Asian markets fall on US, Europe woes

Asian markets fell Tuesday on uncertainty about the global economic outlook as the US "fiscal cliff" looms and much-needed bailout cash for Greece was delayed.

The yen rose against the euro and dollar as investors sought safety, dealing a blow to Japan's exporters, while the European unit hit a two-month low against the greenback.

Chinese shares declined as property shares tumbled on concerns over government intentions to maintain policies to control housing prices, dealers said.

Tokyo was down 0.18 percent, or 15.39 points, at 8,661.05, as an early bargain-hunting rally yielded to concern about the stubbornly high yen.

Sydney fell 1.53 percent, or 68.23 points, to 4,379.8, its biggest fall in four months. Seoul lost 0.59 percent, or 11.17 points, to end at 1,889.70.

Hong Kong fell 1.13 percent, or 241.65 points, to 21,188.65 and Shanghai gave up 1.51 percent, or 31.39 points, to 2,047.89.

Eurozone finance ministers said after a meeting Monday that Greece had made "considerable progress" towards meeting conditions for its next tranche of cash, but they would have to meet again on Tuesday next week to decide whether to release it.

In the United States, investors are growing increasingly nervous about the approaching fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax rises, which threatens to send the economy back into recession unless a cross-party deal is brokered.

"There has been no improvement on the European debt crisis or the US fiscal cliff," said James Rosenberg, Macquarie Private Wealth investment adviser in Australia.

In European currency trade the euro fell to $1.2670 -- around its lowest since early September -- and 100.40 yen, compared with $1.2709 and 101.02 yen in New York late on Monday.

The dollar was at 79.23 yen against 79.49 yen.

Traders are watching events in Beijing, where the Communist Party's 18th congress is in its final days and China's leaders for the next 10 years are due to be unveiled.

Investors hope the next few days will provide a little more clarity over policy in the world's number two economy.

On oil markets New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, shed 71 cents to $84.86 a barrel in the afternoon. Brent North Sea crude for December delivery fell 83 cents to $108.34.

Gold was at $1,726.30 by 1050 GMT compared with $1,736.60 late Monday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei shed 1.81 percent, or 131.70 points, to 7,136.05.

Smartphone maker HTC was down 6.83 percent at Tw$225.0, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co dropped 1.10 percent to Tw$90.3.

-- Manila closed 0.27 percent lower, shedding 14.78 points to 5,455.92.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust slipped 1.89 percent to 95.95 pesos while Ayala Corp. dropped 1.56 percent to 443 pesos.

-- Wellington fell 0.34 percent, or 13.44 points, to 3,970.55.

Fletcher Building was off 0.94 percent at NZ$7.41, Telecom lost 1.64 percent at NZ$2.40 and Air New Zealand was steady on NZ$1.25.

-- Bangkok lost 0.42 percent, or 5.43 points, to 1,289.07.

Advanced Info Service gained 1.59 percent to 192 baht, while Banpu fell 1.57 percent to 375 baht.

-- Jakarta ended up 13.493 points, or 0.31 percent, at 4,332.084.

Hero Supermarket rose 12.95 percent to 3,925 rupiah, Cahaya Kalbar climbed 1.95 percent to 1,570 rupiah and Telekomunikasi Indonesia was up 0.53 percent at 9,400 rupiah.

-- Kuala Lumpur and Singapore were closed for public holidays while Mumbai was open for a traditional 75-minute ceremonial trading session to mark Diwali.

--

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