euro under pressure but major asia markets bounce
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
Arab Today, arab today

Euro under pressure, but major Asia markets bounce

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Euro under pressure, but major Asia markets bounce

Asian markets
Hong Kong - AFP

The euro struggled in Asia Wednesday on increasing uncertainty about France's political outlook and fears of another debt crisis brewing in Greece.

Most major equities markets reversed early losses to push higher but confidence remains shaky over worries about Donald Trump and uncertainty about his impact on the global economy.

Wall Street continues to touch record highs on hopes Trump will enact business-friendly measures. But Asian dealers are less sanguine following a series of outbursts that have included warnings of protectionism and depictions of Japan and China as trade cheats.

Against that background, traders are growing increasingly concerned about rising populism across the world -- particularly following Trump and Brexit -- with far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen echoing many of the tycoon's themes.

There are also elections in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands this year, with similar issues in those countries fuelling fears the European Union could break up.

The euro sank Tuesday to $1.0656, from highs above $1.08 at the start of the week. It edged up slightly in Asia but was still under pressure.

"While it is premature to draw any definitive conclusion, the political landscapes in both France and Italy are coming under immense scrutiny from investors, which should keep euro upticks limited," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA.

"If we factor in a possibly divisive German election, risks are rising immensely on the European political stage."

Greece's debt saga also reared its head after the International Monetary Fund warned the country would likely not reach targets prescribed for it to qualify for bailout cash.

- 'Flash point' -

While Athens dismissed the report, the comments sent Greece's cost of borrowing soaring on bond markets and raised the spectre of another crisis for the EU to juggle.

In Asia, Tokyo ended a volatile day 0.5 percent higher as early gains in the yen abated, boosting Japan's exporters.

Hong Kong ended 0.7 percent higher and Shanghai closed up 0.4 percent.

Both markets recovered from morning losses triggered by news that China's foreign exchange reserves fell below $3 trillion in January for the first time in six years as it battled to support the yuan in the face of huge capital outflows.

Analysts said that while the breach was not a big issue, the downward trend was a worry.

"In the current context of President Trump threatening to declare China a currency manipulator, and his clear desire for a weaker US dollar, China's reserves management and how that interplays with the (dollar-yuan) rate could be another flashpoint between the world's two biggest economies," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at FX and CFD provider AxiTrader.

Sydney edged up 0.5 percent. However, Seoul shed 0.5 percent, while Singapore, Mumbai, Taipei, Manila, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur also turned lower.

In early European trade London and Frankfurt were both flat while Paris added 0.3 percent.

Oil prices extended losses after a reading showing US stockpiles soared last week, leading to worries a government report later Wednesday will also point to an increase.

However, the commodity pared initial drops after Qatar's energy minister, the current OPEC president, said world oil markets were "responding positively" to output cuts implemented by the cartel and some non-cartel producers this year.

Both main contracts fell more than one percent Tuesday.

- Key figures near 0820 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 19,007.60 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 23,485.13 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,166.98 (close)

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,18734

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0665 from $1.0684

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2505 from $1.2507

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.34 yen from 112.37 yen

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 46 cents at $51.71 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 29 cents at $54.76

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 20,090.29 (close)

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