Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Asian shares are down today,
following Wall Street's decline yesterday, and especially Moody's decision to downgrade
15 banks and financial institutions. Hong Kong dived 1.08 per cent in the
afternoon. Tokyo dropped 0.29 per cent, and Seoul tumbled 2.22 per cent.
Yesterday, Moody's lowered the credit rating of 15
banks: four dropped by one level, ten dropped by two levels and one plunged by
three levels. The institutions are the Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup,
Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank
of Scotland, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada,
Société Générale and UBS.
Moody's said that these institutions could suffer huge
losses because they are too exposed to the current financial crisis and to one
another. As expected, the banks quickly criticised the rating agency.
Citigroup called Moody's decision "unwarranted, arbitrary"
and "opaque". It added that the rating agency dealt out "disproportionately
adverse treatment" to US banks compared with their rivals in Europe,
Bank of America and Morgan Stanley defended their balance
sheet, accusing Moody's of not giving adequate credit for the substantial
improvements they made.
Faced with the largest downgrade, Credit Suisse was particularly
dissatisfied with the agency's rating.
The evolution of Asian and world markets are making matters
worse. Forecast about lower Chinese growth is particularly disappointing.
In the United States, the US Fed predicted growth
would be even worse than thought this year, between 1.9 and 2.4 per cent.
The Dow ended 1.96 per cent lower; Nasdaq dropped 2.44