Asian trade: Asian markets opened again in the red, following the negative close seen Friday on the major U.S. index. The poor data coming from the developed economies had made investors again reduce their exposure to the equity markets. Also in the Asian session, U.S. futures fell almost 1%.

On the Japanese Nikkei, only a hand-full of companies rose, while the rest declined as the economy of the world’s biggest export market, the U.S., contracted 6.2% a report showed on Friday. The Asian economies are mostly geared for the export markets, so a decline in foreign demand has the potential to destabilize the local economies, which, to some extent, already happened.

In a similar way, the Eastern European economies were affected by the credit crunch, even though in this part of the world, problems arise from a different sector. During this weekend, the European Union vetoed a request from Hungary for a $230 billion rescue plan for Eastern Europe. In addition, the EU voted against a bailout call from the auto industry – read GM – for help, and instead directed them to the local governments for help. In this way, France had already given out an $8 billion to its major car-manufacturers. It is said that, some other major European countries will help their local car industry.

Tonight, the Nikkei shed 242.46 points (3.20%) to 7,325.96. The Australian S&P declined 96.50 points (2.89%) to 3,248.00.

Crude oil fell in the Asian session, on a light volume. Crude oil for April delivery fell $0.80 to $43.95

Gold rose tonight again as traders see it as a safe heaven. Bullion for immediate delivery gained $8.10 to $950.60.