the levels that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek bailouts, raising the prospect that Spain will have to go cap-in-hand.
Economists fear help for Spain, one of the region’s biggest economies, could cost more than the previous three put together, putting pressure on the eurozone bailout fund.
Also Tuesday, the finance minister of Catalonia, Spain’s second biggest region, said he may have to ask for access to an 18bn-euro ($22bn) fund set up by Madrid to rescue struggling regions.
Those comments came just a week after another region, Valencia, became the first to apply for help.
Economists are increasingly in unison that a eurozone bailout of up to €100bn agreed for Spain’s banks will be insufficient to get the country through the crisis brought on by a collapse of its real estate boom in 2008.
More bad news came as Moody’s lowered the outlook on the EU’s bailout fund from stable to negative on Tuesday, a day after threatening the triple-A ratings of Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, three of the eurozone’s top guarantors.
The euro remained under pressure, sitting at 12-year lows against the yen and two-year lows against the dollar.
Adding to the downward pressure was Apple’s announcement that quarterly profit rose 20.5% to $8.8bn on hot iPad sales — below forecasts.
Revenues rose 22.5% to $35bn, also below expectations of more than $37bn.
The firm blamed the underachievement on customers putting off buying the iPhone ahead of the expected release of iPhone 5 later in the year.
Asian tech firms with links to Apple were hit by the report.
In Japan, Sharp slumped 10%, with concerns over its upcoming earnings also weighing, while LG Display lost 4.751% in South Korea.
Tokyo released figures yesterday showing a deficit of $37.3bn in the first half of the year, with imports of energy surging as the country’s key atomic reactors remained switched off following last year’s nuclear crisis.
The debt troubles in crucial market Europe affected overseas shipments, while the yen’s rally against the euro and dollar also hit export firms.
In other markets, Taipei fell 29.22 points, or 0.42%, to 6,979.13, Manila ended flat, nudging up 2.06 points to 5,161.80 and Wellington edged down 1.73 points to 3,458.98.
In Asian trade, gold was at $1,587.40 at 0810 GMT from $1,573.81 late Tuesday.
from gulf times.