Business

Asia shares slide on Greek 'no' vote

Hong Kong shares Image copyright AFP

Asian stock markets headed lower after Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected austerity demands from creditors in Sunday's referendum.

The euro fell across the board after Greece rejected the conditions of a bailout package, increasing the odds of the country's exit from the eurozone.

It was at $1.1014 against the dollar in Asian trade, having recovered slightly from one-month lows hit earlier.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 3.2% at 25,236.28 - leading Asia's losses.

Japan's Nikkei 225 ended 2.1% lower at 20,112.12.

The yen - often viewed as a haven currency in times of uncertainty - rallied against the dollar and euro.

The euro fell 1.5% to a six-week low of 133.70 yen, but then recovered some losses to trade at 135.45. However, it is still down from Friday's rate of 136.185 yen.

Major commodities such as oil were also down, with the price of Brent crude falling more than 1% to $59.56 a barrel in Asian trade.

Officials step in

Japan's government and the Bank of Japan met to discuss the market impact from Greece's "no" vote.

"The direct economic and financial relations between Japan and Greece are limited. But government and BOJ (Bank of Japan) officials have held discussions" to ensure Japan responds smoothly to any market response as needed, said Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index closed down 2.4% at 2,053.93 - posting its biggest daily loss in three years.

Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index finished 1.1% lower at 5,475.

Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital Investors said that while the Greek "no" vote meant more uncertainty ahead for the eurozone, the impact on the markets would be short-lived.

"The threat of a flow on to other eurozone countries is likely to keep markets on edge in the short term," he said in a note.

"However, contagion is likely to be limited as the rest of Europe is now in far stronger shape than was the case in the 2010-12 eurozone crisis and defence mechanisms against contagion are now stronger."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Chinese shares headed higher on opening, helped by measures announced at the weekend

Volatile China trade

Mainland Chinese shares surged nearly 8% in morning trade after the government announced measures over the weekend to stabilise the tumbling stock markets.

In an unprecedented move, brokerages and fund managers vowed to buy massive amounts of stocks backed by the state.

However, the market lost much of the morning's gains, with the Shanghai Composite closing up 2.4% at 3,775.91.

On Monday, three Chinese asset managers said they would commit a combined 210m yuan ($33.85m: £21m) of their own money to buy equity funds, as part of a concerted effort by institutional investors to stabilise the market.

Harvest Fund Management said it would spend 50m yuan, Yinhua Fund Management would spend 90m yuan, and the asset management arm of Orient Securities would commit 70m yuan to buy equities.

Over the weekend, the China Mutual Fund Association said 25 fund firms pledged to buy shares, while another 69 fund firms said they would do the same, as part of emergency measures to boost investor confidence.

The Shanghai Composite has fallen nearly 30% over the past three weeks, despite an interest rate cut by the central bank the week earlier and other measures to support the market.

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