The Straits Times
Published on Dec 21, 2012

Asian markets retreat as US fiscal cliff fears escalate


HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian markets mostly fell on Friday after Republicans in the United States (US) scrapped a vote on putting in place a back-up plan if talks on averting the US fiscal cliff end in failure.

The news out of Washington late on Thursday cancelled out a rally on Wall Street and upbeat data on the US economy, while it also hit currency traders, who have sent the safe-haven yen higher despite more Bank of Japan monetary easing.

Tokyo fell 1 per cent, or 99.27 points to 9,940.06, Seoul shed 0.95 per cent, or 19.08 points, to 1,980.42 and Sydney was 0.23 per cent lower, losing 10.5 points to end at 4,623.6.

Hong Kong slid 0.68 per cent, falling 153.49 points to close at 22,506.29, while Shanghai lost 0.69 per cent, or 15.04 points, to end at 2,153.31.