Asian markets fall back as euro fears persist

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian investors switched to sell mode Tuesday as euphoria over a massive eurozone bailout gave way to doubt over debt-ridden countries ability to reduce their deficits. Regional Asian markets joined a global surge on Monday after Europe and the IMF agreed on the biggest financial system bailout since the 2008 banking crisis, but questions over its implementation capped gains. Stocks and the euro had soared after the European Union and the International Monetary Fund announced a 750-billion-euro (one-trillion-dollar) package of loans, guarantees and credits to ease the immediate crisis. Central banks from the United States to Japan also played a crucial part in efforts to stop the Greek debt crisis spreading, agreeing to intervene to ensure plenty of liquidity on money markets. However, Asian markets pulled back Tuesday and the euro fell as investors focused on how the massive bailout will be carried out and the implications for the eurozones underlying fiscal woes. Yesterdays gain seems to have reflected much of the cheer from the EUs bailout plan, Lee Kyoung-min at Woori Investment & Securities in Seoul told Dow Jones Newswires. Investors will likely bet on stocks strongly when they are convinced that fundamentals in Europe wouldnt be hurt by those countries with debt troubles, he added. Tokyo closed down 1.14 percent, or 119.60 points, at 10,411.10 and Sydney lost 1.13 percent, or 51.8 points, to end at 4,548.00. China and Hong Kong were hit by worries Beijing may move to further dampen mainland credit after new data showed consumer prices rose faster than expected in April, while property prices continued soar and lending jumped. The figures seemed to show recent moves to rein in the economy were not having the desired effect leading to fears of interest rate hike. Investors are concerned that inflation pressure will be building up in the medium and longer term, which could prompt new tightening measures from the government, said Shen Yang, an analyst at Orient Securities. But we think the chance of a rate hike in the near term is quite low. Hong Kong fell 1.37 percent, or 280.13 points, to close at 20,146.51 and Shanghai lost 1.90 percent, or 51.18 points, to end at 2,647.57, a near one-year low. The euro, which briefly jumped above 1.30 dollars on the rescue package Monday, lost steam against other major currencies in Asia and was at 1.2708 dollars in Tokyo afternoon trade, from 1.2778 dollars in New York late Monday. The single currencys prospects were also hit by a warning from Moodys Investors Service that it may downgrade Portugal and lower debt-laden Greeces rating to junk status, after a similar move by Standard & Poors. The rescue package turned out to be bigger than expected, making credit fears recede for now, said Hideaki Inoue, a senior dealer at Mitsubishi UFJ-Trust and Banking Corp. But worries still linger, leaving few people willing to buy the euro aggressively. The debt crisis began as Greece teetered toward default, triggering fears that other weak economies such as Portugal, Spain and Italy may be next. Oil was lower. New Yorks main contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, fell 49 cents to 76.31 dollars a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for June eased 41 cents to 79.71 dollars. Gold closed at 1,208.00-1,209.00 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Mondays close of 1,187.50-1,188.50 dollars. In other markets: Manila closed up 3.85 percent, or 120.87 points to 3,262.93. Dealers were lifted by relatively peaceful national elections, with results showing a win for Benigno Aquino and going largely unchallenged. It was the biggest jump in more than eight and a half months, the exchange said. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. gained 1.22 percent to 2,495 pesos while Aboitiz Power Corp. rose 10pc to 16.50 pesos. Singapore closed down 0.79 percent, or 22.81 points, at 2,857.67. DBS fell 24 Singapore cents to $14.40 and Singapore Airlines eased 16 cents to 14.62. Singapore Telecom dropped four cents to 2.98. Seoul closed 0.44 percent lower, or 7.39 points, at 1,670.24. Kuala Lumpur closed up 0.51 percent, or 6.75 points, at 1,340.72. Cement producer Lafarge lost 2.2 percent at 6.53 ringgit, infrastructure conglomerate YTL shed 1.1 percent at 7.31 while multinational cooperation Genting added 2.5 percent at 6.94. Taipei dropped 0.73 percent, or 56.29 points, to 7,608.44. MediaTek Inc, the islands leading chip design house by revenue, lost 1.69 percent at 524.0 while Hon Hai Precision closed 1.06 percent lower at 140.0. Jakarta lost 1.32 percent, or 37.54 points, to 2,812.89. Bank Mandiri fell 4.6pc to 5,200 rupiah, Bank Rakyat slid 2.3 percent to 8,400 and Telkom lost 1.9pc to 7,650. Car maker Astra International gained 0.2 percent to 42,700 on strong sales. Wellington ended down 0.11 percent, or 3.60 points, at 3,167.02. Telecom ended 0.5 percent lower at 2.10 New Zealand dollars, Fletcher Building was down 0.5 percent at 7.91 and Sky City fell 1.3 percent to 3.00. Bangkok edged down 0.89pc, or 6.97 points, to close at 772.09. Banpu fell 12.00 baht to 626.00 and PTT Plc lost 4.00 baht to 254.00 baht. Mumbai fell 1.09 percent, or 189.02 points, to 17,141.53. Reliance Communications fell 4.5 percent to 147.05 rupees and Tata Steel fell 3.31 percent to 581.85.

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