Asian stock mar­kets hit by global cur­rency con­cerns


Asian mar­kets mostly fell on Fri­day, weighed down by jit­ters over the im­pact of China s yuan de­val­u­a­tion and the tim­ing of a US in­ter­est rate rise, while a fall in oil dragged down energy stocks.

The dol­lar dipped af­ter ad­vanc­ing on solid US re­tail fig­ures, which fu­elled ex­pec­ta­tions the Fed­eral Re­serve will raise rates soon, while the euro fell on weak EU growth data. Tokyo ended down 0.37 per­cent, or 76.10 points, at 20,519.45 and Syd­ney lost 0.58 per­cent, or 31.37 points, to 5,356.50.

Hong Kong and Shang­hai were flat in af­ter­noon trade, while bench­marks in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila also dipped. Seoul's fi­nan­cial mar­kets were closed for a public hol­i­day.

China s cen­tral bank calmed mar­kets when it said would not let the yuan slump, and on Fri­day set its rate against the dol­lar marginally higher than the pre­vi­ous day s close af­ter three days of falls.

The com­ments, and news it had in­ter­vened to sup­port the Chi­nese cur­rency, re­as­sured ner­vous in­vestors af­ter a sur­prise de­val­u­a­tion of the yuan and two sub­se­quent cuts roiled fi­nan­cial mar­kets. But Asian shares gave up early gains on Fri­day and some Asia-Pa­cific cur­ren­cies re­treated, in­clud­ing the South Korean won and Philip­pine peso, as in­vestors mulled the im­pact of a longer-term fall in the yuan.

"The yuan de­val­u­a­tion and prospects of an im­pend­ing rate in­crease by the Fed have cre­ated a very volatile mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment," Jonathan Rave­las, the chief mar­ket strate­gist at Manila-based BDO Uni­bank, told Bloomberg News. "That s made many in­vestors risk ad­verse."

In Tokyo, the green­back changed hands at 124.38 yen, slightly down from 124.43 yen in US trad­ing, while the euro traded at to $1.1146 from $1.1152. The 19-na­tion sin­gle cur­rency fell to 138.62 yen, against 138.77 yen in New York.

Ger­many grew by 0.4 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2015 while France s econ­omy stag­nated, data showed Fri­day, rais­ing fresh con­cerns about the bloc s econ­omy.

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