Morning business round-up: Japan intervenes on yen

  • Published

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

All eyes were on the financial markets as trading got underway on Monday following last week's dramatic falls that had been triggered by worries over both US economic growth and the eurozone debt crisis.

It was also the first chance for many markets to react to Friday's decision by ratings agency Standard and Poor's to downgrade US debt to AA+ from an AAA for the first time.

Stock markets in Asia saw big losses with Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng indexes dropping 2.2%, and South Korea's Kospi index falling 3.8%.

In Europe, shares rose in early trade after the European Central Bank said it intended to buy government debt, but the gains proved to be short-lived.

Spanish and Italian markets jumped in early trading before slipping back, while major European indexes slid sharply in mid-morning trading.

In London the FTSE 100 index lost 1.5%, while Frankfurt's Dax was down 2.5%.

However, yields on Spanish and Italian government bonds fell significantly after the ECB's intervention.

The yield on Spanish 10-year bonds - an indication of the risk associated with lending Spain money - fell from more than 6% to about 5.2%. Yields on Italian bonds fell by a similar amount.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

The market moves have been causing a headache for the Swiss government, which has seen the value of the Swiss franc increase as investors move their money into safer areas.

The Swiss government is holding an emergency meeting to discuss how to cope with the rise in the Swiss franc, which is hitting the country's exporting firms.

In Asia, Japan's current account surplus fell more than expected in June as exports continued to suffer in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

The surplus was 526.9bn yen ($6.7bn; £4.1bn) in June, a 50.2% plunge from a year earlier.

However, figures showed the rate of decline in exports has been slowing, indicating a recovery in the sector.

Exports in June fell 1.1% from a year ago, compared with a 9.8% decline in May.

Today's Business Daily programme from the BBC World Service, asks how worried should we be about the recent financial turmoil on the markets.

Around the BBC