Shares slide on fears of a cut in US money-printing

FEARS of an impending reduction of United States money printing on Thursday drove Asian markets to their lowest level since Oct 1.

As investors abandoned any hopes of Christmas cheer, Tokyo's bourse fell 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong slid 0.5 per cent and South Korea lost 0.5 per cent.

Singapore's market got off mercifully by comparison, but still fell 0.06 per cent.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) had been lower by as much as 1.2 per cent in the morning before clawing back almost all its losses.

Still, the decline by 1.7 points to 3,059.04 meant the STI is on an eight-session losing streak and at its lowest since early September.

A US government budget deal on Tuesday had heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve would announce a reduction in its US$85 billion per month of asset purchases as early as next Wednesday, when its December policy meeting ends.