Asian shares fell on Wednesday after a technology sell out on Wall Street last night. The Japanese Nikkei dropped 1,86 percent after car exports to China tumbled. Toyota, Nissan and Mazda saw their exports reduced to half in September. The Euro/USD also tumbled to 1.2859, down 75 points from its high on Tuesday. Angela Merkel was met by mass demonstrations and street fights between austerity measure protesters and police in Athens. Merkel assured the Samaras-government that Germany would support continued Greek membership in the EURO conditioned of willingness to carry through the tough austerity measures.
Concerns on companies’ third quarter results and the Chinese economy dragged stock markets down and created new volatility in currency markets. Shares of the world’s largest semiconductor maker, Intel, lost 2,7 percent on downgrading due to weak demand for notebooks. The whole technology sector came under strong pressure. Both Apple and Google have fallen strongly during the last trading days. The aluminum producer Alcoa issued a profit warning due to weaker Chinese demand. A Chinese expert in the French Credit Agricole, countered by saying that some Western medias and companies are trying to bash China negatively. Chinese aluminum export has increased strongly over the last year, and big infrastructure projects mean that China will continue to import huge quantities of raw materials. Growth forecasts of 7, 5 – 8 % for China for 2012 is far outnumbering a recession stricken Western economy.
Oil prices have risen strongly over the last 24 hours. Brent crude reached USD 114 a barrel with New York crude, NYMEX, again trading above USD 92. Increased tension in the Middle East is behind the spike in oil. Turkish forces have amassed tanks and troops in the Syrian border ready to hit. An escalation in the late border skirmishes between the two countries will increase the risk for a NATO intervention Turkey being a NATO member. Precious metals were down yesterday and in early Asian trade with Gold 1765.
The last half yearly report from the International Monetary Fund, IMF, is highlighting the problems the Euro zone represents to the global economy. IMF urged European politicians to deepen its financial and fiscal ties to restore sagging confidence in the global financial system. The austerity measures offered by the IMF and leading Euro-countries like Germany, have, however, worked poorly. Greece is entering its sixth year of recession with strong social and economic costs, witnessed by Merkel’s visit to Athens. Merkel’s visit has done little to calm the unrest in the streets. It might, however, have given the three part coalition of Antonis Samaras a briefing spell to carry through highly unpopular cuts which primarily hit the weakest strata of the population like pensioners and the increasing number of unemployed. The currency markets answer to the last pictures from Greece is to send the Euro down illustrating the volatility inside the Euro zone and question marks whether European finance minister have done enough to turn the tide around.
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