11/10/2011, 00.00
ASIA – ITALIA
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Asian shares and currencies plunge because of Italian crisis

Hong Kong loses 4.5 per cent; Tokyo, 2.86; Seoul, 3.79; Shanghai, 1.05. Currencies are also down. Filipino exports decline. China’s exports only grew by 15.9 per cent in October, the lowest rise in two years. Chinese imports climb by 28.7 per cent.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Italy’s escalating debt crisis has taken its toll on Asian shares, with Hong Kong leading way by more than 4 per cent. Asian currencies also lost, as Chinese exports grow more slowly because of the Euro crisis.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid by 4.5 per cent by midday, dragged by two banks, the HSBC, which lost 8 per cent, and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, which declined by 7.9 per cent.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei was down 2.86 per cent by the afternoon. Seoul slumped 3.79 per cent and Shanghai shares fell 1.05 per cent.

Italy’s debt crisis also negatively affected Asian currencies. South Korea’s won was down 1.5 per cent. The Indian rupee lost 1.6; the Filipino peso slid 0.7 per cent; the Thai Baht declined by 0.5 whilst even the Chinese yuan lost 0.15 per cent against the US dollar.

Other data illustrate the worsening crisis. In September, Filipino exports were down by 27 per cent against a forecast of 17 per cent. Machine tool exports from the Philippines to Japan declined by 8 per cent.

Declining exports are becoming a major problem for China as well. Official figures show China’s exports rose 15.9 percent in October from a year earlier, the lowest increase in the past two years because of lower demand in Europe and the United States.

Instead, imports climbed 28.7 percent, beating the forecast for a 23 percent jump and September's 20.9 percent increase.

Imports from the United States climbed by 20.5 per cent; those from Australia by 36.7 per cent; whilst those from Europe rose 28.2 per cent.

Experts suggest China is boosting imports and reducing exports to stop criticism over the under appreciation of the yuan, which according to the United States gives China a great advantage in exports.
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