Asian markets erase year-to-date gains, amid signs of further banking instability in the euro zone; regional stocks set to post their worst weekly performance since September.
Asia's stock markets tumbled Friday, with some erasing all gains made so far this year. Regional benchmarks are set to post their worst weekly performance since September, amid signs of further banking instability in the euro zone, and the latest weak U.S. economic data. Shares outside Japan plummeted over three percent, and are heading for weekly losses exceeding 6.5 percent. HSBC's Andre De Silva says Spain is now the latest worry. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF ASIA PACIFIC RATES, HSBC, ANDRE DE SILVA, SAYING: "I think the baton has switched a little bit from Greece to more of Spain and in particular concerns on the banking sector. We've had, overnight, some downgrades of risks - Spanish banks by Moody's and concerns of deposit outflows in some large institutions, so the question is whether this contagion can be stemmed and what's the response. But in the mean time, filtering across to Asia clearly we can see in terms of financial markets, this is having a key consideration at the moment in time." Asia's growth sensitive stocks, ranging from the materials sector, to technology and automakers all tumbled. Brent and crude oil slipped into negative territory for the year. Blue chip exporters pulled Japan's Nikkei 225 down by as much as three percent, to a 4-month low. South Korea's benchmark Kospi lost all of 2012's gains, with market heavyweight Samsung down for a 4th straight day HSBC was the biggest drag on Hong Kong's Hang Seng. The benchmark is still up for the year, but inching ever closer to surrendering all year-to-date gains. But gold miners like Newcrest and Shandong outperformed, pulled higher by investors seeking the precious metal's safe haven status, and its largest one-day gain in more than three months on Thursday. Arnold Gay, Reuters