Asian markets tumbled and the euro slumped to its lowest level against the yen in almost 12 years on Monday as Spain’s debt crisis deepened, raising concerns over the wider eurozone.
With borrowing costs hitting the danger levels that forced Ireland, Greece and Portugal to seek a bailout, investors are concerned that Spain, one of the eurozone’s biggest economies, will also have to call for help.
Hong Kong led the losses, diving 2.63 percent by the break, while Tokyo shed 1.27 percent, Sydney slipped 1.70 percent, Seoul lost 2.09 percent and Shanghai slumped 2.11 percent.
Market players were spooked by reports that one of Spain’s indebted regions, Valencia, would ask the central government for financial support, while officials in Madrid warned that the economy would likely contract through 2013.
“Europe is definitely a drag on risk assets again this week as investors are worried that Spain’s debt burden could be bigger than expected and that a full bailout may be required,” said Peter Esho at CityIndex in Australia.
The worries sent Spanish borrowing costs to a euro-era record level, with the 10-year bond yield climbing to 7.24 percent, while the euro at one point fell to 94.61 against the yen, its lowest level since November 2000.
In afternoon Tokyo trade the euro, which also tumbled Friday amid the Spanish woes, bought 94.70 yen, compared with 95.38 late Friday in New York.
“It’s not the kind of situation where fears are just going to fade away, since the required amount of aid that Spain will need is likely to mount given the increasing needs of local governments,” Rakuten Securities senior market analyst Masayuki Doshida told Dow Jones Newswires.
European leaders on Friday agreed to grant Spain’s banks bailout cash of up to 100 billion euros but despite this there are fears that the country will need extra cash to help service its debts.
The soaring yields on 10-year bonds come as unemployment sits at 24 percent and the government tries to implement further austerity measures.
Without better economic news the country could lose access to debt markets, leading it to a bailout, which some analysts have said could cost up to $500 billion.
The euro was also down at two-year lows of $1.2114, from $1.2152 on Friday. The dollar bought 78.17 yen, compared with 78.48 yen.
On oil markets New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery, shed $1.50 to $91.18 90.33 a barrel in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September was down $1.38 to $105.45.
Gold was at $1,579.07 an ounce at 0420 GMT, from $1,581.20 on Friday.