By Jason Clenfield and Adam Haigh - May 29, 2012 8:59 AM GMT+0800
Asian stocks fell and the euro traded near a 22-month low as concern grew that European banks will need more financial support and Japan’s unemployment unexpectedly rose. The Australian dollar weakened.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.3 percent as of 9:57 a.m. in Tokyo, where the Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.6 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures advanced 0.3 percent. The euro slid 0.2 percent to $1.2517 and Australia’s currency fell 0.4 percent to 98.14 U.S. cents. Gold for immediate delivery declined 0.5 percent.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for a show of force from European authorities as his government sought ways to avoid tapping markets to fund a bailout of the nation’s third- biggest lender. U.S. home prices probably fell in the 12 months through March at the slowest pace since 2010, a Bloomberg survey showed before data today.
“We have a very serious and deteriorating problem in Europe,” said Peter Elston, the Singapore-based head of Asia- Pacific strategy at Aberdeen Asset Management, which oversees about $270 billion. “The more the crisis progresses the worse the situation becomes.”
Rajoy, repeating yesterday that he wouldn’t seek a European rescue for Spain’s banks, said the European Stability Mechanism should be able to recapitalize struggling lenders directly, bypassing national governments. His government is considering using public-debt securities rather than cash to fund the 19 billion-euro ($24 billion) bailout of BFA-Bankia.
Japan’s jobless rate climbed to 4.6 percent in April from 4.5 percent in March, a government report showed today. That was the first increase in three months and underscored concern that an economic recovery will lose momentum. South Korean manufacturers’ confidence fell from a nine-month high amid speculation Europe’s debt crisis is worsening, according to the Bank of Korea.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) is poised for an 11 percent decline in May, which would be its steepest monthly slide since October 2008.