HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly fell on Wednesday, while the euro edged higher following upbeat eurozone inflation data as traders track Greece’s debt reform talks before a repayment deadline.
Tokyo slipped 0.34 percent, or 69.68 points, to 20,473.51 owing to a stronger yen. Shanghai closed marginally lower, giving up 0.55 points to 4,909.98.
Sydney shed 0.93 percent, or 52.40 points, to 5,583.60 and Seoul lost 0.74 percent, or 15.48 points, to 2,063.16.
Hong Kong, however, rose 0.69 percent, or 190.75 points to close at 27,657.47.
Dealers moved out of Japanese equities for a second day after the Nikkei Monday had recorded a 12th straight day of rises—its longest rally since 1988 at the height of the country’s stock market bubble.
Selling Wednesday was fuelled by a pick-up in the yen, which Tuesday had hit its weakest level against the dollar in more than 12 years.
The greenback fell Wednesday on concerns about the lack of progress in Greece’s talks with creditors on overhauling its bailout terms.
The Dow lost 0.16 percent Tuesday, the S&P 500 dipped 0.10 percent and the Nasdaq shed 0.13 percent.
On currency markets the dollar was at 124.13 yen Wednesday against 124.09 in New York, but well down from the 12-year high of 125.05 yen briefly touched in Asia Tuesday.
The euro bought $1.1159 and 138.52 yen from $1.1152 and 138.39 yen in US trade.
With a deadline for Greece to repay some of its debt on Friday, the country’s leaders and its creditors have exchanged reform proposals, although there are still fears an agreement may not be reached.
Eurozone inflation rises
Investors were spooked on Tuesday when Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, said he was unimpressed with progress.
His remarks come as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prepares to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday evening.
There are worries that if Greece defaults on its debts it could end up tumbling out of the eurozone.
“The euro clearly has the ability to lead the dollar higher or lower across the board, and really that vulnerability stems from very different potential outcomes you get from the negotiations between Greece and its creditors,” Raiko Shareef, a markets strategist at Bank of New Zealand, told Bloomberg News.
The single currency was also boosted by data showing eurozone inflation climbed to 0.3 percent in May—the first rise in five months and raising hopes the region is recovering—while Germany and Spain released solid labor reports.
The results came ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the European Central Bank and a subsequent news conference with ECB chief Mario Draghi.
Oil prices slipped after sharp gains on Tuesday fuelled by the weaker dollar and on expectations the OPEC cartel will decide at a meeting this week to maintain high production levels despite a global glut.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery fell 55 cents to $60.71 while Brent crude for July eased 41 cents to $65.08.
Gold fetched $1,190.43 compared with $1,190.90 late Tuesday.