Asian Markets Weekly Report: US 'Fiscal Cliff' and Eurozone Worries Weigh Heavily
By Prasanth Aby Thomas | November 17, 2012 4:18 PM EST
Most Asian markets slipped in the week that saw persistent concerns on the global economy, leadership change in China and signs of a political shift in Japan.
The Nikkei 225 average gained 3 percent in the week while South Korea's KOSPI dropped 2.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 1.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 2.6 percent.
The US "fiscal cliff", a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts set to come into effect by next year, remained a point of focus for global investors. Fears are running high that the proposed austerity measures could push the world's largest economy into recession.
President Barack Obama has already initiated efforts to reach a consensus that could avoid a crisis. Although analysts expect the lawmakers to come up with a solution at least at the eleventh hour, investors remained anxious on the potential impact of the issue on markets.
"While there are plenty of choices to cut deficits, even without dealing with so called mandatory spending - entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare - the problems come mostly from the rigidities that are introduced when boundaries are drawn around what is possible," said analysts at Bank of America Merril Lynch in a report.
Away from the US, concerns on the eurozone debt crisis rebounded. Greece, which is on the verge of running out of cash, had managed to pass an austerity package and a stiff 2013 budget in its parliament. But international lenders are yet to unlock the crucial bailout funds for Athens.
Meanwhile, anti-austerity sentiments swept across the European Union as millions of workers from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and a number of other EU-member states staged walkouts and protests. Public life was hit and protests ended in violence in some countries. Although the public anger is not expected to bring about a change in the austerity measures, concerns on social stability in the region remain.
China concluded its 18th Party Congress, unveiling a fresh regime that will lead the world's second largest economy into the next decade. Although the country is expected to continue economic reforms, markets failed to cheer on concerns that some of the new leaders are conservative.
Japanese investors turned positive after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said that he will dissolve the lower house of parliament and hold elections in December. The polls are likely to end Noda's term at office as the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is expected to come to power. LDP and its leader Shinzo Abe are well-known for their view that the Bank of Japan should initiate further stimulus packages to boost the economy.
Outlook for the coming week
Markets will be looking to Europe in the coming week as the region's finance ministers meet on 20 November to take a final call on Greece's bailout. Investors will also be keeping a close watch on the fiscal cliff negotiations in the US.
Chinese traders will be looking for early indications from the new leaders on policy changes or economic reforms. The country's HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is also expected next week.
Japanese markets may settle in the coming week as the initial enthusiasm from hopes of the LDP coming to power gives way to concerns on the feasibility and effectiveness of monetary easing measures to boost the economy. Sceptics have suggested that structural reforms are more important than stimulus packages.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- Australian Stock Market Report – Midday July 23, 2014
- Major European & U.S. Airlines Cancel Flights to Israel after Rocket Attack on Tel Aviv Airport
- Alibaba Okays Yahoo Request to Sell 140 Million Shares Via IPO, 68 Million to Be Sold to Shareholders
- Australian Stock Market Report – Midday July 24, 2014
- Australian Stock Market Report –Afternoon July 24, 2014
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales
- Sony Xperia M2 vs. Moto G – Specifications, Features and Price Showdown