10/13/2008, 00.00
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Mixed signals from Asian markets as governments save banks

Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore are up; Shanghai, Taipei and Jakarta are down. Tokyo is closed for a holiday. Eurozone governments, the UAE and the United States rescue banks. But for International Monetary Funds meltdown remains a strong possibility.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Various Asian stock markets recovered on Monday after last week's historic sell-off as governments in Europe and beyond intensified efforts to stabilise the world's troubled financial system.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, which tumbled more than 7 per cent on Friday, rose by 3.24 per cent today. In Sydney the S&P/ASX200 index was up 4.71 per cent after its benchmark plunged over 8 per cent on Friday. Seoul gained 2.8 per cent and Singapore's key stock measure was up 2 per cent. But indices in Shanghai and the Taiwan benchmark lost more than 3 per cent. Tokyo, which tanked nearly 10 per cent on Friday to close out its worst week since the 80s, was closed for a public holiday. Jakarta too was in negative territory.

For some analysts the region's markets showed signs of life after leaders of the 15 eurozone members unveiled measures on Sunday to prop up their region's financial institutions.

Under the plan agreed to in Paris, governments would guarantee new bank debt until the end of 2009, allow governments to help banks by buying preferred shares, and vowed to rescue important failing banks through emergency recapitalisation.

The government of the United Arab Emirates said it would guarantee all bank deposits and banks against economic risks, protecting inter-banking lending operations for the next three years.

In the United States, investors were waiting for the Treasury Department's newly announced plan to inject US0 billion to buy equity in troubled banks.

By and large investors are still highly cautious though, worried about eroding economic conditions, shrinking company earnings and further market turmoil,

Whilst praising various governments for their plans to shore the banking system and stabilise markets, the International Monetary Funds is still concerned that the “global financial system [has been pushed] to the brink of systemic meltdown.”

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”