Asian trade: Asian shares continue to decline tonight, even though closing slightly above the breakeven line in the last day of trading. The U.S. futures also moved lower, having the S&P fell 6.50 points, or 0.83%.
The financials led the declines in the last few days of trading. Investors fear that any further losses will deplete the banks’ balance sheets, and will eventually force the government to nationalize the bank. As the economic conditions become tougher, analysts expect the default rate to increase, forcing banks to write-down new record sums. As such, it is expected that some banks might have their debt rating downgraded. Technology companies also declined in the last few sessions, after some time ago investors thought that companies bought new software and gadgets to increase their productivity.
The effects of the very weak U.S. and European demand are starting to be seen at a larger scale in the Asian countries. Later tonight, a report is expected to show that Thailand’s economy contracted in the fourth quarter, dragged lower by its falling export market. If so, it will be the first time the economy contracts since the 1998 Asian crisis, when a number of countries from the region defaulted on their foreign loans. Up to now, the economic slowdown dragged the region’s biggest exporters into a recession, including Hong Kong and Japan.
Tonight, the Nikkei fell 102.25 points (1.35%) to 7,455.40. The Australian S&P slide 60.60 points (1.76%) to 3,388.30.
Crude oil moved lower in the Asian session, even though OPEC threatens to cut production. Crude oil for March delivery fell $0.75 to $38.70.
Gold declined tonight, after strong gains in the last two days. Bullion for immediate delivery slipped $1.80 to $974.70.