Asian markets extend losses amid nuclear crisis

PTI Hong Kong | Updated on March 09, 2018

Asian stocks extended their losses today, with Tokyo diving nearly ten per cent, as the country’s nuclear crisis deepened after two more explosions at a stricken power plant.

As rescue workers continued to search for survivors from Friday’s deadly earthquake and tsunami, eyes were on the troubled Fukushima Daiichi complex where blasts have hit four reactors.

And a government spokesman added to fears, warning that radiation levels could be at dangerous levels.

The crisis has led to a huge stock sell-off, with Japanese giants such as Sony and Toyota hit after they were forced to halt production in the country, while shares in the nuclear plant operator TEPCO again fell after Monday’s near 24 per cent plunge.

Tokyo slumped 9.94 per cent following Monday’s fall of 6.18 per cent to a two-year low. Hong Kong fell 2.84 per cent in the morning, Sydney plunged 1.46 per cent and Shanghai lost 1.59 per cent. Seoul shed 1.07 per cent and Taipei fell 1.28 per cent, while Singapore fell 0.89 per cent.

The huge losses suffered by the Nikkei led the Japanese central bank to announce a five trillion yen ($61 billion) in short-term funding — on top of a record 15 trillion on Monday — as it tried to instil confidence in the markets.

However, the ongoing crisis at the nuclear station sent dealers running.

Early today a blast hit the number-two reactor at the ageing Fukushima No.1 plant, located 250 kilometres northeast of Tokyo, which has faced problems since Friday’s quake and tsunami.

The government later said there was also an explosion which started a fire at the number-four reactor.

In Australia, uranium miners and explorers were hit with Energy Resources of Australia down 1.5 per cent, Paladin off 3.8 per cent and Bannerman sinking 12 per cent.

The Bank of Japan’s decision to pump more money into financial markets sent the yen lower against the greenback.

The greenback was trading at 81.77 yen in the morning Asian trade compared with 81.65 yen in late New York trade on Monday.

The euro was at 114.29 yen compared with Monday’s close of 114.53. The dollar had touched a four-month low of 80.62 yen on Monday before the BoJ’s injection.

Published on March 15, 2011

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