Asia stocks fall amid fresh fears of Greek debt default

Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 06 Apr 2018, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 one month chart
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Asian markets have fallen amid more worries about the European debt crisis after Greece said it would miss deficit targets.

Greece forecast a deficit of 8.5% of economic output for 2011, short of the 7.6% target set by the EU and IMF.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.8%, Australia's ASX 200 shed 2.8%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 4.4%.

There are concerns that Greece may not receive its next bailout instalment, and may default on its debt.

Officials from the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank are scheduled to meet later to discuss whether Greece should get a key bailout instalment.

"Right now the market's focus is Greece's problems and how Europe will address the situation," said Fujio Ando of Chibagin Asset Management.

Broader falls

Greece needs its next instalment of the EU and IMF bailout loans by the middle of this month.

There are fears that irrespective of whether or not it receives that tranche, Greece will eventually default on its debt payments.

There have also been concerns that in order to solve its debt issues, Greece may have to leave the eurozone, and that could have a huge knock on effect on the economies of other member countries.

As a result, investors have become jittery about the euro. The currency fell to its lowest level against the US dollar in more than eight months, trading at $1.3322 to a euro in Asian trade.

"Markets are waiting for Europe to sort out the debt crisis," said Philip Wee, senior currency economist at DBS.

"But across the board, we are expecting firmer US dollar."

At the same time, investors have been concerned that if a long-term solution to the European debt crisis is not found soon, it will impact growth and hurt consumer demand.

The affect of that could be seen in the oil markets as well.

Brent crude fell by 1.3% to $101.42 per barrel, while US light crude shed 1.5% to $78.02 in Asia trade. Analysts warned that the falls may extend further.

"It is a confidence thing. It will come [down] lower on confidence," said Jonathan Barratt of Commodity Broking.