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Asian shares fell alongside the euro on Wednesday, after signs that rising borrowing costs are affecting core eurozone member, France.
U.S. retail sales numbers provided some early cheer, but Asian markets soon reversed, falling more than 1.5%, amid the cloudy political outlook in Greece and Italy and euro-era highs for French bond yields.
French banks are among the biggest holders of Italy’s $2.4 trillion public debt.
After a flat start, Tokyo stocks slipped into the red, closing just under 1% down. But shares of Olympus soared as delisting fears continue to ebb.
Elpida Memory jumped over 10% after keeping its place in the MSCI index and reports of capacity cuts that may boost memory chip prices.
As expected, Japan’s central bank kept monetary policy unchanged. But it toned down its assessment of the economy due to the widening fallout from Europe’s debt crisis.
Sovereign debt problems have hurt the eurozone economy, a key Asian export destination.
Latest data released Tuesday shows that the eurozone grew just 0.2% in the third quarter and is almost certainly heading for a recession.
Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor led the drop in Seoul. Still, the losses were offset somewhat by gains in tobacco firm, KT&G, and Hynix Semiconductor.
The benchmark, Kospi, shed 30 points to close 1.6% down at 1,854.
Bottom line: Asian shares fall alongside the euro Wednesday, after signs that rising borrowing costs are affecting core eurozone member, France.