02/13/2012, 00.00
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Stock markets gain in Asia, while Athens burns

The markets react well to the Greek parliament's decision to launch the new austerity measures: government jobs cut by 15 thousand, the minimum wage reduced by 20%; liberalization of labor laws, revising debt with the banks. The new measures required by the EU and IMF as a condition for new loans.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The stock exchanges in Asia continue to make gains and the euro is getting stronger: analysts estimate these two effects are the result of the Greek parliament's decision to approve the new austerity measures required by the EU and the International Monetary Fund to access a new tranche of aid.

The gains are not stratospheric: by midday Hong Kong and Shanghai were up by +0.7 to +0.14; in Tokyo, by early afternoon, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index had risen by 0.6%.

Both, however, served to show that the financial world is applauding the decision of the Greek parliament with 199 votes to 74 against, to launch new and harsher austerity measures, which include: the dismissal of 15 thousand civil servants, a 20% reduction of minimum wage (from 751 euros to 600 euros per month), the liberalization of labour laws, review and possible cancellation of the debt with the banks.

Before the late night vote, Evangelos Venizelos, Minister of Finance, had told parliament that the alternatives to these measures – i.e. bankruptcy and exit from the euro - would be even worse for Greece.

But many feel that the weight of the recovery measures on the people is too high a price.

Yesterday and today tens of thousands of people staged demonstrations in Athens and Thessaloniki.

In the capital, clashes between protesters and police continued until late at night. Dozens of buildings, including historical sites, including bars and cinemas were set on fire, in Syntagma Square, which overlooks the parliament, was the scene of urban warfare, with black block launching pieces of marble and Molotov cocktails and the police responding with tear gas.

According to data from the Greek Ministry of Health, 70 people were taken to hospital for treatment. Police said that 45 protesters were arrested and more than 50 policemen were injured.

By March 20 Greece needs to repay debts to 14.5 billion euros. But the EU and the IMF set the condition for a loan of 130 billion euros that the austerity measures being turned into law and under written by all members of parliament, which will follow after the elections - in all likelihood – that will be held in April.
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See also
Asian stock markets fall after Greek No vote and Shanghai’s share plunge
Fears over Greece and Chinese loans drag Asian markets down
Asian markets fall in wake of crisis in Greece
Europe has to rescue itself, without any help from Beijing
Asian stock markets fall, doubts about recovery in China


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